Douglas B. Bamforth

Douglas B. Bamforth
University of Colorado Boulder | CUB · Department of Anthropology

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84
Publications
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2,601
Citations
Citations since 2017
10 Research Items
724 Citations
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120
2017201820192020202120222023020406080100120

Publications

Publications (84)
Preprint
When they work, controlled experiments can efficiently and clearly reveal essential characteristics of the functions and performance of ancient hunting and fighting weapons. However, homogenous target media must be carefully validated to ensure that the same variables that made weapons effective in their original application are being captured in c...
Book
In this volume, Douglas B. Bamforth offers an archaeological overview of the Great Plains, the vast, open grassland bordered by forests and mountain ranges situated in the heart of North America. Synthesizing a century of scholarship and new archaeological evidence, he focuses on changes in resource use, continental trade connections, social format...
Article
This paper presents a series of new radiocarbon dates on the Lynch site (25BD1), an Initial Coalescent site in northeastern Nebraska, and takes a Bayesian approach to examining them in three contexts. First, we consider what they tell us about the chronology of occupation at the site itself. Second, we combine them with dates on other sites in the...
Article
Plains archaeologists have referred to a class of features they have labelled mortar holes at least since the 1940s. These features are typically postholes identified in locations in the floors of houses that seem unlikely to have supported the weight of the house’s roof. Instead, researchers suggest that these holes once held wooden mortars used t...
Article
Full-text available
This article emerged as the human species collectively have been experiencing the worst global pandemic in a century. With a long view of the ecological, economic, social, and political factors that promote the emergence and spread of infectious disease , archaeologists are well positioned to examine the antecedents of the present crisis. In this a...
Article
Shennan Stephen . Genes, memes and human history: Darwinian archaeology and cultural evolution. 304 pages, 47 figures. 2002. London: Thames & Hudson; 0-500-05118-6 hardback £19.95. - Volume 77 Issue 298 - Douglas Bamforth
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Full-text available
The Harman cache is a collection of Cody-era artifacts found in south-central Nebraska in the 1930s. The collection includes finished Cody projectile points and a large number of projectile point preforms made from raw materials originating in widely dispersed areas. At least one, and possibly two, of the bifaces in the cache resemble Hell Gap pref...
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Archaeologists increasingly examine summed probability distributions of radiocarbon dates to search for temporal trends in ancient human populations, including early North American population trends across the onset of the Younger Dryas climatic period (10,900 BC). We use both IntCal04 and IntCal09 to simulate and calibrate sequences of radiocarbon...
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Full-text available
Reconstructions of the Paleoindian period are archaeology's origin stories about the native people of North America. These reconstructions have strongly emphasized great differences between recent and ancient Native Americans, echoing a perspective with its roots in the nineteenth century. One central component of the differences archaeologists hav...
Article
This chapter focuses on how to design and execute programs of experimentation intended to help archaeologists interpret traces of use in the edges of ancient flaked stone tools. Archaeologists who specialize in such interpretation are referred to as " microwear analysts," and well-designed and executed experimentation is central to their training a...
Article
Archaeologists generally agree that Paleoindian residential groups moved regularly over extremely large ranges. However, on the Great Plains, this argument depends substantially on datasets derived largely or entirely from projectile points rather than from systematic analysis of a wide range of artifacts. This paper argues that projectile points d...
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Extremely skillful stoneworking is widely cited as an important characteristic of the Paleoindian period in North America. This paper considers differences in finished and unfinished projectile points and bifaces from two Paleoindian sites in the Medicine Creek drainage of southwestern Nebraska with this in mind, arguing that these differences refl...
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This paper introduces the volume by considering what skill is and how archaeologists have looked at issues of skill in stone tool production, along with anthropological and archaeological approaches to the ways in which individuals become skilled craftworkers. Archaeological studies of flintknapping skill tend to be isolated from most larger debate...
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Full-text available
This paper considers the occupational history of the Crow Creek site, arguably the most famous archaeological site on the northern Plains. We recognize that no single aspect of the currently available evidence makes it possible to examine this topic in rigorous detail. However, we argue that multiple lines of evidence converge on the conclusion tha...
