Contributions Workshop 1.4.B:
Mountain trails, trade routes & migration

ID: 123
Workshop & Poster
Native American Cultural and Natural Landscapes and Seasonal Transhumance in the Colorado Rocky Mountains (USA) from the Late Ice Age to Euro-American Colonization
Keywords: hunter-gatherers, seasonal transhumance, migratory trail systems, evolving natural-cultural landscapes, Colorado Rocky Mountains

Brunswig, Robert Henry
University of Northern Colorado, United States of America

Workshop Abstract:

Robert Brunswig has directed several integrated research projects on Native American prehistoric and early historic adaptation in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains (USA) over the past quarter century. The projects focused on generating cultural and natural landscape models for past hunter-gatherer subsistence systems through large-scale survey and excavation programs, accumulating definitive evidence for persistent and logistically-organized lowland valley/foothills to mountain alpine tundra transhumant yearly migration cycles from the earliest Holocene through early historic times. The ebb and flow of mountain hunter-gatherer transhumance since the latest Pleistocene was found to have taken place without interruption and based on modest but continual technological advancements and behavioral change over time, well into the early historic period after which most Native American populations were forcibly removed from their traditional mountain lands. The projects’ modeling of long-term cultural change was highly interdisciplinary in nature, involving paleoclimate reconstruction, studies on the acquiring and movement of lithic artifact materials, trail routes taken during seasonal subsistence migrations, and the integration of religious practices in mountain-based cultural practices, the latter including construction and use of rock-built calendar features representing “change-of season” (solstice and equinox) rituals.

Poster Abstract:

This paper poster, titled “Pathways of Prehistory in the Colorado Rockies”, illustrates the substantial depth and breadth of archaeological evidence for eleven millennia of continuous hunter-gatherer seasonal transhumance in the U.S. Southern Rocky Mountains. Intensive interdisciplinary research over the past quarter century has not only documented thousands of years of annual lowland-highland hunter-gatherer migrations with abundant archaeological evidence of logistically-planned integration of upper montane base camps, tundra rock-wall game drives, and subsidiary game and plant processing areas. During the research, identification of late prehistoric and early historic Native American ritual sites and features, often situated near major trails, were functionally informed through consultations with western U.S. tribal elders, adding important religious dimensions to past Rocky Mountain cultural landscapes. Geographic and archaeological identification and computer mapping of Native American trail systems in the Central Colorado Rockies provided critical insight and understanding of the millennia-long evolutionary history of the region’s hunter-gatherer mountain adaptations.

ID: 137
Workshop & Poster
From Snow to Sand: Holocene Transitions in the Stubai Valley
Keywords: glaciers, permafrost, geomorphology, landuse, trails, mobility

Fischer, Andrea
IGF/ÖAW, Austria

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

The Austrian Stubai Valley starts way back at the ice-covered peaks of the main Alpine ridge and ends at the modern industrial monument of the Europa bridge of the A13, the lowest motorway crossing of the Alps. The glaciers released the area of today’s main villages during the Early Holocene, but weather and climate still are major macro-drivers of the valley’s economic development: Winter tourism and hydropower generation are influenced quite directly by snowfall and glacier melt. The steep slopes of the valley necessitate warning systems, technical barriers to prevent avalanches and mud flows, as well as land use planning. These are the most important strategies for coping with the omnipresent natural hazards, which have shaped the valley landscape for centuries.

The poster presents a broad overview of the Holocene and modern glacier development in the course of Holocene climate change, but also compiles a wealth of existing studies on past and present land use and geomorphological processes. The synopsis reveals that the effects of climate change and extreme events cannot be anticipated or discussed without a profound debate of cultural practices in the various societies, and that a story of transitions underlies the nearly continuous land use in the area during the last millennia.


ID: 149
Workshop & Poster
Farming, Herding, and Connectivity across Inner Asia's Mountains
Keywords: Silk Road, Central Asia, Nomadic Pastoralism

Frachetti, Michael
Washington University in St. Louis, United States of America

Workshop Abstract:

The past decade of archaeologicalresearch in Central and Inner Asia has revealed that high-altitude communities were at the heart of major transformations in economy and technology starting at least 5000 years ago. The formation of social connectivity across Central Asia's mountainous regions has been linked both to the pastoralist ecology and mobility patterns of Bronze Age herders, ultimately culminating in the routes of the well known "Silk Road". My discussion will expand our vantange point into neighboring highland regions where the interplay between productive economies (herding and farming) and social connectivity are only now emerging, to highlight the diversity of strategies and ecological factors that shaped routes and networks across Asia's high mountains in prehistory.


ID: 215
Workshop & Poster
Terminal Pleistocene Peopling of the Rocky Mountains, USA
Keywords: Rocky Mountains, Peopling New World, Paleoindian, Clovis Cache, Northeast Asia

Pitblado, Bonnie L.
University of Oklahoma, United States of America

Workshop Abstract:

For the first hundred years of American archaeology, few archaeologists viewed the Rocky Mountains as worthwhile places to search for evidence of prehistoric occupation of any age. Fewer still viewed the Rockies as a landscape that First Americans would have targeted for occupation in the Late Pleistocene. Both oversights stem from the cultural biases of 19th and early 20th century archaeologists (and laypeople), which conceptualized the Rocky Mountains as harsh places that had imperiled and sometimes even claimed the lives of westward-migrating Euro-Americans unfamiliar with them.

Recently, however, it has become clear that in sharp contrast to the bias-driven oversights of those early archaeologists, by at least 12,000 years ago, members of America’s First Nations had made themselves entirely at home on the landscapes of the Northern, Central and Southern Rockies. Moreover, those mountain regions appear to have played critical social as well as economic roles in the lives of their first human occupants. So why the chasm between First American and Euro-American archaeological perspectives of Rocky Mountain living?

The explanation lies in a second cultural bias that still colors archaeological thinking about the peopling of the New World: that First Americans hailed from the flat, tundra landscapes of northeastern Asia. As genetic and archaeological data show, only the latter part of that bias is accurate. First Americans did originate in northeastern Asia, but not in the windswept flatlands of Westerners’ stereotypes. Rather, for 45,000+ years, northeast Asians lived in and among the productive mountains that dominate the region. When Upper Paleolithic populations moved east and eventually encountered the American Cordillera, they saw a familiar, nurturing landscape that they embraced as home—as quickly as subsequent archaeologists rejected the very same landscape as non-viable for sustained human life.

Poster Abstract:

The Role of the Rocky Mountains in the Peopling of the Americas

The Rocky Mountains played a significantly more important role in the process of the peopling of the New World than archaeologists have traditionally recognized. Although First Americans clearly did not reach the inland Rockies before they set foot in any other New World region, evidence suggests that by Clovis time, ca. 12,000 years ago, people knew the Rocky Mountain landscape intimately.

We should have long anticipated this, given the many resources the Rocky Mountains offer that adjacent regions of the American West do not; at least not as ubiquitously. These include plentiful water; high-quality sources of obsidian, chert, quartzite and other knappable stone; and a vertically oriented landscape that maximizes floral and faunal diversity in condensed space.

Two non-economic characteristics also likely contributed to the appeal of the Rocky Mountains to First Americans: the power and sanctity nearly all humans attribute to mountains, and the fact that northeast Asian Upper Paleolithic people who populated the New World during the terminal Pleistocene occupied mountainous landscapes for 45,000+ years prior to their departure. For many First Americans, mountains—not the flat tundra of Westerners’ Siberian stereotypes—had always been home.

Evidence for the familiarity of Clovis groups with Rocky Mountain landscapes comes principally from three Clovis caches: Anzick, Fenn, and Mahaffy. All three occur in the Rockies; collectively contain artifacts made from ten of the highest-quality stone raw materials available there; and one accompanies the burial of a young child, interred intentionally on a prominent, perhaps sacred landform in a Rocky Mountain valley.

Compellingly, that same child’s genetic profile shows a direct link to that of another youngster buried thousands of years earlier at the Late Glacial Maximum Mal’ta site in the mountainous Trans-Baikal region of Siberia.

