Complex Fisher-Foragers of the Interior Pacific Northwest: The Housepit 54 Project at Bridge River, British Columbia

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

The Bridge River site is a complex fisher-forager village most intensively occupied between 1000 and 2000 years ago. Previous research suggests that it grew to maximum size of at least 30 co-occupied housepits with a population estimated to be 800-1000 persons by ca. 1250-1300 cal. B.P. After this time the village declined in size and was eventually abandoned for several hundred years. During the centuries immediately prior to abandonment the village was reorganized spatially and developed evidence for inter-household inequality. The Housepit 54 project at Bridge River was developed to gain an understanding of household history during the period of rapid village growth and decline. The final season of excavations in 2016 confirmed a stratigraphic sequence of 17 anthropogenic floors and approximately six periods of house expansion. Interdisciplinary research is focused on examining social and economic factors associated with household history along with a host of tangential interests including breeding and consumption of domesticated dogs. Posters in this symposium explore house pit stratigraphy, dating, cultural inheritance, lithic technological organization, subsistence (zooarchaeology, paleoethnobotany. and isotope studies), canid phylogeny using ancient DNA, geochemical signals in floors and lithic raw materials, spatial distributions, and public interpretation of indigenous cultural heritage.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-14 of 14)

  • Documents (14)

  • Ancient DNA from Stone Tools (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Meradeth Snow. Clare Super. Anna Marie Prentiss.

    Proteins and DNA can be trapped in the microcracks on the surface of stone tools, which can then be extracted and analyzed to aid in inferring the use of the tool (Shanks et al. 2001; 2005). This nondestructive method involves the use of sonication to release DNA from the microcracks, then amplification of regions of mitochondrial DNA that are species specific. This technique was applied to ground and chipped stone from the Bridge River site in British Columbia. Focus on groundstone was of...

  • An Archaeological Investigation into the Genetic and Dietary Histories of Dogs at the Bridge River Site, BC (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dongya Yang. Antonia Rodrigues. Anna Marie Prentiss. Eleanor Green. Camilla Speller.

    Domesticated dog (Canis lupus familiarus) remains have been recovered from a variety of Northwest Plateau archaeological sites, including Bridge River, a complex hunter-gatherer village on the Fraser River of British Columbia. To gain insight into the genetic continuity and dietary history of these dogs, this study applies ancient DNA techniques to dog bones and coprolites recovered from two pithouses at Bridge River. Dog mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is used to inform on genetic relationships...

  • The Bone Tool Assemblage from Housepit 54 at Bridge River (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sarah Nowell. Ashley Hampton.

    Excavations of Housepit 54 in the Bridge River village recovered an immense amount of cultural material that has contributed to a better understanding of the lifeways of its past inhabitants. The faunal assemblage contains a number of items tentatively identified as bone tools. This poster outlines the results of research aimed at understanding the effects of taphonomic and cultural processes associated with the formation of bone tool assemblages. Implications are drawn regarding activity...

  • Borrowing and Inheritance: Testing Cultural Transmission Hypotheses in the Bridge River Housepit Village (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lindsay Scott. Anna Marie Prentiss. Matt Walsh.

    Cultural transmission is an evolutionary process that involves the transfer of information between people that over time can lead to the establishment of cultural traditions. This approach permits development of hypotheses regarding the cultural evolutionary process in a variety of contexts. In this paper we examine cultural transmission between generations by analyzing the effects of vertical and horizontal inheritance using archaeological data from the Bridge River housepit village. The Bridge...

  • Community Perceptions and Effects of the Bridge River Community Archaeological Project, 2012-2016 (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kristen Barnett.

    The Xwisten (Bridge River) community has had an ongoing collaborative relationship with the University of Montana, exploring the archaeology of the Bridge River Village, site Eerl4. The latest series of inquiries at the Bridge River Village focused on the excavation of Housepit 54, a single, mid-sized, semi-subterranean pithouse with 17 anthropogenic floors from occupations spanning 1800BP-ca. 1850’s CE. The goal of this research is to explore the perceptions of the discipline of archaeology,...

  • Diet and mobility on the Canadian Plateau: Isotopic analysis of domestic dogs and other fauna from the Bridge River site (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alejandra Diaz. Anna Marie Prentiss. Rebecca Macdonald. Olaf Nehlich. Michael Richards.

    This study reports on carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur isotope analyses of dog remains and other fauna from the Bridge River site in the Mid-Fraser region of the Canadian Plateau. We discuss these results in relation to dietary variability and resource mobility through time and in the relationships between dogs and humans. While dogs are not a direct proxy for humans in dietary isotope studies, their diets are influenced by human dietary practices, and therefore indicative of human subsistence...