Article
Recent research on the intriguing Allen Site in southwestern Nebraska and the nearby Medicine Creek sites has revealed a wealth of new information on the land and animal use of the early inhabitants. © 2007 by the University of New Mexico Press. All rights reserved.
Chapter
THIS Chapter Introduces the third section of this report, focusing on the fieldwork carried out at the Allen site. The following chapter examines the spatial structure of the site, as a basis for understanding how the Allen site locality was used and/or reused. With this as background, chapters 10 though 12 present analyses of the flaked stone asse...
Chapter
There Are Two Fundamental Kinds of archaeological data: data derived from inspection of artifacts and data pertaining to the spatial relations among artifacts and between artifacts and features. Paleoindian archaeology relies heavily on the first of these. However, though detailed maps of the distributions of artifacts and features within many Pale...
Chapter
This Volume Beganby arguing that the Allen site is particularly important in light of an ongoing and fundamental rethinking of the Paleoindian period on the Great Plains. As Hill et al. describe the traditional view of this period, "Sophisticated weaponry, use of non-local or exotic lithic raw materials for manufacture of stone tools, a 'gourmet' b...
Chapter
The Locality Archaeologists now refer to as "the Allen site" was part of a real place where real people lived out parts of their lives over most of the interval we call the Paleoindian period. Previous chapters have explored the environment of this locality and the evidence that the people who lived there left behind. This chapter steps back from t...
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Full-text available
Studies of hunter-gatherer activity at lithic raw material sources are relatively rare and largely descriptive, in part because archaeologists have viewed hunter-gatherer lithic procurement as a casual and low-cost activity. This paper presents the results of fieldwork at a hunter-gatherer quartzite quarry along the Continental Divide in the Rocky...
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Full-text available
This paper examines the way in which patterns of human occupation and geomorphic processes interacted to produce a highly structured distribution of artifacts and hearths over a period of over 3,000 years at the Allen site (25FT50), a Paleoindian campsite in southwestern Nebraska. Despite accumulation of roughly a meter of sediment, artifact concen...
Article
Archaeologists frequently suggest that the Neolithic occupants of Ireland and Britain may not have been fully settled farmers, but were, instead, at least partially nomadic pastoralists. However, human use of any landscape is more complex than the current debate suggests, and this debate has included few systematic studies designed to evaluate this...
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O'Brien, Lyman, and Leonard's comment misrepresents my paper and obscures the problems evolutionary archaeology faces. In particular, I took the ongoing operation of natural selection among modern humans as one of my fundamental assumptions and I did not limit evolution to genetic change. The assertion that the selectionists have identified the ope...
Article
Explores the impact of European colonization on Native American and Pacific Islander technology and culture. This is the first comprehensive analysis of the partial replacement of flaked stone and ground stone traditions by metal tools in the Americas during the Contact Era. It examines the functional, symbolic, and economic consequences of that re...
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Full-text available
Evolutionary theory and terminology are widely used in recent archaeological work, and many evolutionary archaeologists have argued that the integration of such theory and terminology is essential to the future of our field. This paper considers evolutionary archaeology from two perspectives. First, it examines substantive claims that archaeology c...
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Full-text available
Archaeologists generally argue that early (ca. 11,000–8000 B.P. populations on the North American Great Plains moved over very large areas, relying on sophisticated, biface-based flaked stone technology and on extensive resharpening and recycling of tools to cope with unpredictable access to raw material sources. This paper reviews the development...
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Low core/biface ratios are often linked to high mobility, and high ratios to more sedentary lifestyles. The Paleoindian Allen site assemblage exhibits low core/biface ratios among recovered artifacts and higher ratios among refitted sequences. This suggests that cores passed through the site more often than bifaces, but were rarely discarded there....
Article
Low core/biface ratios are often linked to high mobility, and high ratios to more sedentary life styles. The Paleoindian Allen site assemblage exhibits low core/biface ratios among recovered artifacts and higher ratios among refitted sequences. This suggests that cores passed through the site more often than bifaces, but were rarely discarded there...
