M.A. Theses: Marc G. Stevenson, 2004

Looking For Gold: Historic Sites Survey of Kluane National Park, Southwest Yukon.

In the summer of 1978 a team of archaeologists from Parks Canada, Prairie Region, employing a combination of ground and aerial survey, conducted an inventory and assessment of sixty-six historic archaeological sites in Kluane National Park, Southwest Yukon. Most historic sites were found to be associated with placer gold mining activities ranging from the late 1890s up to the near present. This thesis presents the empirical findings, substantive results and theoretical contributions resulting from that survey.

The major objectives of this thesis sought to document a tentative culture history of historic period settlement within the Kluane area and to formulate and test hypotheses relevant to understanding formation processes of the cultural past and culture process in general. It was realized that historic sites archaeology with its expanded data base potentially offered control of a number of variables not usually managed in prehistoric archaeology.

A summary of historic land use and settlement within the Kluane area and descriptions of all archaeological sites and their important artifacts and features is followed by discussions concerning patterns of historic period settlement through time and space. The contradictory nature of archaeological and historical evidence pertaining to the Kluane gold rush - an important and significant event shaping land use during Kluane's recent past - is also discussed. From a theoretical and anthropological perspective, respectively, this thesis documents how differing abandonment processes affect the formation of the archaeological record and investigates the differences between the sourdoughs (oldtimers) and cheechakos (stampeders) - the two main socioeconomic groups known to have participated in the Klondike and Kluane gold rushes.