Research Goals

The research goals of the JHAI are multi-disciplinary and diverse. The primary goal of the initiative is to further our knowledge of the prehistory in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. This will be accomplished through archaeological surveys, excavations, and specialized analyses (eg. Paleoenvironmental studies, soil chemistry, residue analysis). We also seek to form new relationships and continue collaborations with like minded organizations and researchers in Wyoming, the United States, and abroad.

While our research is diverse in subject and geography, general research themes include:


– Develop a chronology and paradigm for the prehistoric utilization of high altitudes in the GYE

-Understand the context of the Numic spread/ Shoshone origins in relation to the GYE and its resources

– Develop a regional model for subsistence and movement of prehistoric people throughout the GYE and surrounding regions

– Understand how the surrounding geo-cultural zones (Plains, Plateau, Great Basin, Intermountain) influence archaeology within the GYE


Paleoeconomics and Subsistence:

-Understand prehistoric utilizations of high-altitude landscapes in regards to economics, subsistence, topography, and climate change

-Explore the importance of Whitebark Pine to prehistoric people in the GYE

Mountains as an Archaeological Landscape:

-Contrast and compare hunter-gatherer lifestyles in the GYE to other mountainous regions in North America and abroad

-Fit the results of high-altitude archaeological research into existing or new oral histories and ethnographic frameworks

-Conduct paleoenvironmental reconstructions of high-altitude environments in the GYE, specifically looking for changes that affected people and potentially, changes in the ecology/environment inflected by prehistoric people.