Paleoarchaic Settlement of the South Salish Sea during the Late Pleistocene-Holocene Transition: A View from Bear Creek (45KI839)
The Bear Creek site (45KI839) in Washington State’s central Puget lowland is among the earliest lithic artifact-bearing, professionally excavated archaeological sites on the Pacific coast between Haida Gwaii and the Santa Barbara Channel. Data recovery excavation in 2013 provided an unprecedented view of Native American settlement in a rapidly changing coastal lowland setting during the Late Pleistocene-Holocene (LPH) transition. The site is an epitome of difficulties inherent in finding deeply buried, intact early components in dynamic depositional environments. Our site formation model is therefore foundational, drawing on geoarchaeological data at the basin- and micro-scales, on paleoenvironmental evidence, and on a comprehensive dating regime. The lithic assemblage includes stemmed and unfluted concave-base projectile points and a variety of bifacial and expedient flake tools sharing affinities most closely with Western Stemmed Tradition assemblages throughout the greater interior Pacific Northwest and Great Basin, and is similar to a string of LPH sites along the coast from Haida Gwaii to South America. The contributions to this session explore individual analytic facets of the investigations at the Bear Creek site, while drawing broader conclusions about this site as a coastal variant of the Western Stemmed Tradition.
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Bear Creek (45KI839) Data Recovery Investigation and the Paleoarchaic Settlement of the South Salish Sea during the Late Pleistocene-Holocene Transition (2017)Citation DOCUMENT
The Bear Creek site (45KI839) in Washington State’s central Puget lowland is among the earliest lithic artifact-bearing, professionally excavated archaeological sites on the Pacific coast between Haida Gwaii and the Santa Barbara Channel. Data recovery excavations in 2013 provided an unprecedented view of Native American settlement in a rapidly changing coastal lowland setting during the Late Pleistocene-Holocene (LPH) transition. We summarize the results of these excavations and attendant...
The lithic assemblage from Bear Creek (45KI839), a late Pleistocene-early Holocene site in King County, Washington, is representative of the Western Stemmed Tradition (WST), likely the oldest lithic tradition in most areas west of the Rocky Mountains. It is followed in the Pacific Northwest by the Olcott Tradition. Although some argue that Olcott represents an intrusion from Alaska, archaeological evidence supports in situ development from the WST. In the Great Basin the WST is biface oriented,...
Extant deposits at the Bear Creek site are highly compositionally variable, including fibrous peat, fluvial sands, volcanic tephra, and diatomaceous earth, reflecting a series of significant Holocene changes to the local environment. Multiple methods were used to directly date each of these sediments, including radiocarbon dating, single-grain IRSL dating of feldspar, OSL dating of fine-grained quartz, and tephra dating. Results from independent chronometric methods were then integrated with...
Late Pleistocene-Holocene (LPH) Paleogeography of the Bear Creek Site (45KI832), Puget Lowland, Western Washington (2017)Citation DOCUMENT
Stratigraphic and soil horizon sequences within the boundaries of archaeological sites are remnants of formerly more extensive paleolandscapes. Since these fragments have both spatial and temporal boundaries extending beyond the site boundaries, the sedimentary and soil bodies defined within an archaeological site represent segments of past landscapes and reflect, sometimes indirectly, relationships with the broader surrounding paleoecosystem. In order to further our understanding of LPH...
Micromorphological Analysis of Thin Sections from Bear Creek (45KI839), Redmond, King County, Washington (2017)Citation DOCUMENT
Micromorphology samples were collected during data recovery at the Bear Creek Site (45KI839) in Redmond, Washington in order to supplement the site’s formation history. Micromorphological analysis of these samples has shed light on the taphonomic and sedimentary depositional processes at work prior to, during, and after Late Pleistocene-Holocene transition (LPH) occupation of 45KI839. This poster presents the micromorphology research design, sampling and analysis methodology, and results of...