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The pollen, sedimentary, geomorphic, pedogenic, and cultural records in the basin and foothill areas of the Northwestern Plains indicates that climatic conditions during the middle Holocene were warm and dry. However, chronologies are not synchronous and there are great differences in times of climatic transition between areas. The time of shift from the cool/moist conditions of the early Holocene to a more arid/warm climate varies between 9,000 to 6,700 radiocarbon years before present (RYBP), while the end of the middle Holocene, depending on locale, took place between 7,000 and 2,500 RYBP. The advent of Neoglaciation is commonly considered to mark the end of the middle Holocene. In Wyoming and Southern Alberta, this event began about 3,300 RYBP. In Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies, the major post-Pleistocene glacial episode was the Little Ice Age, about 400 to 100 B.P.

The Early Archaic Cultural Period began about 7,600 RYBP and is characterized by a shift from the big game hunting economy of the Paleoindian to one with an emphasis on small-game procurement. Population numbers in Wyoming appear to have been low between 8,000 and 6,500 RYBP. The appearance of pithouses, in central Wyoming, between 6,000 and 5,000 RYBP signals a change to a more equitable climate. The sudden and widespread appearance of the McKean peoples at about 5,000 RYBP marks another change in life style and the end of the Early Archaic.

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