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Department of Anthropology
University of Nevada, Reno
Abstract: Organic technologies are without a doubt the most underrepresented aspect of people’s material culture in the past. But these delicate remains are well represented in the Great Basin where arid rockshelters provide protection from the elements. One of the most robust and continuous organic artifact records in the region comes from Cougar Mountain Cave, located in central Oregon’s Fort Rock Basin. Excavated by an amateur in the 1950’s, the organic record had until recently remained understudied and minimally dated. In this presentation I describe a collaborative project centered on Cougar Mountain Cave and present over 75 new radiocarbon dates from perishable items spanning the late Pleistocene to last few centuries. These results provide direct dates on late Pleistocene and Early Holocene-aged hide and fiber items, two Great Basin sandal types, atlatl darts, a bow and arrow, a probable rabbit-skin blanket, and basketry, among other things. I discuss what these new results tell us about Cougar Mountain Cave and then compare it to other important archaeological sites across the northwestern Great Basin.
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"Archaeological Society of Central Oregon" is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.