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Washed Away? Was Tse-whit-zen Deserted in the Aftermath of Cascadian Earthquakes?

Author(s): Ian Hutchinson ; Sarah L. Sterling ; Virginia L. Butler ; Carrie Garrison-Laney

Year: 2017

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The northern segment of the Cascadia subduction zone has ruptured at least four times in the last 2000 years. Each of these giant earthquakes triggered a tsunami that potentially inundated the Tse-whit-zen village site to depths of 3-6 m and exposed it to currents of ~10 m/s. We compare the timing of these tsunamis, as recorded by wash-over deposits at Tse-whit-zen and sand sheets in the marshes at Discovery Bay, some 50 km to the east of Tse-whit-zen, with the palaeodemographic history of the village. The latter is modeled using the probability density of AMS radiocarbon ages as a population proxy, and tested against a null model derived from the IntCal13 calibration database. The results suggest that the size of the population at Tse-whit-zen oscillated wildly in the 1500 years before European contact, with minima in the wake of each of these natural disasters.

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Washed Away? Was Tse-whit-zen Deserted in the Aftermath of Cascadian Earthquakes?. Ian Hutchinson, Sarah L. Sterling, Virginia L. Butler, Carrie Garrison-Laney. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430201)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15120

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