M.A. Theses: Ian Franck, 2000

An Archaeological Investigation of the Galene Lakes Area in the Skagit Range of the North Cascade Mountain, Skagit Valley Park, B.C.

This thesis is the product of two field seasons (1997 and 1998) spent in Skagit Valley Provincial Park in the vicinity of the Galene Lakes. The primary objective of the thesis was to determine the extent of precontact use of mountainous areas through an intensive survey of a relatively small area (~1000 ha). It hopes to dispel a general belief that such areas were marginal to cultures which are best known for their maritime and riverine oriented economic strategies. A second objective was to provide methodological suggestions for working in these difficult environments. The third and final objective was to formulate a land-use model for the precontact use of mountainous areas in order to provide insight to future researchers.

Background research indicates that site distribution and discovery in the study area is complicated by a shifting treeline correlated with changes in climate through time. Sites which were originally created in a subalpine parkland setting may now be obscured today by heavy subalpine tree cover; depending on the time period of the site this may even be reversed.

A total of eight new sites were identified during the survey. Site types represented include solitary flakes of Hozomeen Chert (DgRg 5 and DgRg 12), a lithic scatter (DgRg 11), a solitary projectile point midsection (DgRg 7), a quarry of Hozomeen Chert (DgRg 10), probably huckleberry processing trenches (DgRg 8 and DgRg 9), and an historic hunting camp (DgRg 6). Culturally modified trees are represented at Site DgRg 9 (berry trench site), and also at DgRg 6 (historic camp). Historic components are found at Sites DgRg 8 (berry trench site) and DgRg 11 (lithic scatter site).

The huckleberry processing trenches recorded during the survey represent the first such features recorded in Canada. Previously these have been documented only in south-central Washington State.

All sites recorded appear to be associated with a network of trails focussed around prominent ridgelines, not necessarily close to permanent water. This suggests that the people who used this area were highly mobile and familiar enough with the areas' resources to risk venturing away from life-sustaining water in order to perform tasks. The short working season in high elevation areas would have required a intimate knowledge of the resources available in order to extract them with the necessary haste.