Ryan Breslawski

About me


Department of Anthropology at SMU
Curriculum vitae

I study the relationships between people and bison in North America’s past. My dissertation research explores spatial variability in Great Plains hunting economies during the arid Middle Holocene period (8000-5000 years ago). During this period, bison evolved from their Pleistocene ancestors into a form more closely resembling the animals we know today. Middle Holocene climates clearly had a dramatic impact on bison populations, but it remains unclear how this impact varied across the landscape and how peoples in the region responded to this period of change. I aim to document geographic variability in climatic impacts to bison populations spanning the Early to Middle Holocene and see whether human responses to these changes were responsible for broader changes in human subsistence patterns. 

This ongoing work is funded by the National Science Foundation. I also maintain research interests in bison hunting on Idaho’s Snake River Plain, zooarchaeological studies of seasonality, and the ongoing debate about a hypothesized extraterrestrial impact at the onset of the Younger Dryas climatic period. My work in these areas has appeared in American AntiquityJournal of Archaeological ScienceQuaternary Research, and other publications (see Curriculum Vitae for details).



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