Camels Back Cave

Anthropological Paper 125

By Dave N. Schmitt, David B. Madsen

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9780874808414 (paperback)

University of Utah Anthropological Paper No. 125

Camels Back Cave is in an isolated limestone ridge on the southern edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert. Recent archaeological investigations there have exposed a series of stratified deposits spanning the entire Holocene era (10,000 BP–present), deposits that show intermittent human occupations dating back through the past 7,600 years. Most human visits to the cave were brief—many likely representing overnight stays—and visitors did not dig pits or move sediment. As a result, fieldworkers were able to recognize and remove thirty-three stratigraphic horizons; radiocarbon analysis provided a pristine, high-resolution chronological sequence of human use. The brevity of visits and the undisturbed nature of the deposits also allowed researchers to identify portions of eight “living surfaces” where they exposed and mapped artifacts and ecofacts across contiguous blocks of units.

Aside from presenting model field techniques, this volume provides new and unique information on regional Holocene climates and biotic communities, cave taphonomy and small mammal hunting, as well as updated human chronologies for Great Basin occupation.