M.A. Theses: Andrea Weiser, 2006

Exploring 10,000 Years of Human History on Ebey's Prairie, Whidbey Island, Washington

Northwest Coast prairies contain a suite of resources not available in other ecosystems, making them a unique and sought after environment for animals and people. Archaeological research in Northwest Coast prairies is in its infancy but it is clear that an integrated approach, drawing on a number of disciplines, is needed to decipher human use of prairies in the past. I investigate the archaeological, archaeobotanical, and ethnographic record of Ebey's Prairie, located on central Whidbey Island in Washington State. My findings indicate that people used Ebey's Prairie throughout prehistory for a variety of activities over a broad time scale (~ 10,000 to 250 BP). Direct evidence of Camassia—one of the most important native plant foods in the Northwest, is one indication that indigenous people tended and maintained edible and useful plant resources on Ebey's Prairie for hundreds and perhaps thousands of years.