Spencer Pelton

Spencer Pelton
University of Wyoming | UW · Department of Anthropology

PhD

About

33
Publications
19,690
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193
Citations
Introduction
Mainly interested in why people live in the some of the coldest, driest places on earth.
Additional affiliations
August 2013 - present
University of Wyoming
Position
  • Graduate Assistant
August 2010 - May 2013
Colorado State University
Position
  • Research Assistant

Publications

Publications (33)
Article
Full-text available
Following Martin [Martin PS (1973) Science 179:969-974], we propose the hypothesis that the timing of human arrival to the New World can be assessed by examining the ecological impacts of a small population of people on extinct Pleistocene megafauna. To that end, we compiled lists of direct radiocarbon dates on paleontological specimens of extinct...
Article
Full-text available
Palaeodemographic studies of animals using frequency distributions of radio-carbon dates are increasingly used in studies of Quaternary extinction but are complicated by taphonomic bias, or the loss of material through time. Current taphonomic models are based on the temporal frequency distributions of sediments , but bone is potentially lost at gr...
Article
Full-text available
The Hell Gap National Historic Landmark, located on the northwestern plains of Wyoming, is one of the most important Paleoindian archaeological sites in North America because it contains a stratified sequence of occupations spanning nearly the entirety of the Paleoindian period. Although Hell Gap is central to archaeological knowledge concerning No...
Article
Full-text available
Significance Red ocher (also known as hematite) is relatively common in Paleoindian sites exceeding ca. 11,000 calibrated years B.P. in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of North America. Red ocher fulfilled a wide range of functions within Paleoindian societies, as indicated by its association with graves, caches, campsites, hide-working implem...
Thesis
Full-text available
Humans regulate their body temperatures with a suite of thermoregulatory adaptations and behaviors to cope with environmental temperature. While thermoregulation has long been recognized as an important aspect of human survival and adaptive success, it is an underexplored aspect of human behavioral ecology compared to foraging and mobility, especia...
Poster
Full-text available
This is a preliminary summary of investigations from the Willow Springs campsite (48AB302), a major multiple component archaeologial site in the Laramie Valley of southern Wyoming.
Article
Full-text available
By 13,000 BP human populations were present across North America, but the exact date of arrival to the continent, especially areas south of the continental ice sheets, remains unclear. Here we examine patterns in the stratigraphic integrity of early North American sites to gain insight into the timing of first colonization. We begin by modeling str...
Chapter
Full-text available
The La Prele Mammoth site is a Clovis archaeological site in Converse County, Wyoming (U.S.A.) that preserves chipped stone artifacts in spatial association with the remains of a subadult Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi). The site was discovered in 1986 and initially tested by George Frison in 1987, but work ceased there until 2014 due to a di...
Article
Full-text available
Archaeologists have long subjected Clovis megafauna kill/scavenge sites to the highest level of scrutiny. In 1987, a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) was found in spatial association with a small artifact assemblage in Converse County, Wyoming. However, due to the small tool assemblage, limited nature of the excavations, and questions about th...
Chapter
This book was funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme (7FP), TropicMicroArch 623293 Project (http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/187754_en.html). The book will be Open Access, thanks to FP7 post-grant Open Access (https://www.openaire.eu/postgrantoapilot).
Poster
Full-text available
The Sisters Hill Paleoindian site located in an ecotone between the Bighorn Mountains and the High Plains of the Powder River Basin. Previously known for its Hell Gap component (ca. 11,000 cal BP), recent excavations at Sisters Hill discovered at least three components, including one associated with the Cody complex (ca. 10,900 cal BP) and two slig...
Poster
Full-text available
We compare a site-based Paleoindian chronology from the Hell Gap site to a regional Paleoindian chronology from the Northwest Plains. This poster is a useful reference for Northwest Plains and Rockies Paleoindian chronology.
Article
Full-text available
Component age estimates for the Hell Gap Paleoindian site and methods for chronological modeling of stratified open sites - Response to commentary by C. Vance Haynes - Volume 90 Issue 1 - Spencer R. Pelton, Marcel Kornfeld, Thomas Minckley, Mary Lou Larson
Article
Full-text available
