M.A. Theses: Richard William Blacklaws, 1979

Excavations at Esquimalt Lagoon: A Contribution to Straits Salish Prehistory

This thesis provides an examination and description of prehistoric cultural materials from the Esquimalt Lagoon site (DcRu2) on southern Vancouver Island, and relates these materials to problems inherent in the methodology known as the direct historic approach, and to problems of assemblage variability. Analysis of the excavation data resulted in the isolation of two discrete, temporally sequent cultural components. Comparison with other archaeological assemblages indicated that the earlier component belongs to the Marpole phase (500 BC–500 AD) and the younger to the San Juan phase. A singe C-14 date (WSU 1949, 150±90 bp) supported the San Juan placement. The direct historic approach is evaluated and is then employed in determining the relationship between late prehistoric San Juan phase assemblages, and the culture of the Coast Salish Indians who occupied this region in the historic period. A quantitative measure of similarity was calculated, which produced a set of similarity measures. These results were then tested against a set of results generated from specific ethnographic models. The validity of these ethnographic models in explaining assemblage variability within southern Northwest Coast archaeological sites is then evaluated.