By Mark B. Estes
During the 2002, 2003, and 2006 summer months, fieldwork sponsored by the Sundance Archaeological Research Fund through the Department of Anthropology at UNR was conducted in Jakes Valley, a small, hydrologically-closed basin in eastern Nevada and focused on identification, documentation, and collection of Paleoindian assemblages. This project resulted in the identification of 19 Paleoindian sites, including two small single component Western Fluted sites, an extensive site containing numerous Western Fluted and Western Stemmed projectile points and their associated assemblages, and many more Paleoindian sites.
Fluted points from Jakes Valley. Image courtesy of Mark Estes.
Detailed lithic analyses were conducted on these Paleoindian assemblages focusing on the technological organization, mobility, and landscape use of these early Great Basin inhabitants. Results indicate that Paleoindians in eastern Nevada were residentially mobile foragers that traveled far and wide to procure high quality toolstone and provision individuals with a flexible toolkit designed to maximize utility and functionality as they traveled through uncertain territory. Furthermore, study of Jakes Valley Paleoindian assemblages has shown that landscape use differed significantly between the two groups, despite the similarity in technological organization. This project has shed new light on Paleoindian lifestyles in the Great Basin and may help future investigators in the study of these early inhabitants.