By David Madsen
The prehistoric societies of the western Colorado Plateau and the eastern Great Basin can be characterized by variation and diversity; they are neither readily defined nor easily encapsulated within a single description.
Some people were primarily settled farmers, growing corn, beans, and squash in small plots along streams at the base of mountain ranges; some were nomads, collecting wild plants and animals to support themselves; still others would shift between these lifestyles. In some areas the population was relatively dense; in other places only small groups were found widely scattered across the landscape. People living in this region may even have spoken different languages or had widely divergent dialects.
Yet, despite the diversity of these lifestyles and the varied geography which helped structure their actions, these people seem to have shared patterns of behavior and ways of living that tie them together.