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Rewriting Marpole

The Path to Cultural Complexity in the Gulf of Georgia

Terence N. Clark

Publication Year: 2013

This book examines prehistoric culture change in the Gulf of Georgia region of the northwest coast of North America during the Locarno Beach (3500–1100 BP) and Marpole (2000–1100 BP) periods. The Marpole culture has traditionally been seen to possess all the traits associated with complex hunter-gatherers on the northwest coast (hereditary inequality, multi-family housing, storage-based economies, resource ownership, wealth accumulation, etc.) while the Locarno Beach culture has not. This research examined artifact and faunal assemblages as well as data for art and mortuary architecture from a total of 164 Gulf of Georgia archaeological site components. Geographic location and ethnographic language distribution were also compared to the archaeological data. Analysis was undertaken using Integrative Distance Analysis (IDA), a new statistical model developed in the course of this research. Results indicated that Marpole culture was not a regional phenomenon, but much more spatially and temporally discrete than previously thought. Artifactual assemblages identified as Marpole were restricted to the areas of the Fraser River, northern Gulf Islands and portions of Vancouver Island. In contrast, the ethnographic territory of the Straits Salish showed no sign of Marpole culture, but rather a presence of Late Locarno Beach culture. The pattern found in artifacts was replicated in the distribution of art and mortuary architecture variation suggesting the cultural differences between Marpole and Late Locarno Beach cultures was real and not merely a statistical anomaly.

Published by: University of Ottawa Press

Series: Mercury Series


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-7

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pp. vii-8

This book examines prehistoric culture change in the Gulf of Georgia region of the Northwest Coast of North America during the Locarno Beach (3500–1100 BP) and Marpole (2000–1100 BP) periods. The Marpole culture has traditionally been seen to possess all the traits associated with complex hunter-gatherers on the Northwest Coast ...

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pp. viii-9

Cet ouvrage porte sur les changements culturels préhistoriques de la région du golfe de Georgia, située sur la côte du Nord-Ouest d’Amérique du Nord, pendant les périodes Locarno (3500–1100 BP et Marpole (2000–1100 BP). La culture Marpole a traditionnellement été comprise comme possédant tous les attributs associés aux chasseurs-cueilleurs de la côte du Nord-Ouest ...

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pp. ix-x

I wish to thank the myriad of people without whom this book would not have been possible. First, and foremost, my supervisor Dr. Gary Coupland, who has provided years of support and encouragement. I expect many great collaborations with Gary in the future. ...

Table of Contents

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pp. xi-xiv

List of Tables

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pp. xv-xvi

List of Figures

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pp. xvii-xviii

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-4

The Northwest Coast of North America saw the rise of several complex foraging cultures over the last 2500 years. Within this diverse group, the Marpole culture (2000–1100 BP) of the Gulf of Georgia region stands out as the most studied and oft-cited example of prehistoric huntergatherer complexity (Ames and Maschner 1999; Matson and Coupland 1995). ...

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Chapter 2. Environmental Setting

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pp. 5-22

The Strait of Georgia is the long narrow strip of water extending northwest-southeast, between mainland southwestern British Columbia and Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. More broadly, the Gulf of Georgia, as defined by Captain George Vancouver in 1792 (Roberts 2005), refers to all surrounding inland waterways and islands of the Strait of Georgia proper. ...

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Chapter 3. Ethnographic Summary

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pp. 23-40

The culture history of the Gulf of Georgia region shows strong continuities with the ethnographically described Coast Salish First Nations, suggesting that prehistoric populations were likely ancestral to modern Salish groups (Ames and Maschner 1999:249; Jorgensen 1969; Matson and Coupland 1995; Mitchell 1971b, 1990; Suttles 1990; Suttles and Elmendorf 1963). ...

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Chapter 4. Culture History

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pp. 41-74

From the earliest excavations in the Gulf of Georgia (Hill-Tout 1895; Smith 1903, 1907), over one hundred years ago, archaeology in the region has predominantly focused on reconstructing the past sequence of cultures. Though a noble goal, the focus on the creation of a culture history meant little attention was paid to larger anthropological questions. ...

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Chapter 5. Methodology: Integrative Archaeology

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pp. 75-96

Within the natural and social sciences there is currently a wave of renewed interest in the realm of spatial statistics (e.g., Johnson et al. 2005; Lai 2009; Lansing et al. 2007; LeSage et al. 2009; Pettorelli et al. 2005; Schillaci et al. 2009; Soininen et al. 2004; Spielman and Yoo 2009). From archaeology to zoology, there is a growing sentiment that the proximity of data points is meaningful and structures the results we measure. ...

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Chapter 6. Data and Analysis

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pp. 97-190

This chapter presents the results and interpretations of Integrative Distance Analysis (IDA) and related analyses of the data classes. It begins with an outline of data-collection procedures and moves on to discuss the primary data classes of artifact assemblages, faunal assemblages, and ethnographic languages. ...

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Chapter 7. Discussion and Conclusion

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pp. 191-212

In this book I uncovered several specific and general conclusions. In this chapter these conclusions are divided in three categories: the first concerns methodological issues, the second regards Gulf of Georgia culture history, and the third relates to the rise of social complexity during Marpole. ...


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pp. 213-234


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pp. 235-256


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pp. 257-266

E-ISBN-13: 9780776620831
E-ISBN-10: 0776620835
Print-ISBN-13: 9780776607948
Print-ISBN-10: 0776607944

Page Count: 200
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Mercury Series
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OCLC Number: 827828604
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Rewriting Marpole

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Subject Headings

  • Georgia, Strait of, Region (B.C. and Wash.)--Antiquities.
  • Antiquities, Prehistoric--Georgia, Strait of, Region (B.C. and Wash.)
  • Indians of North America--Georgia, Strait of, Region (B.C. and Wash.)--Antiquities.
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