Grant TypePost PhD Research Grant
Institutional AffiliationMontana, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9649
Approve DateApril 16, 2018
Project TitlePrentiss, Dr. Anna M., U. of Montana, Missoula, MT - To aid research on 'Middle Archaic Adaptations in the Rocky Mountains: Archaeological Investigations at the 48PA551 Site, Park County, Wyoming'
ANNA M. PRENTISS, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, was awarded funding in April 2018 to aid research on “Middle Archaic Adaptations in the Rocky Mountains: Archaeological Investigations at the 48PA551 Site, Park County, Wyoming.” It is well known that indigenous peoples of the Northwestern Great Plains and Rocky Mountains relied upon targeted hunting, food storage, and cold-season sedentism as fundamental cultural adaptations. Yet we have a poor understanding of how and when these economic strategies evolved. Site 48PA551 in the Sunlight Basin of Northwestern Wyoming provides an ideal opportunity to test alternative hypotheses about the development of these adaptations during the Middle Archaic period (3000-5000 years ago). With support from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Inc., field research was conducted at the site in summer of 2018 that included mapping, application of remote sensing (ground-penetrating radar), and archaeological excavations. Subsequent lab work focused on radiocarbon dating and studies of stone artifacts and plant and animal remains. Findings suggest that the original occupants visited the site multiple times during the time of about 4100-4800 years ago with a late fall to early winter economic focus on hunting deer and harvesting root foods. The research also confirmed multiple semi-subterranean house structures and nearby cooking and storage-related features. These outcomes indicate that aspects of classic Plains Indian socio-economic adaptations may have their origins during the Middle Archaic period of the Rocky Mountains region.