The end of the Pleistocene era brought dramatic environmental changes to small bands of humans living in North America: changes that affected subsistence, mobility, demography, technology, and social relations. The transition they made from Paleoindian (Pleistocene) to Archaic (Early Holocene) societies represents the first major cultural shift that took place solely in the Americas. This event—which manifested in ways and at times much more varied than often supposed—set the stage for the unique developments of behavioral complexity that distinguish later Native American prehistoric societies.
Using localized studies and broad regional syntheses, the contributors to this volume demonstrate the diversity of adaptations to the dynamic and changing environmental and cultural landscapes that occurred between the Pleistocene and early portion of the Holocene. The authors' research areas range from Northern Mexico to Alaska and across the continent to the American Northeast, synthesizing the copious available evidence from well-known and recent excavations.With its methodologically and geographically diverse approach, From the Pleistocene to the Holocene: Human Organization and Cultural Transformations in Prehistoric North America provides an overview of the present state of knowledge regarding this crucial transformative period in Native North America. It offers a large-scale synthesis of human adaptation, reflects the range of ideas and concepts in current archaeological theoretical approaches, and acts as a springboard for future explanations and models of prehistoric change.
As associate professor of Anthropology at Texas State University–San Marcos and a GAES honorary research fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand, C. BRITT BOUSMAN has conducted archaeological research in the Southern Plains and peripheral areas since 1972. His contributions include co-authoring “Paleoindian Archeology in Texas” in The Prehistory of Texas (Texas A&M University Press, 2004).
BRADLEY J. VIERRA is a principal investigator at Statistical Research Inc. He has researched and written extensively on hunter-gatherer archaeology, stone tool technology, and origins of agriculture, with a special focus on the American Southwest.
What Readers Are Saying:
"The authors make a compelling case that a marked change in artifact types is a result of population shifts in the Pacific Northwest . . . well-organized and well-written . . . a welcome summary of data on the Paleoindian and Archaic in Sonora, Mexico . . . an excellent summary of recent data on the Late Pleistocene through Early Holocene developments in central Texas."--David Carlson, associate professor of anthropology, Texas A&M University
" . . . a highly useful compendium of authoritative regional overviews of changing human adaptions across the Pleistocene-Holocene transition . . . a much needed review of the varieties of responses of regional populations to the varied environmental changes across North America . . . important and useful contribution . . . an important addition to the literature."--Bradley T. Lepper, curator of archaeology, Ohio Historical Society
"Britt Bousman and Bradley Vierra have compiled a comprehensive volume dealing with the cultural transformations that took place in North America at the end of the last Ice Age and the beginning of the early Holocene. Each of the eleven chapters in From the Pleistocene to the Holocene provides a review of a specific region and these chapters are written by recognized scholars. Each chapter is packed with useful information and new insights into the late Paleoindian-early Archaic transition. Each regional synthesis laces together the archaeology of this time period against the backdrop of climate and environmental changes. This is a much needed and insightful synthesis of an important topic in North American archaeology."--Michael R. Waters, director, Center for the Study of First Americans in the Department of Anthropology, Texas A&M University
"From the Pleistocene to the Holocene by Charles Britt Bousman and Bradley J. Vierra sets the stage for a serious reconsideration of the archaeology of the Paleoindian-Archaic transition in North America. The articles bring together a wealth of data--much of it drawn from the ‘grey literature’. This is an essential resource for the prehistory of North America and for all archaeologists interested in the interplay between climate and culture at the onset of the Holocene."--Michael Chazen, professor, department of anthropology, University of Toronto
“This weighty contribution fins an important and necessary niche . . . exemplifies how “big picture” investigations can dovetail quite nicely with examinations of regional variation and thus act as both a foundation and inspiration for future research . . . Altogether, Bousman and Vierra have assembled a handsome, must-have work for Pleistocene/Holocene Transition archaeologists the world over, as well as a practical, worthwhile reference book for post-Pleistocene archaeologists who want to better understand the cultures foundational to the rest of North American archaeology.”—Metin I. Eren, American Antiquity
"Resets our thinking on the pace and overall patterns of transitions in North America at this time. The book brings together detailed archaeological syntheses from multiple geographic regions. The result is a volume that stands alone as a new interpretative framework for cultural change during the transition from the last Ice Age to the beginning of the Holocene. This book is necessary resource for researchers concerned with Paleoindian or Archaic groups, but also should be digested by most prehistoric archaeologists in North America and Mexico." -- Journal of Lithic Studies