Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology, Social Work, and Anthropology




Alpine villages are extremely rare in the Great Basin. To date, villages located at elevations above 10,000 ft. are only known to occur in the White Mountains and the Toquima Range. Demographic forcing has been used to explain the existence of these villages, but this proposition does not identify the selective pressures that led to the establishment of high-elevation villages in some ranges but not others. Comparison of artifact distributions and environmental structure in the Toquima Range, where a village exists, and the Toiyabe Range, where one does not, is consistent with the hypothesis that alpine villages were subsidized by intensive exploitation of mid-elevation pinyon groves associated with low-cost travel corridors, which facilitated transport of pine nuts to upland village locations. This study also reveals that limber pine may have played a role in alpine village subsistence, and identifies the need for further research on the value of this resource.