Southeastern Idaho Native American Prehistory and History

by E.S. Lohse

Taken from Manual for Archaeological Analysis: Field and Laboratory Analysis Procedures. Department of Anthropology Miscellaneous Paper No. 92-1 (revised). Idaho Museum of Natural History, Pocatello, Idaho 1993.

Figure 1. Map of Idaho region showing significant archaeological sites. Butler 1986:fig.1
Click on the map for a larger version.

Systematic archaeological research in southeastern Idaho began in 1958 with the advent of Earl Swanson's archaeological program at Idaho State University. At that time, highly stratified cave and rockshelter sites were selected for examination because they had potential for yielding a broad range of geological and biogeographical data essential for understanding human ecology on the Snake River Plain and in bordering upland regions. Other overriding concerns of this early work involved determining the antiquity of the Northern Shoshone in this area, clarifying the relationships between this region and the surrounding Great Basin, Plains, and Plateau cultural areas, and setting up a regional cultural sequence.

Swanson (1972) defined a series of local cultural phases marked by distinctive projectile point types, associations of faunal remains, and changes in natural deposition in stratified sites. Butler (1986) has grouped these phases into three broad cultural periods labeled Early Big Game Hunting, Archaic, and Late. This cultural sequence spans the last 14,000 years.



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