Article
Plains archaeology tends to lack overtly theoretical discussion, and examples from the Plains rarely enter into theoretical discussions of American archaeology. This lack of overt theorizing in our field masks the fact that archaeological and anthropological theory permeates every step of all archaeological research ever conducted on the Plains. Th...
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Recent theoretical studies of flaked stone technology have identified many factors that affect the ways in which human beings make and use tools. However, these studies lack a unified body of theory that might help to integrate their diverse perspectives. This paper expands recent anthropological discussions of risk as the basis for such a theory....
Article
Harry's recent paper in this journal critiques the use of cation-ratio dating to assess the age of surface-collected artifacts as part of a rejection of this dating technique in general. However, Harry's negative conclusions are difficult to reconcile both with the seemingly successful application of cation-ratio dating as part of the Intermountain...
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Anthropologists have recently focused on the relation between high-casualty tribal warfare and Western contact, arguing that such contact greatly increases the scale and intesity of such warfare, and frequently citing ethnographic data from the North American Great Plains in support of this conclusion. However, archaeological data suggest that high...
Chapter
Most of us probably implicitly attribute the rapid disappearance of aboriginal stone-working traditions after European contact to the quick recognition by native groups of the technical superiority of metal tools, and, possibly because of this assumption, this disappearance is not often a research domain in itself. However, there are at least two r...
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Recent research has identified a number of general factors with important effects on flaked-stone technology but has been less effective in solving the problem of examining these factors in specific archaeological contexts. This paper discusses this issue and presents a case study focused on mobility patterns in one area of coastal California to ex...
Article
Discussions of climatic conditions on the Great Plains during the Protohistoric and Historic periods often focus on the concept of a “Little Ice Age, “a period of time during which precipitation in the region is argued to have been significantly greater and temperatures significantly lower than during the twentieth century. This paper reviews the a...
Article
Blind tests of high-magnification microwear analysis have produced variable results, leading some researchers to doubt that there are differences in the appearance of the use-polishes on which the method relies. In this paper, we report the results of a blind test which was designed to (1) test further the hypothesis that different materials produc...
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Full-text available
The most common method used by archaeologists to identify flaked-stone artifacts that were used by prehistoric people to accomplish some task is to inspect an artifact's edges for macroscopic edge damage. The results of a test of this "no-magnification" approach to microwear analysis indicate that such an approach is likely to produce highly inaccu...
Article
This paper explores the prehistoric use of two quarries in the central Mojave Desert. Technological analysis and cation-ratio dating of refitted core/flake sequences indicate that patterns of raw material selection, reduction strategies, and the range of objects produced at and removed from the sites remained essentially constant over time despite...
Article
Archaeologists have used microscopes to study traces of use on the edges of prehistoric stone tools for many years, but the past decade has seen a tremendous increase in the technical sophistication and substantive contributions made by this branch of archaeological research. Our purpose is to summarize the basic approaches archaeologists take to m...
Article
Microwear analysis of flaked stone stools based on examination of microwear polishes has recently been criticized because of several analysts' poor performances in blind tests and because of unsuccessful attempts to distinguish between polishes using computer- based image processing. The present paper identifies fundamental problems with (1) the im...
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Full-text available
The antiquity of human occupation in the New World undoubtedly is one of the major unresolved culture-historical problems in North American prehistory. On the one hand, a dominant position with a long history in American archaeology (cf. Wilmsen 1965) holds that human beings arrived in the New World at the close of the Pleistocene, no longer than 1...
Chapter
This study has examined the relationship between the availability of resources in a region, the ways in which human beings exploit those resources, and the effects of these patterns of exploitation on human organization. It proposed that social structure should be more complex when larger groups of people come together more regularly and stay toget...
Chapter
Plains anthropologists often discuss the topic of “bison ecology” because of the obvious importance of the organization and behavior of the great herds to the human beings exploiting them, but the meaning of “ecology” in anthropological studies of bison is considerably more restricted than it is elsewhere. Although Pianka (1974:3) defines ecology a...
Chapter
Chapter 2 proposes a relationship between a society’s complexity and the specific environment that that society exploits, but the specific locations of the recent occupants of the Great Plains changed dramatically during the centuries just before and after white contact. It is therefore necessary to consider these changes in studying the relationsh...
