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Salish Archaeology in Western Washington
A mystery to ponder

Charles Nelson
Spring Semester, 2012
Academy for Life Long Learning

Three two-hour sessions:

TUEs: MAR 6 / MAR 13 / MAR 20
10 AM to NOON
St. Luke's Education Center
3333 Squalicum Parkway

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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.

MENU    . = recently added material.

 LAST UPDATE: 02-01-2012
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Geographic Setting    •Expanded•
The geographic context of Salish prehistory.

Littoral Technology    •Expanded•
Subsistance tool kits found at coastal and deltaic archaeological sites.

Wikipedia on Archaeological Cultures
  This common definition is based on early civilizations, from the late Neolithic to the rise of Empires and a bit different from the one we will use.   •New•

Salish Villages of Puget Sound

Archaeology of the West Point Site.
  The classic story of an important site situated in Seattle on the shore of Puget Sound. Interactive video and database courtesy of the Burke Museum.   •New•

Coast Salish Languages.   •New•
  A good gateway to material on this topic.

Julie Stein's Archaeological Projects page.
  Julie Stein is the director of the Burke Museum and has done much very inter- eating work.   •New•

Hoko River Site Digital Archive.
  An wonderful resource for an important site.   •New•


View expanded course outline   Download as PDF

SHORT COURSE OUTLINE (major topic headings only)

Society & Culture / Culture Area / Culture Depth
Culture / Style / Function
Archaeology and Prehistory
Prehistoric Societies / Prehistoric Cultures
What is a prehistoric culture?
Tool Form reflects Style and Function
The Problem in the Western Puget Sound Basin
The Geographic Stage
Limitations / Scope of Comparisons Resource Diversity / Technological Specialization
Systematic Comparisons
   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
All rights reserved.