Written by Ralph Burrillo, SWCA archaeologist, and published in The SAA Archaeological Record, Vol. 17 No. 5
Bears Ears National Monument encompasses just over 1.3 million acres in southeastern Utah. While its boundary will almost always be contested or controversial, it is also arbitrary. Decades of research in the Bears Ears area has revealed a mosaic of human prehistory that includes populations articulating differently with different landforms depending upon time, ecology, and climate. Using the classic Pecos culture-period sequence as a platform for framing the archaeology of Bears Ears, settlement and subsistence patterns appear to interdigitate between subregions in a contiguous and continuous manner right up until the final depopulation of the area by about AD 1275. The latest developments in Bears Ears archaeology foretell a future where history will once again be made in terms of dissolving the ever-shrinking gap between Western scientific archaeologists and local indigenous communities
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