Anthropology, Department of


Date of this Version



In Hunters and Gatherers in Theory and Archaeology, edited by G.M. Crothers. Center for Archaeological Investigations, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Occasional paper, number 31 (2004), pages 10-47.


Copyright 2004, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. Used by permission.


Archaeologists' cumulative knowledge about Paleoindians has grown substantially during the past two decades, and accomplishments have been impressive. I find, however, that much of the research regarding the archaeology of the Paleoindian period is primarily descriptive and highly particularistic. In this essay, I propose that our understanding of Paleoindian artifact assemblages, associated ecofactual materials, and human remains can be more meaningful within a broader biophysical context. We must ask how the archaeological record of the Late Glacial period might provide paleoanthropologists with greater insights into early hunter-gatherer anatomy, physiology, diet, health, and behavior. I propose that our understanding of hunter-gatherer life during the Late Glacial period may now be further enhanced by redirecting our attention toward several important technological responses that Paleoindians most probably made to cold stress and thermoregulation, including clothing, housing, and fire technology.