Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Barbara Roth

Second Committee Member

Levent Atici

Third Committee Member

Alan Simmons

Fourth Committee Member

Brenda Buck

Number of Pages



The Piute Valley of Southern Nevada is an incredibly diverse but arid zone in the eastern portion of the Mojave Desert. Most of this diversity can be attributed to the elevation shifts ranging from the Colorado River basin to the peaks of the surrounding mountain ranges. These peaks and valleys provide a multitude of resource zones in which prehistoric hunter-gatherers could provision themselves throughout the year. For this thesis I have used archaeological survey, paleo-climate models, life-sciences data and ethnographic research to perform an in-depth land use analysis of prehistoric forager adaptations to this challenging but life-sustaining environment.

Recent investigations completed by the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) and the Public Lands Institute (PLI) have provided an abundance of data concerning prehistoric life-ways in this region. Using this research, available literature, and data in respect to the Piute Valley I have tested a model based on general foraging theory for Great Basin populations developed by Roth et al (2006). This model individually analyzed archaeological sites over a vast area based on settlement patterns, resource availability, and climate change throughout the Holocene. I have used Geographical Information Systems (ArcGIS) to synthesize the data and gain a holistic understanding of the land use patterns exhibited in the Piute Valley.


Arid Environment; Arid regions; Climate Change; Climatic change; Foragers; GIS; Holocene Geologic Period; Hunting and gathering societies; Land use; Landscape Archaeology; Nevada – Piute Valley; Paleo-Indians; Prehistoric


Anthropology | Archaeological Anthropology | Desert Ecology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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