ID: 244
Workshop & Poster
From the Mediterranean to the alpine vegetation belt: the stepped exploitation of the vegetal landscape by the first agro-pastoralists (6000-2000 cal. BCE), in the Southern Alps
Keywords: north-western Mediterranean, Liguro-Provençal area, Holocene, Neolithic, charcoal analysis, pastoralism, anthropogenic disturbance, vegetal dynamic, landscape

BATTENTIER, Janet; Delhon, Claire
Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, CEPAM, France

Workshop Abstract:

In the Liguro-Provençal region (South-eastern France/North-western Italy), the emergence and the development of agro-pastoral subsistence economies, at the beginning of the VIth mill. BCE, led to changes in pre-existing forest cover and in interactions between societies and the landscapes they exploited. The spatial organisation of these groups and its evolution throughout the Neolithic raises the issue of the management of the territory and its vegetal resources by semi-nomadic pastoral societies. To document this point we propose a multidisciplinary and multi-scale approach, based on a comparison of the woody vegetation exploited at the site level (archaeobotanical perspective) with the regional vegetal landscape (palaeoenvironmental perspective). The archaeobotanical part of the study focused on the charcoal analysis of 6 well-documented archaeological sites that were occupied from the end of the Mesolithic to the late Neolithic (6500-2000 cal. BCE) and located from the Liguro-Provençal coast to the Southern Alps. In order to apprehend the vegetal dynamics at a regional scale for the same period, we re-examine 72 charcoal and pollen sequences from archaeological and natural contexts, ranging on a broad altitudinal gradient all around the Southern Alps. This examination and the comparison between the two sets of data permits to propose nuanced scenarios on landscape evolution, at the different vegetation belts. Through ecological investigation we propose new paleobotanical indicators of vegetal landscape exploitation in the high land. The temporality and the spatial modalities of stepped exploitation of the landscape, in particular those of the high land’s conquest, are addressed not only through palaeobotanical proxies but also by considering the archaeological evidences of mountain exploitation, mainly for mineral resources. Finally, taking into account the natural behaviour of sheep and goat, we propose that one of the main drivers of the mountain conquest was the pastoral exploitation of the vegetal resource, on a broad altitudinal gradient. 

ID: 314
Workshop & Poster
Mountain Paths and Trails: Identifying Past Paths and Their Social Roles on Mountain Landscapes
Keywords: archaeology, landscape archaeology, least cost path analysis

Dudley, Meghan
University of Oklahoma, United States of America

Workshop Abstract:

Anthropologically, we know that paths and trails across mountain landscapes play important social roles as well as being navigable routes between places. To know a path well enough to traverse mountain ranges safely means the traveler has some knowledge of the landscape itself and the places and features within it – knowledge that is often shared between members of the same culture through social memory and teaching. However, identifying these important landscape features archaeologically can be challenging, particularly for mobile populations who often leave behind a subtler archaeological record of chipped stone tools. Using a “From-Everywhere-to-Everywhere” least cost path analysis in ArcGIS and comparing those results to known site locations, I suggest that we can begin to identify paths across mountain landscapes and, from that, better understand the social roles that these paths played for people in the past.

Poster Abstract:

Identifying Past Mountain Paths: Modeling From-Everywhere-To-Everywhere Least Cost Paths in the Bridger Mountains, Montana, USA

Anthropologically, we know that paths and trails across mountain landscapes play important social roles as well as being navigable routes between places. To know a path well enough to traverse mountain ranges safely means the traveler has some knowledge of the landscape itself and the places and features within it – knowledge that is often shared between members of the same culture through social memory and teaching. However, identifying these important landscape features archaeologically can be challenging, particularly for mobile populations who often leave behind a subtler archaeological record of chipped stone tools. Using a “From-Everywhere-to-Everywhere” least cost path analysis in ArcGIS and comparing those results to known site locations, I suggest that we can begin to identify paths across mountain landscapes and provide a case study from the Bridger Mountains in Montana, USA demonstrating this approach.


