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"The Great Basin, centering on Nevada and including substantial parts of California, Oregon, and Utah, gets its name from the fact that none of its rivers or streams flow to the sea. This book synthesizes the past 25,000 years of the natural history of this vast region. It explores the extinct animals that lived in the Great Basin during the Ice Age and recounts the rise and fall of the massive Ice Age lakes that existed here. It explains why trees once grew 13' beneath what is now the surface of Lake Tahoe, explores the nearly two dozen Great Basin mountain ranges that once held substantial glaciers, and tells the remarkable story of how pinyon pine came to cover some 17,000,000 acres of the Great Basin in the relatively recent past.These discussions culminate with the impressive history of the prehistoric people of the Great Basin, a history that shows how human societies dealt with nearly 13,000 years of climate change on this often-challenging landscape"--Provided by publisher.
Main Selection, Natural Science Book Club. Spanning 25,000 years and covering topics that range from Pleistocene glaciers to the ill-fated Donner Party, The Desert's Past presents the first complete synthesis of the environmental and human history of North America's Great Basin.
Written to appeal to professional archaeologists, students, and the interested public alike, this book is a long overdue introduction to the ancient peoples of the Great Basin and northern Colorado Plateau. Through detailed syntheses, the reader is drawn into the story of the habitation of the Great Basin from the entry of the first Native Americans through the arrival of Europeans. Ancient Peoples is a major contribution to Great Basin archaeology and anthropology, as well as the general study of foraging societies.
The Native American inhabitants of North America’s Great Basin have a long, eventful history and rich cultures. Great Basin Indians: An Encyclopedic History covers all aspects of their world. The book is organized in an encyclopedic format to allow full discussion of many diverse topics, including geography, religion, significant individuals, the impact of Euro-American settlement, wars, tribes and intertribal relations, reservations, federal policies regarding Native Americans, scholarly theories regarding their prehistory, and others. Author Michael Hittman employs a vast range of archival and secondary sources as well as interviews, and he addresses the fruits of such recent methodologies as DNA analysis and gender studies that offer new insights into the lives and history of these enduring inhabitants of one of North America’s most challenging environments. Great Basin Indians is an essential resource for any reader interested in the Native peoples of the American West and in western history in general.
The end of the Pleistocene era brought dramatic environmental changes to small bands of humans living in North America: changes that affected subsistence, mobility, demography, technology, and social relations. The transition they made from Paleoindian (Pleistocene) to Archaic (Early Holocene) societies represents the first major cultural shift that took place solely in the Americas. This event—which manifested in ways and at times much more varied than often supposed—set the stage for the unique developments of behavioral complexity that distinguish later Native American prehistoric societies. Using localized studies and broad regional syntheses, the contributors to this volume demonstrate the diversity of adaptations to the dynamic and changing environmental and cultural landscapes that occurred between the Pleistocene and early portion of the Holocene. The authors' research areas range from Northern Mexico to Alaska and across the continent to the American Northeast, synthesizing the copious available evidence from well-known and recent excavations.With its methodologically and geographically diverse approach, From the Pleistocene to the Holocene: Human Organization and Cultural Transformations in Prehistoric North America provides an overview of the present state of knowledge regarding this crucial transformative period in Native North America. It offers a large-scale synthesis of human adaptation, reflects the range of ideas and concepts in current archaeological theoretical approaches, and acts as a springboard for future explanations and models of prehistoric change.
Along a tiny spring in a narrow canyon near Death Valley, seemingly against all odds, an Inyo Mountain slender salamander makes its home. "The desert," writes conservation biologist Christopher Norment, "is defined by the absence of water, and yet in the desert there is water enough, if you live properly." Relicts of a Beautiful Sea explores the existence of rare, unexpected, and sublime desert creatures such as the black toad and four pupfishes unique to the desert West. All are anomalies: amphibians and fish, dependent upon aquatic habitats, yet living in one of the driest places on earth, where precipitation averages less than four inches per year. In this climate of extremes, beset by conflicts over water rights, each species illustrates the work of natural selection and the importance of conservation. This is also a story of persistence--for as much as ten million years--amid the changing landscape of western North America. By telling the story of these creatures, Norment illustrates the beauty of evolution and explores ethical and practical issues of conservation: what is a four-inch-long salamander worth, hidden away in the heat-blasted canyons of the Inyo Mountains, and what would the cost of its extinction be? What is any lonely and besieged species worth, and why should we care?
Believing in Place is a reflection on the ways that human needs and spiritual traditions can shape our perceptions of the land. That the Great Basin has inspired such a complex variety of responses is partly due to its enigmatic vastness and isolation, partly to the remarkable range of peoples who have found themselves in the region. Using not only the materials of traditional geography but folklore, anthropology, Native American and Euro-American religion, contemporary politics, and New Age philosophies, Francaviglia has produced a timely investigation of the role of human conceptions of place in that space we call the Great Basin.

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