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The West Coast


The West Coast Southern California Coast Hunter-gatherer societies Long-distant exchange networks Distinctive shell bead forms used to reconstruct cultural chronology ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The West Coast

The West Coast
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Glacial Environment
  • Cordilleran glaciation
  • Glacial melt released water into oceans
  • Sea level changes

Environment and Climate
  • Major River Systems
  • Balsas River
  • Colorado
  • Columbia
  • Fraser
  • Fuerte River
  • Lerma River
  • Sacramento
  • San Joaquin
  • Suchiate River
  • Yukon

Flora and Fauna
  • Forested landscape stretches from Alaska to
    California (spruce, cedar, hemlock, douglas fur)
  • Food plants includes several types of seed and
    fruit bearing plants

  • Resources utilized in seasonal rounds

  • Saltwater fish available included halibut,
    herring, smelt, cod
  • Anadromous fish 5 species of salmon, trout,
    eulachon, sturgeon, lamprey
  • Sea mammals seals, sea lions, porpoises,
    dolphins, sea otters, whales
  • Invertebrates mussels, scallops, oysters,
    abalone, limpets, cockles, clams, crabs, sea
  • Terrestrial mammals deer, elk, sheep, mtn. goat,
    bears, lynx, marmots, wolves
  • Birds were also exploited including large birds
    of prey and smaller varieties

Cultural Chronology
-Northwest coast, Southwest coast and the
  • Predating 5500 B.P. (3500 B.C.)
  • Early Period 5500 to 3800 B.P. (3500 to 1800
  • Middle Period 3800 to 1500 B.P. (1800 B.C to 500
  • Late Period 1500 B.P. to present (500 to 1700 A.D)

-Northwest coast, Interior, California (North and
Sites predating 3500 B.C.
  • Initial occupation of the North West Coast occurs
    in Alaska
  • On the coast heavy subsistence on marine life,
    in the interior foraging and hunting
  • Northwest coast culture (micro-blade technology)
  • Southwest coast culture (bifacially flaked
    bipointed projectile point)
  • Northwest interior
  • Sites
  • On-your-knees Cave Site Southeast Alaska, 9300
  • -human remains
  • Namu Site Central British Columbian coast, 9770
  • -heavy subsistence on salmon

Early Period 5500 to 3800 B.P. (3500 to 1800
  • (1) Increasing cultural regionalism
  • (2) rapid intensification of shellfish collection
    (occurs around 8000 B.P. and intensifies around
    5000 B.P.) with increase in midden size
  • (3) large-scale fishing appears with specialized
    technology (e.g., fish weirs)
  • (4) much larger populations reflected in
    increasing food production in general
  • (5) improving storage technology
  • (6) more specialized woodworking tools (chisels
    by 3500 B.P., mauls and pile drivers by 2500
  • (7) villages (seasonal pattern of summer/winter

Early West Coast regional classifications
  • North Coast - Prince Rupert/Skeena River - Prince
    Rupert III/Haqwilget A, Gitaus VI, and Skeena
  • Queen Charlotte Islands - Transitional complex
    and Graham tradition
  • North-Central Coast - Namu II and III, McNaughton
    I, and Cathedral phase
  • South-Central Coast - Bear Cove II and O'Conner
  • West Coast of Vancouver Island - Early and part
    of Middle Yuquot, Shoemaker Bay I
  • Georgian Strait and Lower Fraser - Maurer,
    St.Mungo phase and the early portion of the
    Locarno Beach phase
  • Gulf and San Juan Islands - Mayne phase, and the
    early portion of the Locarno Beach phase
  • Fraser Canyon - Eayem and early Baldwin phases
    (Carlson 1983 Figure 12).

The Interior
  • wedge-shaped and tabular-shaped cores, burins of
    a number of varieties with the notched transverse
    burin being most distinctive, lanceolate points,
    a range of scraper and biface knife varieties,
    gravers, drills, net-sinkers and some other minor
  • The most common tools were simple expedient flake

Early Northwest Interior Points
North-East Basket Forms
Northern California Early Archaic (8000-3500
Southern California Early Period 8000-3000
B.P. (6000-1000 BC).
  • Ex (Glassow, 8000 -6455 B.P.)
  • Ey (Wilcoxin, 6455-435 B.P.)
  • Ez (Erlandson, 4350- 3350 B.P.)
  • Little contact with neighboring cultural areas
  • Shell fish collection
  • Hunting and gathering

