Complex Hunter-Gatherers: Evolution and Organization of Prehistoric Communities on the Plateau of Northwestern North America

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Overview

The Plateau region of the Pacific Northwest witnessed the emergence, persistence, and decline of a diverse array of hunter-gatherer communities during the course of a past several thousand year period. Consequently, the region contains an archaeological record of groups who lived at times in permanent villages, employed complex resource procurement and processing strategies, participated in wide-ranging trade networks, and maintained social organizations featuring high degrees of social inequality.

Complex Hunter-Gatherers presents a broad synthesis of the archaeology of the Plateau, inclusive of the Columbia and Fraser-Thompson drainages. The contributors seek to further our understanding of the nature of prehistoric social organization, subsistence practices, and lifeways of those living on the Plateau, and to expand upon this foundation to understand the evolution and organization of complex hunter-gatherers in general.

 

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Meet the Author

William C. Prentiss is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Montana-Missoula.

Ian Kuijt is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Notre Dame.

 

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Table of Contents

Introduction: The Archaeology of the Plateau Region of Northwestern North America—Approaches to the Evolution of Complex Hunter-Gatherers ~ William C. Prentiss and Ian Kuijt

I. Chronology and Materials in Plateau Archaeology
1. A Culture Historic Synthesis and Changes in Human Mobility, Sedentism, Subsistence, Settlement, and Population on the Canadian Plateau, 7000–200 BP ~ Mike K. Rousseau
2. Materials and Contexts for a Culture History of the Columbia Plateau ~ William Andrefsky Jr.
3. Cultural Complexity: A New Chronology of the Upper Columbia Drainage Area ~ Nathan B. Goodale, William C. Prentiss, and Ian Kuijt
4. The Evolution of Collector Systems on the Canadian Plateau ~ William C. Prentiss and Ian Kuijt

II. Households, Social Complexity, and the Formation of Aggregate Hunter-Gatherer Communities
5. Safety in Numbers: The Influence of the Bow and Arrow on Village Formation on the Columbia Plateau ~ James C. Chatters
6. Ritual Structures in Transegalitarian Communities ~ Brian Hayden and Ron Adams
7. Fraser Valley Trade and Prestige as Seen from Scowlitz ~ Michael Blake

III. Social Organization, Plant Resources, and the Abandonment of Pithouse Villages
8. A Question of Intensity: Exploring the Role of Plant Foods in Northern Plateau Prehistory ~ Dana Lepofsky and Sandra L. Peacock
9. The Social Dimensions of Roasting Pits in a Winter Village Site ~ Brian Hayden and Sara Mossop Cousins
10. Villages on the Edge: Pithouses, Cultural Change, and the Abandonment of Aggregate Pithouse Villages ~ Ian Kuijt and William C. Prentiss

IV. Discussion and Implications
11. A Transcontinental Perspective on the Evolution of Hunter-Gatherer Lifeways on the Plateau: Discussion and Reflection ~ Jeanne E. Arnold

References Cited Contributors Index

 

 

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