Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Arts in Anthropology



Major Advisor

Pei-Lin Yu, Ph.D.

Major Advisor

Mark Plew, Ph.D.


Mikael Fauvelle, Ph.D.


F. Kirk Halford, MA


Vegetational resources are reported to have had multiple uses in indigenous groups who were present in the Great Basin area throughout the Archaic periods. Resource acquisition and position of resources is documented to have had impacts on settlement patterns, but the impact of the range of vegetational resources, specifically, is lacking thorough study in the northern Great Basin area. Due to fluctuating climates, modern development, and other factors both anthropogenic and otherwise, Archaic vegetation ranges may not be wholly visible in the same locations today; however, the environments surrounding sites may be determined by observing a variety of ecological variables, including soil type, hydrology, slope, and elevation.

Using Owyhee County, Idaho for an example, this study seeks to evaluate if known locations of archaeological sites have any visible correlation to four variables reported to have critical importance to the ecology and ranges of vegetation communities: soil type, groundwater accessibility, slope, and elevation. I analyze how ecological variables heavily associated with vegetation types can be mapped against known archaeological resource location ‘hotspots’, and use them to create a well-informed analysis of the vegetations correlated with these variables and estimate a general assessment of the resources most likely to have been available in these locations. Observing how these variables are associated with vegetation that correlates to documented ethnographic usages, this thesis advances possible factors that influence the selection of residential, temporary camp, and resource-specific processing site locations, and provides strong evidence for the need to consider environmental factors when conducting archaeological surveys.