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Evaluating the Contemporaneity of Households at the Eden-Farson site


  • M. O'Brien

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
    • Correspondence to: Matthew O'Brien, Department of Anthropology, MSC01-1040, Anthropology 1, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.


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Archaeologists often rely on absolute dating methods, but the standard deviations associated with these approaches often leave us wondering what to make of spatially related archaeological units, such as adjacent sites, clusters of features or regional-scale investigations. This issue is particularly relevant to the Shoshone Protohistoric site of Eden-Farson located in southwest Wyoming. The campsite consists of at least 11 discrete excavation units and is associated with a successful communal game drive of over 156 pronghorn. Yet the sheer number of pronghorn and the ambiguous nature of the near-surface cultural deposits have left researchers debating whether it represents a single occupation associated with a single successful game drive. Using a multivariate refit model, I have performed a bilateral refit analysis to identify links between the excavation units. Strong evidence for contemporaneity of Eden-Farson excavation units comes from 38 linkages between 10 of the 11 proveniences. Coeval occupation of the separate houses also allows for an analysis of food-sharing behaviours. With the last game drive occurring in the 1870s, the Eden-Farson site provides a rare opportunity to examine the social organisation of communal hunting. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.