ID: 337
Workshop & Poster
Connecting Material and Oral culture: Using archaeological finds to substantiate oral history of trade and migration over the Coast mountains
Keywords: oral history, migration, trade, lithic technologies

Herkes, Jennifer Rae1; Katzeek, David2; Grose, Derek1
Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Canada; 2Tlingit elder, Juneau Alaska

Workshop Abstract:

The modern Carcross/Tagish First Nation people are the descendants of Tagish and Inland Tlingit people who have lived in the southern Yukon, Canada for thousands of years. Oral history narrates the connections these inland people had with their neighbouring relations through trade, travel, and kinship. These stories are supported by a material culture that substantiates these histories. The Chilkoot and Chilkat trails, both located within the Carcross/Tagish traditional territory, are well documented travel routes that pass through the Coastal Mountains that separate the Pacific Ocean coast from the inland. Tlingit history tells of a great flood that separated families as people moved inland beyond the mountains to escape the rising waters. This presentation explores how a Coastal Tlingit story, Raven finds the Wolf People, about finding their inland relations and sharing lithic technologies is illuminated by the recovery of a ground stone point in the Yukon Ice Patches. The alpine ice patches in the Yukon have yielded numerous unique artifacts that tell a story about seasonal alpine hunting traditions; recent finds are also beginning to better illustrate the connections to the land through trade and travel. There is no previous record of ground stone technology in the interior Yukon. This artifact, along with others, are tangible confirmations of the oral histories of the people. A review of the story indicates the importance of trade, kinship, and travel in the dissemination of lithic technologies and an analysis of the artifact illustrates the uniqueness and importance of this particular item. Exploration of other unique artifacts found within the traditional territory of the Carcross/Tagish First Nation further supports the importance of trade. By combining the study of story with the study of artifacts, we are able to better understand the vast connections the people had to the land and their neighbours. 

Poster Abstract:

 The oral histories of the First Nations of the Yukon and northen BC Canada explain how the ancestors of the modern population migrated into the area, and how relationships were maintained through trade and kinship. Recent archaeological finds within Yukon serve to substantiate and support this histories. A review of these finds, and their uniqueness, as well as an analysis of migration stories will illustrate how material culture and oral culture can be considered together to provide a more rich and fulsome understanding of the past.

ID: 402
Workshop & Poster
Transalpine contact on a broad front - Neolithic routes across the middle Alps in the 6th-3rd millennium BC
Keywords: Neolithic, transalpine contacts, routes

Pechtl, Joachim1,2
kelten römer museum manching, Germany; 2Universität Innsbruck, Institut für Archäologien

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

Archaeological finds in the period between the 6th and the 3rd millennium BC show an increasing intensity of transalpine contacts across the middle Alpine region between northern Italy and Bavaria. On the one hand, this can be demonstrated by the mutual exchange of raw materials (such as flint) and finished products (such as pottery), on the other hand, this is demonstrated by clear tendencies towards cultural assimilation.

The clarification of the nature of these contacts as well as the path links are therefore important fields of research.

The quantities of goods exchanged seem to be rather low and there are no indications of a targeted, direct long distance exchange on a large scale. It seems more usual to have an exchange down the line in personal and with several intermediate stations. Thus, the active role of the inhabitants of the alpine area itself gains importance, even if knowledge about settlement at least in the north-alpine area and in the northern Alpine foothills is limited. 

The transport itself was certainly carried out predominantly on foot, whereby also appropriate technical aids are preserved (such as snowshoes and back carrier). The use of pack animals has not been proven and the use of wheeled vehicles on longer journeys can be excluded in any case.

There are no indications of a developed road network. Instead, finds from high-alpine passes as well as from numerous valley exits on the northern edge of the Alps prove the use of numerous routes. The traffic was not channeled to a few easily passable routes but took place on a broad front.


