River Basin Surveys Papers, No. 23: The McNary Reservoir: A Study in Plateau Archeology

Author(s): Joel L. Shiner

Year: 1961


.Anthropological research in the Plateau Area of northwestern North America has failed to produce a clear picture of Indian culture. From both the ethnological and archeological viewpoint there have been insufficient research and little synthesis. While ethnographic investigation has permitted certain generalities about Plateau culture, archeological research has not produced any sort of chronology, not even a local sequence. Since Wissler's classification in 1922, which set up a culture area known as the Plateau, very little has been done toward filling in the details that were not available then. A preponderance of the ethnographic research has been centered

in specific geographical regions to the neglect of others. Much of the effort has been expended on detailed problems of almost purely academic interest, while basic problems of time, space, and process have largely been ignored. Archeological research in the Plateau has been limited to a few major excavations, and the time factor has not been considered. These excavations have turned up collections of artifacts but have given no reconstruction of the aboriginal culture. This complaint has been made many times and in many places, but, relatively speaking, the Plateau remains one of the least-known areas in North America. If the fact is considered that thousands of aboriginal habitation sites exist in the area and thousands of relatively unacculturated Indians still survive, it is no exaggeration to state that the Plateau is much in need of anthropological research. .An opportunity to reopen one phase of the anthropological study

came with the availability of a significant body of archeological data.

These data came from the Smithsonian Institution's River Basin Surveys

program of salvage archeology, which began in the Pacific Northwest

in 1947, and came to an end in 1952. The intensive program of

survey and excavation led to the development of a local sequence in

one region and additional information from several other regions

within the Plateau. These data should permit generalization about

the Plateau during the prehistoric period since time and space dimensions

on parts of the material culture are beginning to be understood.

Cite this Record

River Basin Surveys Papers, No. 23: The McNary Reservoir: A Study in Plateau Archeology. Joel L. Shiner. Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin ,179. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office. 1961 ( tDAR id: 376888) ; doi:10.6067/XCV86M37N4

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -119.872; min lat: 45.729 ; max long: -118.455; max lat: 46.506 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Sponsor(s): Smithsonian Institution

Record Identifiers

NADB Citation ID(s): 000000034475

River Basin Surveys Papers(s): 23

NADB Document ID(s): 1294516

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