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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.