In the Shadow of the Steamboat

A Natural and Cultural History of North Warner Valley, Oregon

Geoffrey M. Smith

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9781647690748 (paperback)
9781647690755 (ebook)

This volume tracks 13,000 years of environmental and cultural change in North Warner Valley, part of the Oregon Desert that has largely escaped researchers’ attention. The authors present a decade of fieldwork and laboratory analyses that reveals a record of human activity that waxed and waned with local and regional environmental and social change. Open-air sites, lithic technology, plant and animal foods, and bone and shell objects—most from a stratified rockshelter record that spans almost ten millennia—tell a story of people who visited North Warner Valley periodically to collect marsh plants, rabbits, and other resources.
Smith and colleagues present their work in a way that allows readers to understand not only how people adapted to local change but also how North Warner Valley fits into the complex mosaic of precontact history in the American West. This research is the most comprehensive work conducted in the northern Great Basin in more than two decades. Its multidisciplinary nature should interest students of natural and cultural history, archaeology, and Indigenous lifeways.