Sponsored by: Archaeological Institute of America
Historians, geographers, and archaeologists have argued for over a century that the American West begins at the 100th meridian, which is said to define the boundary between the arid west and the well-watered east. West of the 100th meridian, indigenous people were hunters and gatherers; east of it, they were farmers. The archaeology of the Great Plains has always complicated this argument: since the 1930s, we have known about indigenous Plains farmers in southwestern Nebraska. This talk presents new (and some old) evidence of related Plains farmers almost on the Nebraska/Wyoming border. During the late 12th century, people grew maize and manufactured Plains Village pottery at the King site near Chadron, Nebraska. The archaeology of this community mixes together elements of western Plains hunter-gatherers and eastern Plains farmers and the people who lived there may have been western Plains people in transition from hunting and gathering to food production.