It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times: Mobility and Subsistence in a Tale of Two Sites in the Smith River Basin of Northwestern California

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

This symposium will present information from several sites that have been investigated in recent years in the Smith River Basin of northwestern California, an area in which little archaeological work has been done in recent decades. Red Elderberry Place (CA-DNO-26), a habitation site in Jedidiah Smith State Park on a low terrace above the main branch of the Smith River, contains evidence of multiple occupations spanning the Early Holocene (ca. 9000 -7000 B.P.) to the late 19th Century Tolowa, including plank houses dating to several of these occupations. Approximately 25 river kilometers upstream from Red Elderberry Place, excavation at the Hurdy Gurdy Bridge site (CA-DNO-1028) at the confluence of Hurdygurdy Creek and the South Fork that contained evidence of intermittent occupation from the Early Holocene to the late Contact Period. This symposium will update the prehistory of the Smith River Basin and provide insight into how mobility and subsistence strategies changed through time and differed between points along the river in response to changing social and natural environments.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-4 of 4)

  • Documents (4)

  • Backed Knives and Subsistence Strategies at the Hurdy Gurdy Bridge Site (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sean Larmore.

    Excavations conducted near the ancestral Tolowa village of Naa-k’vt-‘at on the South Fork of the Smith River produced unexpected results in terms of the apparent absence of tools, such as harpoon tips and fishing weights, related to salmon fishing. Rather, an unusual lithic tool was identified, described as a "backed" knife produced from splitting a biface or uniface longitudinally to facilitate hand-held use. This paper will explore the possible function(s) of this tool in ancestral Tolowa...

  • The Evolution of Sociopolitical Organization in Northwestern California (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Shannon Tushingham.

    Northwestern California has long been recognized as a unique area at the margin of both the Pacific Northwest Coast and California. Recent excavations at sites along the Smith River in Tolowa ancestral territory can help us elucidate long-term evolutionary trends among affluent foragers in the region. This paper will examine some of the profound alterations in human organization that occur at Red Elderberry (CA-DNO-26), a site located along a portion of the Smith River known as a highly...

  • Excavations athe Hurdy Gurdy Bridge site (CA-DNO-1028), a Multicomponent Habitation Site in Northwest California (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kevin Gilmore.

    The Hurdy Gurdy Bridge site (CA-DNO-1028), located 19 kilometers in a direct line and 45 kilometers along the Smith and South Fork rivers from the coast, was excavated because it was within the impact area of the proposed replacement of a bridge over Hurdygurdy Creek by the Federal Highways Administration. Data recovery consisted of geophysical investigations, the excavation of backhoe trenches, shovel probes, and 42 square-meter excavation units. These investigations recovered cultural...

  • Lithic Material Sources and Implications for Trade and Travel through the Smith River Basin in Northwest California (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jonathan Hedlund.

    Excavations at the Hurdy Gurdy Bridge site (CA-DNO-1028) recovered a collection of lithic artifacts representing both local and exotic sources of material. Identification of both probable and definitive source locations indicates transportation of lithic material occurred from coastal, Klamath Mountains, south-central Oregon, and north-central California regions. Obsidian subjected to OH and XRF analysis from Hurdy Gurdy Bridge site along with sites located at the confluence of the Middle and...