Changing House Forms on the Northwest Coast of North America


Traditionally, Northwest Coast houses were rectangular, post and beam dwellings. Architectural details varied regionally, ethnically and even locally. It is presently impossible to trace this variation archaeologically beyond a few coarse-grained statements. The earliest structures date to at least ca. 5000 calBP; they are rectilinear and some at least are semisubterranean. The longest continuous sequence of houses is presently documented in the Prince Rupert Harbor region of northern British Columbia where by 2500 calBP variation in house size becomes marked. The Salish Sea area also has a long sequence with several rectangular houses early, then a gap until ca 2500. After that date houses are the ethnographic shed roof style. On the Lower Fraser River, villages had a mix of rectangular surface houses and pit houses. What these changes trace, at minimum, are increasing demands on labor and resources.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

Cite this Record

Changing House Forms on the Northwest Coast of North America. Emily Shepard, Kisha Supernant, Kenneth M. Ames, Andrew Martindale. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 395490)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;