A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Much of the book is a guide to the different game of the American West. Frison devotes entire chapters to the bison, pronghorn, and sheep, explaining the animals' behavior and the prehistoric strategies used to procure them. He reviews important archaeological sites, including Hell Gap and Agate Basin, both in Wyoming, and talks about the techniques and weapons used by ancient hunters. These scholarly discourses are broken up by real-world hunting and nature stories. Frison writes like someone who would be equally comfortable chewing the fat around a campfire or lecturing in front of a room of undergrads.
Survival by Hunting is at its most illuminating when Frison shares his personal experiences; in a typical anecdote, the story of an old rancher's ram that could climb up and over the fence surrounding its pen suggests the difficulties ancient herders would have had corralling their own sheep. Stories like this make for a fun read, but they also provide a convincing argument for knowing how to apply knowledge about animals to the archaeological past.
David M. Ewalt is the founder and editor of www.droppingscience.com.
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