Chapter
Chapter 2 proposed that more heterogeneous hunting societies on the Plains should be found in regions in which ungulates occur in larger, more widely separated herds that are less mobile and whose movements are relatively regular within a séason and repetitive from year to year. To test this proposition for the recent bison-hunting societies on the...
Chapter
The preceding chapter summarized the modern pattern of climatic variation on the Plains and assessed the effects of this variation on regional patterns of forage production. Much of this variation is linked to the physiography of the area and is therefore likely to have been relatively constant over time. A north-to-south increase in temperature (a...
Chapter
To this point, this study has presented a hypothesis about the relationship between variation in ungulate adaptations and variation in human organization and has tested this hypothesis on the basis of the recent bison-hunting groups on the Great Plains. The following chapters turn to one specific portion of the Plains— the Southern High Plains of w...
Chapter
This chapter discusses the factors affecting the annual and seasonal patterns of forage production in a grassland, anticipating the discussion in the following chapter showing the importance of these patterns to ungulate adaptations. The major subjects of this chapter are the effects of climate, soils, and grazing on the amount and quality of forag...
Chapter
The theory presented in Chapter 2 relating human land use and organization to ungulate herding and migration patterns is clearly relevant to the basic adaptation outlined in the preceeding chapter. However, the nature of the data available on the Paleoindian occupants of the study area puts very different constraints on this section of the discussi...
Chapter
Because descriptions of the Plains tribes prior to the nineteenth century tend to be extremely sketchy, the relationship proposed here between human organization and environmental conditions is tested most reliably on data from the 1800s. Furthermore, it is reasonable to assume that the data available in the ethnographic record should be most appli...
Chapter
The major topic addressed here is how the environment of a given region affects the complexity of human organization in that region. This chapter outlines a basis for evaluating, first, important characteristics of the resources available in a region and, second, the degree of human social complexity there. Given this outline, it then discusses a g...
Chapter
This study emphasizes the relationship between the availability of animals on the Plains under different environmental conditions and the adaptations of the human beings preying on those animals. Such an emphasis presupposes a diet dominated by meat, and the specific hypothesis linking animal ecology and human adaptations proposed here presupposes...
Chapter
By and large, recent anthropological analyses of human adaptations to the natural environment emphasize three topics: diet, technology, and settlement patterns. This is particularly true in archaeological research and is virtually universal in archaeological research on hunters and gatherers.
Book
Resource Structure and Human Organization.- Grassland Ecology.- Ungulate Ecology.- Patterns of Forage Production on the Great Plains.- Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Climate and Bison Adaptations on the Great Plains.- Recent Population Movements on the Great Plains.- Ecological Relationships in Recent Plains Society.- Recent and Paleoindian Env...
Article
Although many anthropologists have studied the Plains bison using historical documents, such studies often do not consider the information needed to make ecological sense out of the data these documents contain. Arguments about the “predictability” of herd movements are particularly weakened by this problem. Modern ecological research indicates tha...
Article
The first accelerator radiocarbon dates of rock varnishes are reported along with potassium/argon ages of lava flows and conventional radiocarbon dates of pluvial lake shorelines, in an empirical calibration of rock varnish K+ + Ca2+/Ti4+ ratios with age in the Mojave Desert, eastern California. This calibration was used to determine the cation-rat...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeologists frequently explain tool curation by its efficiency. Such explanations ignore the fact that curation is a complex activity and that its component parts are efficient in different ways. I argue that the nature and distribution of lithic resources critically affect technological efficiency and I discuss two aspects of curation, maintena...
Article
Noncommunal bison hunting on the Plains has rarely been studied. This paper discusses the lithic material from eight small, non communal bison kills at the Lubbock Lake site in the Texas Panhandle. This collection differs fundamentally from those found in communal kills, particularly in the range of quality in the raw materials and in the diversity...
Article
Anyone proposing to increase the volume of essays on the intellectual foundations of archaeology is automatically under suspicion of hubris if not something worse. Our justification for still another effort is, of course, that we think the present situation exhibits confusion and misunderstanding that can be cleared away by careful analysis of some...
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of California, Santa Barbara, 1986. Includes vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 321-363). Photocopy.

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