M.A. Theses: Farid Rahemtulla, 1995

An Analysis of Lithic Debitage from the Early Period at Namu

The focus of this thesis is on an analysis of lithic debitage from an Early Period (ca. 10,000 - 5,000 b.p.) component at Namu (ElSx 1), located on the central coast of British Columbia. The goals of this research are twofold; first to discern the types of reduction strategies as evident in the lithic debitage assemblage and second, to make some preliminary interpretations on the way in which the Namu inhabitants organized their technologies during the first five thousand years of occupation at this location.

The site of Namu exhibits a remarkable pre-contact occupation sequence which is roughly continuous, beginning at approximately 10,000 years ago and ending 400 years ago. A substantial portion of the site matrix consists of shell midden, which appears at about 6,000 b.p. The present lithic assemblage is derived largely from stratigraphic levels which predate the initial appearance of shellfish and other organic remains. This assemblage was recovered during the Simon Fraser University excavations at Namu in 1978.

Three analytical methods are used to determine lithic reduction strategies; Magne's (1985) flake scar method, Sullivan and Rozen's (1985) flake completeness method as modified by Prentiss and Romanski (1989), and Ahler's (1989a) mass analysis method. These methods yield mixed results due to various confounding factors which are discussed in the text. Nevertheless each of these analytical methods reveal informative patterning on reduction strategies, trampling, and size class frequencies.

Based on results of the analysis, a working hypothesis is developed which proposes that Namu was the location of a sedentary or semi-sedentary settlement as far back as the early Holocene. These findings indicate that the Early Period inhabitants of Namu practiced a low rate of residential mobility for at least some part of the year. This is evident in the raw material procurement strategy, diversity of lithic reduction at Namu, and the possible use of a designated "dump" area for lithic debitage. However, these interpretations are preliminary, and suggestions for future research are also discussed.