Thesis Defences

MA Defence

Cameron Pollock

Friday, 19 October 2018 at 2:00pm
Bennett 2020 (Library Thesis Defence Room)

In Pursuit of the Quarry: Exploring Lithic Exchange on the Interior Plateau of British Columbia

This thesis undertook an exploratory provenance study to map the spatial distribution of lithics from the Arrowstone Hills lithic source across the British Columbia Plateau. Using X-Ray Fluorescence analysis, an elemental signature for this source was generated, against which lithic artifacts from archaeological sites located across the Plateau were compared. The Arrowstone Hills source was also compared to five other lithic sources from across the Plateau and Northwest Coast. It was determined that the Arrowstone Hills source is likely part of a
geological complex that includes at least three other lithic sources that have a similar elemental signature; this thesis has termed that group of sources the Kamloops Fine-Grained Volcaniccomplex. Furthermore, it was determined that lithics from this complex are ubiquitous across the Plateau, and were likely moved through Indigenous exchange networks. Cultural factors such as kin relationships, resource rights, and territorial sovereignty influenced how these networks operated.

Keywords: X-Ray Fluorescence; Fine-Grained Volcanics; Toolstone; Exchange; Canadian Plateau.

PhD Defence

Chris Springer

Wednesday, 26 September 2018 at 10:00am
Bennett 2020 (Library Thesis Defence Room)

Territory, Tenure, and Territoriality Among the Ancestral Coast Salish of SW British Columbia and NW Washington State

Archaeological studies of territory, tenure, and territoriality seek to understand how past claims and access to land and resources were expressed across landscapes and through time. The foci of such studies include the spatial and temporal patterning of settlements, dwellings, conspicuous burials, monumental constructions, rock art, defensive features, and resources. In line with this research, this dissertation integrates ethnohistoric and archaeological data in three case studies that investigate the roles of house forms, the distribution of local and nonlocal obsidian, and the positioning of defensive networks in communicating territorial and tenurial interests among the ancestral Coast Salish of southwestern British Columbia and northwestern Washington state.

To understand how territorial and tenurial claims were expressed among the ancestral Coast Salish, the three studies consider the significance of the ethnohistoric Coast Salish social structure defined by bilateral kinship, group exogamy, and wide-ranging social networks in the communication of group interests. The first study supports the extant hypothesis of a regional move into large multifamily houses circa 2300 cal. BP. I hypothesize that this move was, in part, a consequence of regional population increases and its attendant territoriality and was facilitated by the structured flexibility of Coast Salish society and a pre-existing modular architecture that both reflected and reinforced the social structure. The distributions of local and nonlocal obsidian across the Salish Sea region are used in the second study to investigate the potential directionality and reach of ancestral social networks. I argue that these networks, developed from the practice of group exogamy, enabled the expression of tenurial claims as part of ongoing practices associated with gaining, maintaining, and legitimizing access to distant resources. Finally, the interrelationship of social networks and defensive networks among the ancestral Northern Coast Salish-Tla’amin are examined. I propose that these linked networks maximized defensibility at settlement and allied settlement scales in a form of defensive territoriality that served to communicate territorial and tenurial interests during periods of conflict.

Keywords: Coast Salish; social networks; defensive networks; tenure; territoriality

MA Defence

Zoe Walder-Hoge

Tuesday, 4 September 2018 at 2:00pm
SWH 9152 (Seminar Room)

Adapting to Environmental Change: An ethnoarchaeological approach to traditional farming knowledge in Northern Ethiopia

Ethnoarchaeological research on traditional farming knowledge in Eastern Tigrai, Ethiopia can reveal adaptations that farmers employ in the face of environmental change, most notably from climate, soil erosion, and increasing demographic pressures, and the practice of fire ecology. Within an historical ecology framework, information from farmer consultants is integrated with an analysis of the archaeological and palaeoenvironmental literature to elucidate potential human-environment interactions in the development of the first complex societies in the Horn of Africa during the Pre-Aksumite and Aksumite (>800 BCE- CE 700) periods.  The drought and famine of 1984/5 had a significant impact on both the environmental and agricultural systems, and farmers stopped cultivating many crop varieties after this period.  A cycle of accumulating cultivated varieties and practices, and then environmental and societal events shifting the systems potentially for decades, perhaps was experienced by farming communities during the development of the Pre-Aksumite and Aksumite civilizations.