Southern California Early Period 8000-3000 B.P.
(6000-1000 BC).
  • Channel Islands and the Santa Barbara Channel
  • Semi-terranian pithouses (offshore islands)
  • Metates and manos (importance of plant foods)
  • Some red ochre sprinkled graves
  • Mortars and pestles (Ey and Ez)
  • -Acorn and nuts
  • Land and sea mammal hunting increases
  • Settlement patterns depended on seasonal hunting
    and foraging
  • Intensification of maze exploitation (around 3500

Middle Period 3800 to 1500 B.P. (1800 B.C to 500
  • Traits and trends include
  • (1) after AD 450) large plank houses and fine
  • (2) highly sophisticated baskets
  • (3) greater cultural homogeneity throughout the
    Northwest Coast
  • (4) widespread trade (e.g., obsidian)
  • (5) signs of social ranking and societal
    complexity by 1000 BC (e.g., stone labrets,
    cranial deformation costly and exotic grave
    goods after 500 BC) slavery increased conflict
    with neighboring groups large surpluses
    accumulated and redistributed by chiefs
    beginnings of potlatches.
  • (6) heightened ceremonialism

Middle West Coast regional
  • The southern coast, and specifically the Strait
    of Georgia Locarno Beach and Marpole complexes
    (sculpture in hard stone, ear spools, brow bands,
    large water crafts, large communal plank houses,
    head deformation and burial mounds )
  • The outer coasts of Vancouver Island and the
    Olympic Peninsula of adjacent Washington State
    the Yuquot Zone II complex
  • The central coast Namu III and IV
  • The northern coast Prince Rupert II
  • The Queen Charlotte Islands the Graham tradition
  • The Baldwin and Kleanza complexes of the lower
    Fraser and Skeena rivers, respectively, represent
    interior but still coastally related developments
  • The Interior Taye Lake and Taltheilei complexes
    (Caribou and fresh water fish)

Middle Period 3800 to 1500 B.P. (1800 B.C to 500
  • Salmon was the most important single food
  • Broadly based subsistence pattern that would have
    been supplemented by trade in various food stuffs
  • Large coastal shell midden sites (winter)
  • Evidence of warfare appears in the form of clubs,
    daggers, trophy skulls, and skeletal trauma
  • Personal guardian spirit and shamanic belief
  • -elaborated mortuary traits (large numbers of
    shell and stone beads, cairn burial and mounds)
  • -wealth objects obsidian, marine shell beads
    and pendants, nephrite adzes, and native copper
  • -infant burials (wealthy lineages and families)

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  • The processes involved in the formation of a
    class structure composed of powerful family
    lineages, commoners, and slaves, with status
    confirmation ceremonies, such as the potlatch
  • A ritual means of enhancing and reinforcing
    rights and privileges

Late Period1500 B.P. to 16th century (500 to
1700 A.D)
  • Complex hunters and gatherers
  • Semi to fully sedentary (ownership to land)
  • Complex social organization
  • House-hold based societies (up to 100
  • Broadly based subsistence pattern that would have
    been supplemented by trade in various food stuffs
  • Specialists (canoe makers, woodworkers, shamans,
    basket makers..)
  • Leadership by shamans, kins and those with
    exceptional abilities
  • Social stratification (chiefly elite, commoners
    and slaves)
  • Whaling becomes very important

  • Large sedentary villages with planked houses of
    20 to 60 individuals
  • Fortified settlements
  • Large populations led to exploitation of most
    abundant resources (competition for resources
    leads to control by elite)
  • Stable till European arrival

Trench from Victoria area
  • Vancouver Island to California
  • High population density leads to reliance on food
  • Intense manipulation of environment
  • Rectangular plank houses replaces
    semi-subterranean houses (3100 B.P.)
  • Social networks connected groups (trade in food
    stuffs and exotic goods)
  • Hoko River Site (Washington)
  • Fishing Camp site
  • Makah culture
  • The wet site dates between 3000 and 2600 B.P.
    while the dry site had two components, one dating
    2900-2600 B.P., and a second, poorly understood
    one, dating to c. 1700 B.P.
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Historical groups
  • 19th century ethnographers describe great
    diversity among North West coastal groups after
    European arrival
  • Poor preservation of coastal sites
  • Northern Coast Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian
  • Central and Southern Coast Locarno, Marpole and
  • Nuu-chah-nuth (Nootka) culture related to the
    Makah at Ozette and Hoko River

Totem Poles
  • House beams
  • House frontal poles
  • Memorial poles
  • Mortuary poles
  • Potlach figures
  • Welcome figures