ID: 541
Workshop & Poster
Mobility patterns in the Karwendel Mountains during the Mesolithic and Neolithic

von Nicolai, Caroline
Ludwig-Maximilians-Univerisität München, Germany

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

Since 2015, I conduct a survey project in the Karwendel Mountains in order to gain insight into the prehistoric frequentation and use of this area, which is situated immediately north of Innsbruck along an important transalpine route from the Northern Alpine Foreland to the Central Alps and Northern Italy. The project includes field-walking surveys, geophysical analyses, excavations at interesting sites, and a pollen analysis. Since 2016, we excavate a campsite located at an altitude of 1800 m asl, that was used by hunters and gatherers during the Mesolithic and the Neolithic according to the finds and radiocarbon dates. The raw materials of the stone tools indicate that these people either maintained extended exchange networks, ranging from Bavaria to Northern Italy, or that they travelled themselves over these long distances. The project thus constitutes an excellent case study for the workshop 1.4.B “Mountain trails, trade routes & migration”.


ID: 596
Workshop & Poster
Early medieval migrations in the Eastern Italian Alps: anthropological, isotopic and ancient DNA analyses
Keywords: aDNA, multidiciplinarity, BioArchEM project

Coia, Valentina; Paladin, Alice; Cipollini, Giovanna; Wurst, Christina; Maixner, Frank; Zink, Albert
 EURAC Research

Workshop and Poster Abstract:

The decline of the Western Roman Empire, marked the beginning of the Middle Ages of European history (from ~400 AD to ~1000 AD). At this time, Germanic tribes, with different origins, settled in Europe by intense migration events. In Early medieval times (EMA), some of these groups, but also Slavs, reached the Eastern Italian Alps (south Tyrol) entering the territory in different parts (e.g. Franks and Baiuvars northwest; Longobards south; Slavs east). Historical and archaeological data indicate that contacts between local and allochthonous groups led to the mutual cultural exchanges. However, the genetic impact of EMA migrations on medieval Eastern Italian Alpine groups is still unknown.
In the context of the ongoing BioArchEM project, we are analyzing several (~120) Early Medieval individuals (dated from 400 to 1100 AD) recovered from 12 archaeological sites distributed in five main valleys of south Tyrol. We combine genomic, anthropological and isotopic data in order to answer to the following questions: i) are the ancient individuals coming from diverse valleys genetically differentiated? ii) if so, is it possible to relate these differences to the impact of migrants with different origin occurred during EMA? Further comparison with modern European populations can help to answer to this question iii) what are the genetic relationships between medieval alpine individuals and other medieval European samples?
In order to test the presence and the quality of ancient DNA, we molecularly screened around 70 samples (pars petrosa) by shotgun sequencing. Bioinformatic analyses of molecular data showed high percentage of human DNA reads (up to 76) and low contamination estimates. Complete mitochondrial genome sequences and haplogroups were reconstructed for around 50 individuals. Moreover, since isotopes analyses showed a good collagen preservation, stable isotope ratios (δ13C, δ15N and δ34S) were successfully determined in almost all individuals collected to date.


ID: 470
Specific Research Poster
People, Places, and Things: Identifying Socialized Landscapes in the Bridger Mountains, Montana, USA
Keywords: archaeology, landscape archaeology, hunter-gatherer archaeology

Dudley, Meghan
University of Oklahoma, United States of America

Poster Abstract:

Archaeologists working in mountains around the world have long recognized that people invest social meanings into the landscape around them. Based on the French philosopher de Certeau’s (1984) “Spatial Stories,” these “socialized landscapes” consist of two archaeologically identifiable components: espaces (practiced spaces) and tours (practiced paths). I operationalize these ideas by creating archaeological expectations for six socialized landscape types and ask what types of socialized landscapes can we identify from the archaeological record, particularly those left behind by mobile hunting and gathering people. I test my expectations with a pilot study in the Bridger Mountains, Montana, USA. By controlling for time using projectile point types found at sites throughout the mountains, I conduct a series of four analyses by time period to determine what types of espaces and tours past peoples created. I then compare those results against my archaeological expectations and landscape types. Although this study reveals areas of the methodology and analyses that can be improved in future studies, my research suggests that we can use this approach to understand past hunter-gatherer socialized landscapes both in the Rocky Mountains and worldwide.


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