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Title: Holocene cold storage practices on the eastern Snake River Plain: A risk-mitigation strategy for lean times

Previous archaeological research in southern Idaho has suggested that climate change over the past 8000 years was not dramatic enough to alter long-term subsistence practices in the region. However, recent isotopic analyses of bison remains from cold storage caves on the Snake River Plain contest this hypothesis. Our results, when examined against an archaeoclimate model, suggest that cold storage episodes coincided with drier, warmer phases that likely reduced forage and water, and thus limited the availability of bison on the open steppe. Within this context we build a risk model to illustrate how environment might have motivated cold storage behaviors. Caching bison in cold lava tubes would have mitigated both intra-annual and inter-annual food shortages under these conditions. This analysis also suggests that skeletal fat, more than meat, may have influenced the selection, transport and storage of bison carcass parts. We deciphered when and how cold storage caves which was used to provide a more comprehensive understanding of foraging behaviors in a broad range of hunting-gathering economies.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Utah State Univ., Logan, UT (United States). Dept. of Sociology, Social Work and Anthropology
  2. Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
  3. Southern Methodist Univ., Dallas, TX (United States). Dept. of Anthropology
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0278-4165; PII: S0278416516300459
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Anthropological Archaeology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 43; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0278-4165
Research Org:
Idaho National Lab. (INL), Idaho Falls, ID (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
60 APPLIED LIFE SCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; bison; cold storage; isotopes
OSTI Identifier: