Early Paleoindian big-game hunting in North America: Provisioning or Politics?

John D. Speth, Khori Newlander, Andrew A. White, Ashley K. Lemke, Lars E. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We question several common elements of conventional descriptions of Early Paleoindian adaptations. Specifically, we examine the presumed scales of residential mobility, the role of high-quality lithics in these movements, and the extent to which First Americans hunted large game as a fundamental part of their food-getting activities. We compare the Early Paleoindian data to relevant information on hunting, mobility, and weaponry documented ethnohistorically and ethnographically. We then construct an alternative explanation for the Early Paleoindian record based on the premise that the hunting of large mammals, presumably by men, may have been motivated more by social and political factors than by the need to regularly and reliably provision a family or band with food. By proposing a plausible alternative explanation for the available data, we suggest that there is good reason to think critically about several of the basic components of the conventional view of Early Paleoindian adaptations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-139
Number of pages29
JournalQuaternary International
StatePublished - Feb 8 2013


  • NORTH America
  • PALEO-Indian hunting techniques
  • RESIDENTIAL mobility
  • STONE implements
  • BIOLOGICAL adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes


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