A Record of the Paleoindian Occupation of the Northwestern High Plains

University of Wyoming
Laramie, Wyoming


Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C.

With a New Prologue by

Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa

George Frison and Dennis Stanford’s Agate Basin monograph is not only a classic of Plains paleoindian archaeology, but also of multidisciplinary research, geoarchaeology, zooarchaeology, and experimental archaeology. Lucid presentation of meticulously excavated and analyzed sediments, bones, and artifacts convey an unmatched sense of the sights, sounds, and smells of Paleoindian life on the High Plains—from brutal winters and blistering summers, to killing and butchering bison, and to making lethal weaponry. As Matthew Hill writes in his new prologue, “Not merely an important volume of the Frison canon, Agate Basin stands as a foundational document in modern Americanist archaeology and a major accomplishment in American science.” Originally published by Academic Press in 1982.

Praise from readers . . .

“The Agate Basin Site has shaped our understanding of the early settlement of the Great Plains. Frison and Stanford set a standard for quality and readability that few archaeologists have matched. A landmark in synthetic research that brings together world-class research on lithic technology, faunal analysis, geoarchaeology, and paleoenvironmental studies.”
Matthew E. Hill, Jr., University of Iowa

“The Agate Basin site is a remarkable locality in Paleoindian archaeology with its multiple, stratified occupation zones representing the earliest settlement of the Great Plains. Frison and Stanford’s superb volume stands, appropriately, as a classic study in integrated zooarchaeology, geoarchaeology, and paleobotany in Paleoindian and Plains archaeology.”
Vance T. Holliday, University of Arizona

“The Agate Basin Site is an exemplary work on an important site. Matthew Hill’s prologue to this much-needed reissue nicely puts the work in context and explains why this book has earned the right to be on the bookshelf of every archaeologist interested in hunter-gatherers, vertebrate taphonomy, and environmental reconstruction. A classic that never goes out of style.”
David Meltzer, Southern Methodist University

“The Agate Basin site occupies an unremarkable landscape. But the rich Paleoindian archaeology along Moss Agate Arroyo described in this volume transforms this stretch of the High Plains into a landmark site of North American archaeology. Equally, this volume shows how Frison’s research program helped transform Paleoindian research.”
Lawrence Todd, Colorado State University

A volume in the series Foundations of Archaeology

ISBN 978-0-9898249-0-3/paperback/430 pp./illus./June 2014/$45.00