On the Ecodynamics of Fisheries at Tse-whit-zen

Author(s): Virginia L. Butler

Year: 2017


On the northern Pacific Coast of North America, fish play an extremely important role in conceptual models related to hunter-gatherer evolution and social dynamics of household production and resource control. Our ability to rigorously apply archaeo-fish remains to these models is limited by substantial data requirements including well-documented contexts, high-resolution chronology, control over complex site formation processes and taphonomy, as well as large sample sizes. The 2004 excavation and careful geoarchaeological documentation of micro-stratigraphic contexts from Tse-whit-zen provides an opportunity to study fine-grained patterns in the fishery in the context of abrupt environmental change. Over 112,000 fish remains were documented, including ~57,000 specimens identified to at least order, from seven chronostratigraphic zones and associated with two plankhouses and extramural activity areas. Herring represent over 50% of the identified specimens, with 20+ taxa also present. While some variation in fish use is seen across social units and activity areas and through time, the main trend is stability. Given the fine-grain analysis, stability appears to be real, rather than an artifact of lumping multiple discrete occupations into large time blocks.

Cite this Record

On the Ecodynamics of Fisheries at Tse-whit-zen. Virginia L. Butler. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430206)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16425