Free «Society for American Archaeology» Essay Sample

Different workers have defined the Plains area in various ways basing on whether it is a geographical region or a cultural region.  Wedel (1961:5) asserts that the present discussion takes a much narrower approach of the region focusing on short grass plains or steppe commonly found in the Northern and Southern parts of Kroeber, the Rockies, and the Prairie areas of the east. Studies made in the 16th and 19th Centuries indicate the colorful living of the native communities that lived in the Plains area. They were ready to defend their traditional homelands and hunting grounds hence calling for the attention of all those who were exposed to them. Significant archeological studies of the Plains area were witnessed after the introduction of WPA, a relief program in 1937. Archeological studies of the Plains further expanded after World War II hence trying to establish more relationships between different aspects in the region. The Lithic period, the Ceramic period, and Historical period played a significant role in promoting the work of archeologists in trying to seek a general classification of their studies. Most archeologists wanted to establish the different happenings of the Plains region in a chronological manner to boost the understandability of individuals.

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The river basin salvage program, which has been in place since 1946, has made tremendous progress for large-scale archeological studies of the Plains region compared to the relief programs in the 1930s. In line with the river salvage program, it has been difficult to link the historic tribal groups of the Plains with the older remains found in the area. More so, there has been immense scrutiny in the investigation of the relationship between the natural environment and the distribution and the ways of life man in the Plains region. Archaeological studies reveal that the movement and settlement of people into the Plains was underway as at least as early as ten thousand or twelve thousand years ago. Some individuals perceive this estimate as ultra conservative and inaccurate in some way.  According to Wedel (1961:4), the Northwestern Plains have always remained significant regions for subsistence food collecting through hunting and gathering. In the past 25 years, the archaeology of the Plains has significantly grown from a modestly supported pastime involving non-professionals to a serious field of study. More professions have continued expressing interest in conducting thorough and extensive studies of the Plains. Many gaps still exist in the studies, but there is hope for better and thorough studies of the Plains in the future. 

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