PhD Dissertations: Shawn D. Haley, 1987

The Pasika Complex Cobble Reduction Strategies on the NWC

This study is concerned with the early Pebble Tool Tradition on the Northwest Coast as represented by artifactual material from two sites n the Fraser River Valley. These sites, South Yale and Union Bar, contain artifact assemblages dominated by cobble core and flake tools; such Pasika assemblages have been the centre of a controversy that has plagued Northwest Coast archaeologists for the past twenty-five years. In an effort to understand the phenomenon and possibly resolve the controversy, two hypotheses are presented and tested.

Hypothesis One that the Pasika assemblages represented the remains of a late Pleistocene pebble tool industry predating any known cultural complex in southwestern British Columbia was extensively tested and ultimately rejected. Hypothesis Two that the Pasika assemblages re the remains of a specialized technological adaptation developed to take advantage of an abundant lithic material form, the cobble, was also tested. However, unlike Hypothesis One, Hypothesis Two was accepted for both the South Yale and Union Bar sites. A survey of the literature on similar sites further supports the second hypothesis and radiocarbon dates place the Pasika Complex into a 6,000 to 3,000 years B.P. time frame rather than the initially proposed 12,000 to 9,000 years B.P. time frame.

Finally, it is clear that on the basis of current evidence, the early Pebble Tool Tradition, a late Pleistocene pebble tool industry was not present on the Northwest Coast 9,000 to 12,000 years ago. Rather, a more recent cobble reduction strategy, only part of a larger technosphere, emerges as a more likely interpretation for the Pasika assemblages.