Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology
Judson Byrd Finley
Stone circles are among the most common and understudied archaeological features in the Rocky Mountains and High Plains. Their widespread availability coupled with increased archaeological research accompanying oil and natural gas exploration in the region has expanded the availability and size of the region’s radiocarbon database. The dates as data approach uses radiocarbon ages as variables from a larger sample. This thesis compiles radiocarbon ages associated with tipi ring sites in Wyoming and Montana and creates a summed probability distribution from these ages to serve as a proxy for prehistoric mobility. The distribution is corrected for taphonomic bias, or data loss, and compared to two paleoenvironmental proxies from northwestern Wyoming lakes to determine whether prehistoric mobility meets the expectations of the patch choice model. Running correlation windows provide statistical comparisons between datasets. Although a weak statistical relationship is apparent between mobility and the paleoenvironmental reconstructions over the 5000-year study period, no statistically significant correlations were identified at 150-or 200-year scales. Moderate strength correlations between the environmental data and mobility proxy when mobility is lagged suggest a delayed relationship between the datasets. Future research must include expanding the radiocarbon database and obtaining finer-scale paleoenvironmental reconstructions.
Mendez, Anastasia M. Lugo, "By Proxy: A Radiocarbon Perspective on Prehistoric Mobility Using Summed Probability Distributions and Paleoenvironmental Reconstructions in Wyoming and Montana" (2019). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 7447.
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