  • Exploring the Status of a Roasting Feature Complex along the Mid-Fraser Canyon, Bridge River Site, British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Natasha Lyons. Anna Marie Prentiss.

    Roasting features were developed by First Peoples throughout North America to prepare and preserve food for winter storage during the mid to late Holocene. On the Interior Plateaus of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, these complexes are found at upland root harvesting sites and, to a lesser extent, in association with winter villages. This poster focuses on the interpretation of a dense complex of roasting features within a housepit at the Bridge River site, located on the Mid-Fraser...

  • Gendered Cooperation and Competition: A Multivariate Statistical Analysis of Floor Activity Patterns in Housepit 54 (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Katie Neal. Ashley Hampton. Anna Marie Prentiss. Thomas A. Foor.

    Housepit 54 at the Bridge River site, British Columbia provides a unique look at the evolution of interpersonal dynamics within a single household over time. The sequence of 17 floors evinces a wide-range of activity patterns and spatial configurations reflecting performed labor. Current theories of intra-household dynamics posit that cooperative, complimentary work should underlie individual social interactions within a single household. However from late Bridge River 2 (ca. 1300-1500 cal BP)...

  • A Geochemical Investigation and Spatial Analysis of the Earliest Living Floors of Housepit 54, Bridge River British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nathaniel Perhay. Nathan Goodale. David G. Bailey. Alissa Nauman. Anna Marie Prentiss.

    A geochemical investigation of the early floors of Housepit 54 provides insight into the daily activities of household occupants. Excavations of Housepit 54 revealed 17 superimposed floors and roofs. The earliest dating floors were excavated in 2016 with sediment samples systematically collected across each floor level. In this study we use both EDXRF and WDXRF techniques to provide reliable compositional data on the floor sediments. With the use of XRF data and geospatial tools we are able to...

  • Household Hearth-Centered Activity Areas and Cache Pit Patterning at the Bridge River Site (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ethan Ryan. Pei-Lin Yu. Matthew Schmader.

    Archaeological investigations at Housepit 54 within the Bridge River site have, to date, exposed seventeen discreet floors primarily dating to ca. 1500-1000 cal. B.P. In this poster we draw data from three of the site’s floors, IIk, IIl, and IIm, where the most recent investigations have yielded an interesting pattern of hearth and cache pit features. Questions will be addressed specifically towards formation processes as well as the potential relationships between the patterning of...

  • Housepit 54 at Bridge River: Seventeen Anthropogenic Floors in Time and Space (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anna Marie Prentiss. Thomas Foor.

    The Bridge River Archaeological Project initiated excavations of Housepit 54 in 2012 with the goal of developing an understanding of household history during the period of ca. 1000-1500 years ago. Excavations at Housepit 54 have revealed a remarkable sequence of 17 anthropogenic floors, 16 of which pre-date 1000 years ago and reflect periods of rapid growth and stability. The earliest three floors derive from small (estimated 4-6 m diameter) oval structures followed by a seven floor sequence...

  • Housepit 54: Dogs and their Changing Roles (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Emilia Tifental. Kathryn Bobolinski.

    Excavations at the Bridge River site, British Colombia have been on going since 2003. The careful study of these housepits have significantly increased our understanding of the communities that inhabited the Middle Fraser Canyon over 1,000 years ago. The completion of the Housepit 54 excavation has provided further evidence of the many facets of indigenous life at Bridge River; among these is the role of dogs. The possession and many uses of dogs in the Middle Fraser Canyon is well documented...

  • Sourcing FGV Artifacts Recovered from Housepit 54, Bridge River Housepit Village, British Columbia (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lindsay Buff. Nathan Goodale. Heather Kendall. David G. Bailey. Anna Marie Prentiss.

    Geochemical analysis of trace elements in fine grained volcanic rocks (FGV) using HHpXRF technology allows elemental characterization that enables matching fine grained volcanic artifacts with their original toolstone sources. Excavations of Housepit 54 during 2013-2016 field seasons have yielded a large assemblage of FGV artifacts that we attempt to match with toolstone sources or outcrops in the region. Preliminary research on characterizing artifacts recovered during the 2013 field season...

  • A Zooarchaeological Analysis of Housepit 54 at the Bridge River Site (EeRl1), Middle Fraser B.C. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kathryn Bobolinski.

    Housepit 54 at the Bridge River pithouse village in south-central British Columbia provides a glimpse into the complex cultural practices that occurred at this area in the past. This village, which includes approximately 80 semi-subterranean structures, was occupied during four periods, approximately 1800-1600 cal. B.P. (BR 1), 1600-1300 cal. B.P. (BR 2), 1300-1000 cal. B.P. (BR 3), and 610-45 cal. B.P (BR 4), firmly placing the site within both a historic and a pre-Colonial context. It is...