Shifting use of Mammals at Tse-whit-zen: Response to Gradual or Catastrophic Change?

Author(s): Michael Etnier

Year: 2017


The mammalian component of the Tse-whit-zen village (WA) midden samples is typical of Northwest Coast archaeological sites. However, overall identification rates are quite low, with only 8% to 11% of the overall number of mammal specimens (NSP) identified beyond Class. This pattern is driven by fragmentation and burning, with burned bone making up 18% to 44% of NSP. Burning rates peak in Chronozone 5 (CZ5, 525-1000 BP), while identification rates decrease steadily through time.

Artiodactyls (deer and elk—3% to 7% of NSP) are the most abundant taxon, followed by dog (1% to 4% of NSP) and pinnipeds (seals, fur seals, and sea lions—1% to 2% of NSP). Pinniped use through time is stable. Artiodactyls peak in CZ3 (1550-1300 BP) at 7% of mammal NSP, but they were also increasing in the final stages of occupation of the site (CZ6 and CZ7, 525-50 BP). The initial increase in Artiodactyl use does not correspond to any of the seismic events documented at Tse-Whitzen. However, the peak of burned bone, and associated decrease in overall identification rates in CZ5 may reflect increased processing of bone for tool production and grease extraction following Event W, a seismic event dated to 420-570 BP.

Cite this Record

Shifting use of Mammals at Tse-whit-zen: Response to Gradual or Catastrophic Change?. Michael Etnier. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430213)


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 16564