We report results from excavations at the Wold Bison Jump (Wold, site number 48JO966), a Late Prehistoric (ca. 300–500 BP) bison jump located in the southeast foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, Wyoming. We argue that (a) the site was created by the ancestral Crow based on its location, age, material culture, and hunting technique and (b) the jump...
Article
Full-text available
We report major new insights from recent research at the Powars II Paleoindian red ocher quarry (48PL330). We salvaged more than 7,000 artifacts from Powars II between 2014 and 2016 by screening redeposited sediment from the talus slope below the intact portion of the site. Clovis artifacts dominate the diagnostic artifact assemblage, including 53...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This is a summary of surface recording, auger testing, and test excavations conducted at the Duck Creek site (48AB2802) in August of 2013 and 2015 by students associated with the University Wyoming. In total these efforts documented 694 flakes, 60 prehistoric and protohistoric tools, 2 stone circles, and several historic artifacts. Most notably, th...
Article
Full-text available
Prehistoric foragers living in the high elevations of the Colorado Front Range (CFR) transported ground stone tools at least 20 km from the CFR foothills to around 40 percent of sites in the subalpine forest and alpine tundra despite the sparse plant resources present in this region. This study is a distributional analysis that explains why there a...
Article
Full-text available
The Wold Bison Jump (48JO966) is a communal bison (Bison bison) hunting site in Johnson County, Wyoming. It likely represents a single kill event precipitated by Great Plains foragers between A.D. 1433 and 1643. Operating the jump required that prehistoric hunters drive stampeding bison up a steep slope in order to position them within a V-shaped d...
Article
Full-text available
We argue that variation in Younger Dryas-aged fluting in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains was primarily conditioned by cold-mediated time budgeting concerns. Foragers that lived in cold environments had more time to flute projectile points during prolonged periods of downtime relative to those in warmer, southerly environments. We show that flu...
Poster
Full-text available
The Wold Bison Jump in Johnson County, Wyoming, is one of many prehistoric, mass kill sites scattered across the Plains. At Wold, a foraging basin of prime ungulate grazing habitat abuts the gently sloping backside of a bluff. Funnel-shaped drive lines of cairns extend across the top of the bluff towards a treacherous cliff. The drive was configure...
Article
Full-text available
The Spring Canyon site (5LR205) is a multicomponent prehistoric campsite located in a foothills valley within Fort Collins, Colorado. It is one of the largest, most diverse sites in the northern Colorado foothills, possessing over 1,700 artifacts spanning Folsom to Late Prehistoric times. This study is a synthesis of existing research at the site t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
End scrapers are a widely recognized tool in the archaeological record, but their performance characteristics are poorly understood. We use experimental results and adapt marginal value theorem (MVT) for use in lithic studies to devise a formal model of end scraper performance that predicts the optimal time at which one should resharpen their end s...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This study presents preliminary climate modeling of the exchange of heat between humans and the environment. I use data from the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR), produced by the Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (Messinger et al. 2005). All data are means for January and...
Article
Full-text available
The Granby cache was found near Granby, CO at an elevation of 2,520 m asl and is comprised of 25 large flakes made from Kremmling chert. All but one cache item is modified or retouched, most notably as notched 'spokeshave' implements postulated to have been used to work wood, bone, and/or antler implements.
Article
Full-text available
The Olson site (5BL147) is a multi-component rock walled game drive located in the James Peak wilderness area of Northern Colorado, USA. It is one part of a much larger game drive complex located at Rollins Pass, situated above modern tree limit and along the Continental Divide, at approximately 3600 m above sea level. Byron Olson and James Benedic...
Thesis
Full-text available
Ground stone tools are a long-noted aspect of pre-contact archaeological assemblages from the high elevations (2975-3666 meters asl) of the Colorado Front Range (CFR). The tools are present in small frequencies at around 40% of the sites thus far recorded, and are typically present as heavily fragmented grinding slab fragments procured many kilomet...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
Provide chronological and geomorphic context for the ocher quarrying activities at the Powars II site and provide further insights into the Paleoindian activities surrounding red ocher quarrying.