M.A. Theses: Leonard Charles Ham, 1976

Shuswap Settlement Patterns

An archaeological project at the confluence of the Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers in the Interior Plateau provided the data for an attempted reconstruction of prehistoric settlement patterns in the area. This thesis outlines the sampling design which was employed, describes and analyses the archaeological materials, and tests hypotheses concerning seasonal activity locations. This reconstruction is applicable only to the area at the confluence of the Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers and temporally to the Kamloops Phase or a local variant. It is available as a model for further hypothesis testing and verification.

The data were collected during May and June of 1974 from randomly selected 400 metre square quadrats. A stratified probability sampling design was used to ensure that each portion of the survey area had an equal opportunity of contributing data. Twelve quadrats were surveyed in Stratum A, the grassland portion of the survey area, 6 quadrats in Stratum B, the forested area. A total of 163 cache pit and 32 house pit features were mapped at 40 sites from which 449 artifacts and 3135 flakes were recovered. An additional 89 artifacts and 248 flakes recovered in 1972 were added to the above sample.

Artifact types are described and analyzed and, whenever possible, an attempt is made to infer functions with the aid of ethnographic analogy, artifact morphology and edge wear analysis. Multidimensional clustering and scaling is used to establish activity sets or tool kits, and to group sites at which similar activities occurred. Analysis of variance is employed to test the significance of variation in the distribution of artifacts.

The data supports the ethnographically reported settlement pattern. This consists of two main settlement types: winter pit house villages, located on the benches above the Fraser River; and summer river fishing camps. Both are multiple activity sites indicating prolonged occupation. Many limited activity food storage sites are located in the ravines between the river and benches where better preservation conditions are available. This settlement pattern suggests the intensive exploitation of resources from a limited area. However, excavated faunal remains may indicate that some hunting was carried out on the Fraser Plateau, while certain exotic items support the ethnographically reported trade with the neighbouring Chilcotin.