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'
Preliminary abstract: The proposed research will consist of a new archaeological study of the ‘Dead Indian Creek’ site (48PA551) located in the Bear Tooth Mountains of northwestern Wyoming. New research at 48PA551 provides an opportunity to examine alternative models for cultural variation in the Middle Holocene of the Northwestern Plains and Rocky Mountains region. The project tests the hypothesis that it was during the Middle Archaic McKean Complex that residentially mobile groups relying upon immediate return subsistence strategies adopted a winter-sedentary, delayed-return subsistence economy. Alternative hypotheses to be tested assert that McKean Complex occupants of 48PA551 were either residentially mobile with limited food storage or residentially sedentary but lacking food storage. The outcome of this research is important to the understanding of Northwestern Plains prehistory as it may suggest that critical elements of the classic bison hunting culture of later times either had its origin in much earlier innovations than previously acknowledged or that it developed from a complex competitive process between groups using very different socio-economic strategies. This study is theoretically important as it provides a case study in macroevolutionary cultural process for a region with abundant data but previously limited engagement with evolutionary culture theory. The wider research process will include geophysical investigations and archaeological testing to define spatial organization of features across the site. This grant specifically funds radiocarbon dating, a first-time multi-proxy approach to paleoethnobotanical research at the site permitting both residue analysis on groundstone tools and macrobotanical analysis of site sediments, and curation costs for excavated materials.