Science Magazine Consults Far Western

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Science magazine (sciencemag.org) consulted our Principal Investigator, Brian F. Byrd, PhD, for the special issue “Urban Planet.” Greg Miller, in his article Roots of the Urban Mind, spoke with Byrd about Dunbar’s view that living in groups larger than 150 or so exceeded the number of significant social relationships an individual can maintain, and caused psychological stresses that needed to be overcome. Byrd found support for Dunbar’s perspective in his studies of the transition to settled village life in the Near East and California. For example, Byrd’s work at early Neolithic Beidha in Jordan revealed the shift to larger agricultural communities involved architectural changes that created private household space separate from public and communal space. These insights support Miller’s view that early social innovations laid the foundation for modern urban cities and highlight Far Western’s contributions to anthropology in Science.

FullSizeRender300“Dividing the space like this would have helped limit and formalize social interactions,” Byrd says. “Dunbar’s ideas on psychosocial stresses dovetail nicely…”

Check out the full article in Science 352(6288):908—911, and see more of Byrd’s research by connecting with him on ResearchGate.com.

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A Least-cost GIS Approach to Modeling Foraging Ranges, Spatial Organization of Southern Levant

Brian Byrd, Andrew N. Garrard, and Paul Brandy recently published their article “Modeling Foraging Ranges and Spatial Organization of Late Pleistocene Hunter-gatherers in the Southern Levant—A Least-cost GIS Approach” in Quaternary International.

Read the full article at Quaternary International, Academia.edu, or Researchgate.net.
For an introduction, watch the narrated slide show below.


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Now Available Online! “Life on the River” by Hildebrandt and Darcangelo

Life on the River Cover

Instructors often request Life on the River – The Archaeology of an Early Native American Culture for use in their classrooms only to find out that it is now out of print.

With permission from Heyday Books, Life on the River, by Far Western authors William Hildebrandt and Michael Darcangelo, is now available online for instructors, students, and others curious about Sacramento Valley archaeology.

Life on the River

Part of the Crew for the Shasta County
2005 Field Season.

The book describes archaeological techniques and discoveries found at a Shasta County site, located on the Upper Sacramento River. It details Wintu lifeways just before and during the arrival of Europeans.

Click HERE to open the PDF!

You can also find the book under our Public Outreach and Interpretation page, along with other Far Western outreach projects, PDFs, and videos.

Read the first page…

LifeOnTheRiver

Chapter I: Introduction

During the summer of 2005, thirty-six acres along the Sacramento River were subdivided into six residential lots. The land lies in Shasta County, about six miles south of Redding, California, within the original homeland of the Wintu Indians. One of the prime lots contained an archaeological site officially registered as CA-SHA-1043 and subsequently given the Wintu name “Kum Bay Xerel” (Shady Oak Village; Figure 1). After several failed attempts to develop construction plans that could avoid the site, the landowner decided that the project should move forward, but only after an archaeological excavation. The excavations were carried out by the authors of this publication and other members of the Far Western Anthropological Research Group, with help from several Wintu tribal members and professional volunteers from throughout northern California…read more!

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Cuyama Valley Digital Booklet, Exhibits, and 3D Gallery

TLRTIn the late 1960s and early 1970s, the California Division of Highways carried out three highway realignment projects in Cuyama Valley, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Salvage archaeological work was conducted at seven sites, but the resulting extensive collections were never formally catalogued or documented.

Some 40 years later, the California Department of Transportation awarded Far Western a Transportation Enhancement grant to analyze and document the Cuyama Valley archaeological collections. The  result is entitled Cuyama Valley – A Corridor to the Past.

The Cuyama Valley story is also presented in a booklet for the public called The Long Road Traveled by Patricia Mikkelsen, Paula Juelke Carr, Shelly Tiley, Julia Costello, Nathan Stevens, and John R. Johnson. Read it HERE!

We created a 3D gallery as part of the digital booklet. Spin and view the 3D Visualization Gallery HERE!

This publication honors Dr. Valerie Levulett, who initiated the Cuyama Valley project.

She was instrumental in ensuring that the gathered information be made available to researchers and the public alike.

Far Western also designed and fabricated two sets of portable exhibits and a set of four bookmarks to be used by members of the Chumash Indian community.

Portable Exhibit 2

This project was a collaborative partnership among the Native American community, the District 5 Central Coast Specialist Branch of the California Department of Transportation, Far Western, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Foothill Resources, and Tiley Research, among others. We thank the many individuals who contributed their talents to this project, and particularly want to recognize the Native Americans with ties to Cuyama Valley who generously shared their time and stories with us.

We also wish to acknowledge the generous support of the California Transportation Commission, who made it possible to complete the proper processing and curation of the Cuyama archaeological collection. This study has opened up new and important vistas on the prehistory and early history of the Cuyama Valley corridor.

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Is Mojave Desert Clovis Contemporaneous with Clovis Elsewhere?

Clovis Biface

In their recent article in PaleoAmerica, one of Far Western’s Principal Investigators, Ryan Byerly, and one of our Senior Archaeologists, Joanna Roberson, examine a Clovis biface and explore dating terminal Pleistocene geological deposits in Twentynine Palms, California. The type of fluted biface, made of local jasper, implies that it may have been deposited before the Younger Dryas period, and it may coincide with Clovis points dated in other locations (ca. 13,200–12,700 calibrated years before present).

“More than 30 years of cultural resources management in the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC), Twentynine Palms, California, has produced a growing body of mostly unpublished data (cf. Sutton et al. 2007) concerning the late Pleistocene–middle Holocene archaeology of the Mojave Desert. This article highlights recent work demonstrating the presence of hunter-gatherers in the MCAGCC before the Younger Dryas, and the potential preservation of significantly ancient buried deposits in some areas.”

—Byerly and Roberson 2015

Read their article HERE.

“Late Pleistocene to Middle Holocene Archaeology in the Mojave Desert: Recent Discoveries in Twentynine Palms, California,” PaleoAmerica 1(2):197-201

The authors thank the Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs staff aboard MCAGCC, particularly Marie Cottrell, Leslie Glover, John Hale, and Nick Chamberlain, for their dedication to the management of cultural resources and providing data gleaned from those efforts for this piece. We would also like to acknowledge Mike Rondeau for taking time to analyze and identify the fluted projectile point, which was found by Devin Garvey, a Far Western archaeological technician. Geomorphological work was conducted by D. Craig Young, Andras Nagy produced the map, and Kathleen Montgomery created the other figure. Amy Gilreath manages Far Western’s work aboard MCAGCC, and Bill Hildebrandt serves as Principal Investigator for these projects. Mark Allen and three anonymous reviewers helped improve an earlier draft of the article.

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