Interior Plateau
  • From coast Mtns to Rocky Mtns, Fraser River to
    south of the Columbia and Snake Rivers
  • More arid than coast, with greater temperature
    extremes from winter to summer

Interior Plateau
  • Clovis points found near Snake River, Ft. John
    B.C. and Wenatchee Washington
  • Windust Phase Lower Snake Indian River, 12,600
    to 9100 B.P.
  • -small scale foragers
  • -highly mobile
  • -large number of milling stones at Windust site
  • -Hatenai site
  • -Leaf shaped projectile points
  • Cascade Phase Snake River, 9100 to 6300 B.P.
  • -Pit houses appear 6300 B.P.
  • -Small nomadic groups foraging over large areas
    in major drainages
  • -Semi-subterranean houses appear and fishing
    increases after 5000 B.P.
  • -Salmon runs important after 3500 B.P.
  • Harder Phase 2500 to 1000 B.P.
  • -People lived in earthlodge villages

Interior Plateau
  • Narrows on Rivers that was a very productive
    salmon fishery for thousands of years (Keatley
    Creek Site, Fraser River)
  • Fraser River Sites also show an abundance of
  • Number of pit houses increase dramatically over
  • Salmon dried and stored in bark-lined pits
  • Vast amounts of wild onions, balsam root and
    tubers in roasting pits
  • Bow and arrow technology by 2500 B.P.
  • Complex trade networks
  • Wooden masks show rank and status
  • Trade sites (Dalles Site , Columbia River)

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The California Coast
  • Biophysical and cultural diversity
  • Later cultures had intensive and specialized
    hunting, gathering and fishing activities
  • Dried fish and acorn stores vitally important
  • Shellfish played major role in San Francisco Bay
  • Santa Barbra Channel area exploited mollusks, sea
    mammals and shallow water sea fish
  • Elaborate technology, art and social organization
  • Trade and resource distribution networks

Northern California
  • Reconstruction of culture history based on
    language distributions
  • Before 6000 B.P. almost all of California
  • Shell middens
  • Dense settlements in Bay area
  • North coast isolated and mountainous
  • Local chiefdoms and territories, often within a
    local river drainage area
  • -each with a principle settlement, ceremonial
    center and sever outlying seasonal camps
  • Gunther Pattern (2150 B.P. to historic period)
  • -Gunther Island in Humboldt Bay area
  • -Strong influences from Northwest Coast
  • -Gunther barbed point
  • -heavy reliance on seasonal salmon runs and
    marine resources
  • -Seasonal acorn harvesting
  • Augustine Pattern (1700 B.P.)
  • -Central California
  • -Intensification of hunting, fishing and

San Francisco Bay and the Central Coast
  • Widespread, but scattered, populations of
  • Coastal resources less important
  • Windmiller Pattern (around 4500 B.P.)
  • -Sacramento Delta region
  • -Economy focused on hunting of deer, pronghorn,
  • rabbits and waterfowl
  • -Some fishing and gathering
  • -Burials covered on red Ochre and facing west
  • Berkeley Pattern (4000 to 1700 B.P.)
  • -Adapted to estuaries, bays and marshes
  • -Hunted fish, shellfish, waterfowl and some
    large game
  • -Large sites with dense populations
  • -Kin leaders and non-egalitarian political
  • Augustine Pattern (1700 B.P. to historical
  • -New technologies and customs (bow and arrow,
    harpoons, tubular tobacco pipes and burning
    artifacts before placing within burials)
  • -Subsistence of small prey and acorn harvests

Southern California Coast
  • Hunter-gatherer societies
  • Long-distant exchange networks
  • Distinctive shell bead forms used to reconstruct
    cultural chronology
  • Early Period (8000 to 3000 B.P.)
  • -Santa Barbara Channel and other parts of
    California coast
  • Middle Period (3000 to 700 B.P.)
  • -Beads and ornamental artifacts serve as status
    markers in society
  • -Seals, porpoises, dolphins, whales, swordfish
    and shark bones now appear in coastal middens.
    Along with shellfish
  • -More sophisticated deepwater crafts (planked
  • Late Period (700 B.P. to 1804)
  • -Hokan-speaking Chumash people
  • -Intense marine life exploitation
  • -Expert fishermen
  • -Double-ended long paddles for planked canoes
  • -Dome-shaped dwellings on a pole frame
  • -Settlements contained sweat lodges and
  • -each village ruled by hereditary chief
  • -Intricate petroglyphs and pictographs
  • -Intricate trade with other regions

The West Coast