Direct evidence for the use of geophytes in the archaeological record of prehistoric foragers is typically lacking, even though they were often an important resource. Cymopterus bulbosus (springparsley or biscuitroot) is a geophyte that grows in fairly dense patches in areas of high archaeological site densities in the Green River Basin of Wyoming. Analysis of the patch size and distribution, density within patches, root weight, nutritional content, total calories available from the patches, and caloric return rates provides clues to the sustainability of roots of this plant for the prehistoric foragers of the area. This study demonstrates that the large desert pavement patches adjacent to the archaeological sites had the potential to furnish sufficient calories to have been an important influence on prehistoric forager selection of camp locations. It also adds to the growing corpus of information on the economic context of root resources and their use by prehistoric foragers.
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