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Monumental Stonework and the Making of Places and History on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia

Author(s): Darcy Mathews

Year: 2016

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Archaeologists do not think of the peoples of the Northwest Coast as monumental stone builders, yet current research indicates that the enhancement and demarcation of critical resource sites entailed both the massive movement of stone and the building of stone monuments. The Coast Salish peoples built remarkable numbers of burial cairns and mounds, using stones cleared from important and valuable root crop fields to then inscribe the landscape with their ancestral dead. Their Heiltsuk neighbors to the north reshaped shorelines with stone constructions to promote the growth, accessibility, and predictability of their most economically important intertidal resources. Stone intertidal fish traps and boulder terraces promoted the growth and abundance of clams and other bivalves are common in their territory. These ubiquitous Coast Salish and Heiltsuk stone constructions are the intentional products of not only ecological management—the process of building these features was the very making of histories and places. The materiality of these monumental stone works are enduring and visible constructions that speak to emergent and changing practices of ownership, tenure, and relationships of power over the past three millennia.

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Monumental Stonework and the Making of Places and History on the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. Darcy Mathews. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403617)


Spatial Coverage

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

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America