Introduction to the Tse-whit-zen Site: Landform Evolution and Chronological Structure


Tse-whit-zen, a large ancestral village of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, located on the southern shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Angeles, WA, was excavated in 2004 as part of a transportation project. Its location on a protected bay adjacent to open marine habitats, and inland highlands gave site occupants advantages in acquiring terrestrial and marine resources. The site is situated on a series of beaches representing relict shorelines, which generally prograde seaward over time. The site’s geochronology is derived from finely defined cultural and geological deposits, with ages spanning the period from ca 2800 years ago to contact, based on 52 radiocarbon ages from the original 2004 excavations, and 50 high precision radiocarbon ages, taken from short-lived organic material, funded by the current project. Using excavation records, radiocarbon dates and ArcGIS we have defined seven chronostratigraphic zones and identified the remains of two structures, the occupations of which overlapped between 1250 - 450 yrs BP, allowing for comparison of resource use between two households. In-situ geomorphic evidence indicates impacts of two tsunami inundations; and the site was occupied coincident with known great Cascadia earthquakes. The occupation spans the Medieval Climatic Anomaly and the Little Ice Age.

Cite this Record

Introduction to the Tse-whit-zen Site: Landform Evolution and Chronological Structure. Sarah L. Sterling, Sarah K. Campbell, Virginia L. Butler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430199)

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16220