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Coastal British Columbia in the Light of North Pacific Maritime Adaptations

Roy L. Carlson
Arctic Anthropology
Vol. 35, No. 1, North Pacific and Bering Sea Maritime Societies: The Archaeology of Prehistoric and Early Historic Coastal Peoples (1998), pp. 23-35
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40316454
Page Count: 13
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Coastal British Columbia in the Light of North Pacific Maritime Adaptations
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Abstract

Recent archaeological research indicates that much of the Kroeber model of the development of Northwest Coast maritime adaptation as a river to river-mouth to open sea sequence does not fit the data very well. Maritime adaptation based on the extensive use of marine resources was early and rapid on the northern Northwest Coast, rather than a gradual adaptation by peoples moving from the interior to the protected island environment at the mouth of the Fraser River. Comparative artifact typology indicates that the earliest known coastal cultures north of the Strait of Juan de Fuca were more similar in lithic technology to central Alaskan hunting/fishing cultures of the same time period and earlier than to cultures of the adjacent continental interior such as Clovis and its derivatives. Comparative artifact typology, site geography, and early dates at Namu indicate that the peoples there at 9700 BP were part of the same early maritime adaptation evident from the carbon isotope analyses at On-Your-Knees Cave just to the north in Alaska. The actual time of the beginning of the intensive use of salmon, including preservation and storage, is unknown, although it was probably 7000 BP or earlier. The Namu zooarchaeological data indicating intensive salmon use, the data from Glenrose emphasizing cervids, and the sea mammal hunting emphasis at Bear Cove, all at about the same period of 5000-6000 BP, suggests that the settlement pattern of permanent winter villages with preservation and storage of salmon and seasonal resource extraction sites was well established by this time. The lower Fraser-Strait of Georgia region of southwestern British Columbia is an early area of cultural climax. Sociocultural complexity is evident there by 3600 BP with the appearance of many aspects of the ethnographic pattern.

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