Salish Archaeology in Western Washington
TUEs: MAR 6 / MAR 13 / MAR 20
10 AM to NOON
St. Luke's Education Center
3333 Squalicum Parkway
Everything in BLUE is an active link.
Brief course description: eMail the instructor
How do archaeologists identify and trace prehistoric cultures? The answer is fundamental for interpreting prehistoric remains. Around Puget Sound, traditional archaeological thinking tells us we have two sets of cultures, one living in the foothills and the other living on the shore. But the evidence from history, linguistics and ethnology suggests only one set of cultures, each occupying a bit of the shore and the adjacent hills and river valleys. How can we resolve these views? What does this mean for archaeology?
If you or someone you know have artifacts from the Pacific Northwest, bring them to class to find out what they are and what the mean.
Expanded Course Outline Return to Home PageSociety & Culture / Culture Area / Culture Depth
Anthropological Concepts of Society & Culture
Culture viewed as a series of domains, e.g.:
Social structure & organization
Economic structure & organization
The concept of the culture area
Northwest Coast Culture Area
The Plateau Culture Area
The concept of "cultural depth"
The case of the Salish and glattochronology
Culture / Style / Function
Function = physical/economic function
Style = intangible/social function
Historical cultures defined by style
Archaeological cultures defined by function + style
Differences reflect nature of available information
Display frequency vs survival frequency
Archaeology and Prehistory
Prehistory is the story we tell
Archaeology is how we unearth the story
Prehistory is the story of societies without writing
Prehistoric Societies / Prehistoric Cultures
Continuum of social/cultural complexity
Continuum of economic adaptations
Prehistoric societies largely invisible
Archaeology focuses on prehistoric cultures
What is a prehistoric culture?
Physical remains to work with ...
stone = most often preserved
original site structure
wood, fiber, plants
skin, integument = rarely preserved
Geographic distributions of ...
types of archaeological sites (settlement)
subsistence remains (economies)
artifacts (tools) & debris from tool making
So a prehistoric culture is a geographic association of ...
settlement, economic, burial & artifact patterns
A prehistoric culture may represent ...
a single society = least common outcome
a closely related group of societies, or
an entire culture area = most common outcome
Sometimes prehistoric cultures include societies that are
very different. Studying such cases can help us better
understand the prehistoric record.
Tool Form reflects Style and Function
The tool and its components
The process of compositization
Sorting out functional and stylistic attributes of tools
Tools as cultural markers
Examples using stone tools
The Problem in the Western Puget Sound Basin
Statement of the problem
Graphic comparison of a cultural marker: the arrowhead
The Geographic Stage
The Northwest Coast
Circum-Pacific conveyer belt
Western Intermontane Plateau
Interior corridors, rivers & passes
We will come back to this geography time and again.
Limitations / Scope of Comparisons
Archaeology's fragmentary puzzle
Geology & Site Preservation:
Basin, Foothills, Plateau compared
Raw material preservation compared for results of:
Displacement on faults & changes in sea level
Cycles of riverine erosion and deposition
Preservation of economic activities
evidence for hunting compared
evidence for fishing compared
Resource Diversity / Technological Specialization
Puget Sound and its shores
Differences among river basins
Fraser, Skagit, Snoqualmie, others comparred
Shore / Delta / East Foothills / West Foothills / Plateau
What Do the Comparisons Tell Us?
Hypotheses Consistent with the Observations
What We Need to Test the Hypotheses
Expect to see a few more additions and elaborations as the presentation is refined.
©2012 by Charles M. Nelson|
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