Lawn Lake, a High Montane Hunting Camp in the Colorado (USA) Rocky Mountains: Insights into Early Holocene Late Paleoindian Hunter-Gatherer Adaptations and Paleo-landscapes

Authors: James Doerner*, Univ of Northern Colorado, Robert Brunswig, University of Northern Colorado
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Mountain Environments
Keywords: Late Paleoindian, Early Holocene, Paleoenvironmental, Rocky Mountain National Park
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download

The Lawn Lake archaeological site is a stratified hunting camp on a glacial lake outlet river terrace in Rocky Mountain National Park’s upper subalpine forest zone. Its cultural deposits and associated surface artifacts represent 9,000 years of use by Native American hunter-gatherers as a game animal and local plant processing base camp for subalpine forest and nearby alpine tundra summer grazing areas. The site’s deepest occupation levels contain artifacts and hearth features whose radiocarbon chronology, dating 8,900-7,900 cal BP, places it among the region’s earliest human (Paleoindian) high montane (3,353 m. a.s.l.) hunting camps used to support systematic exploitation of summer migratory subalpine forest and tundra game animals and plant foods in the Southern Rocky Mountains. Local and park paleoenvironmental studies provide background evidence of Lawn Lake’s long-term prehistoric environments, contributing to our understanding of Late Paleoindian high-altitude hunter-gatherer adaptations and their associated paleo-landscapes. The site’s archaeological evidence viewed through decades of mountain research in the park and its region, scientifically portrays a very early hunting-gathering camp operating within a well-documented annual migratory transhumance system between interior mountain valleys to high altitude mountain landscapes in summer and persisting from Early Holocene through historic times.

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