M.A. Theses: Shauna Ann Grace Huculak, 2004

Middle Period Hunter-Gatherers of the Thompson River Drainage, British Columbia: A Critical Review

Over the past two decades the majority of archaeological research in the Canadian Plateau of British Columbia has been conducted under the auspices of Cultural Resource Management (CRM). The findings of CRM research are presented in unpublished reports submitted to the Provincial Archaeology Branch. These projects provide valuable information on site distribution, archaeological assemblage composition, and environmental setting, all of which can contribute to our overall understanding of the archaeological record. Unfortunately, much of the information remains in the so-called "grey literature" of contract archaeology and seldom receives the attention it deserves.

In this thesis I examine carefully published and unpublished texts to summarize and discuss what is now known about the Middle Period (ca. 7,500-3,500 BP) for the Thompson River Drainage, British Columbia. My goal is to make information about it, and about how we know what we know of it, more accessible. Subsistence, mobility, land use, artifact typologies, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, and culture history are the key themes discussed in relation to interpretations of the Middle Period archaeological record that have been presented in published culture-historical models over the past four decades. Following this review, I describe 17 Middle Period archaeological sites identified in my review of 128 unpublished reports prepared by cultural resource managers and academic archaeologists.

Tracing the historical development of the Middle Period indicates that this concept has changed over time as more research in the region has occurred. My research indicates that known Middle Period archaeological sites in the Thompson River Drainage are concentrated in river valley and terrace environments and that this likely reflects the demands of modern development in that the majority of CRM archaeological research conducted in the region has occurred in these environmental settings. In addition, I note that diagnostic point types proposed for the Mid-Fraser Thompson River Drainage area do not always correlate with points and dates from sites presented in this study. To conclude, the primary factors influencing our understanding of the Middle Period are sampling strategies that affect the construction of the archaeological record and the theoretical frameworks employed for its interpretation.