Paleo-Indian and Archaic
The Great Basin region has been occupied for over 12,000 years. The first cultural group to occupy the area was what archeologists call the Paleo-Indians. They were in this area from about 12,000 to 9,000 years ago. They are considered to have been big game hunters; their prey were animals such as bison and the extinct mammoth and ground-sloth. They did not have permanent houses because they were following animal herds. Their hunting tools were large fluted or unfluted projectile points lashed to the tip of a spear.
The Great Basin Desert Archaic was the next cultural group to occupy this region. They were here from about 9,000 to 1,500 years ago. These groups of people are considered hunter-gatherers that followed game animals such as the Mule deer and antelope. They also gathered wild plants such as onions, Great Basin wild rye and pinyon pine nuts. These cultural groups used grinding stones to process plant seeds. They also made baskets, mats, hats, and sandals from plant fibers and used animal hides to make their cloth, blankets and mocassins. Marine shell beads are also associated with this cultural period, indicating trade with coastal peoples. Spears were still used for hunting large game, but the projectile points were smaller and what archeologists call stemmed, side-notched, and corner-notched points.