Vance Haynes and Paleoindian Geoarchaeology and Geochronology of the Great Plains

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5 Scopus citations


Geoarchaeological and geochronological research has been an intimate component of Paleoindian investigations on the Great Plains for more than 70 years. Current ideas on the geologic, chronologic, and environmental context of the Paleoindian occupation of the region are based on decades of research by many individuals, but no single investigator has been more directly involved and made more substantive contributions to this geoarchaeological research than Vance Haynes. He was the first and still remains one of the few geoscientists to systematically investigate the stratigraphy and geochronology of Paleoindian sites (and late Pleistocene and early Holocene settings in general) throughout the region. In particular, his work at the Hell Gap site, Wyoming, provided the first comprehensive Paleoindian geochronology for the Northern Great Plains, and his initial investigations at the Clovis site, New Mexico, resulted in the first well-dated Paleoindian chronology for the Southern Great Plains. More broadly, his study of the southwestern "alluvial chronology" (1968) is a classic study in regional late Quaternary stratigraphy and environmental reconstructions, a landmark in understanding semiarid alluvial systems, and a stratigraphic and geochronologic model specifically oriented toward geoarchaeology. More than 30 years later, the Paleoindian geoarchaeology and geochronology of the Great Plains that Vance worked out, though much refined (largely through his own efforts), still holds and is the basic framework within which we continue to work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-522
Number of pages12
JournalGeoarchaeology - An International Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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