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Oregon Archaeology

C. Melvin Aikens, Thomas J. Connolly, and Dennis L. Jenkins

Publication Year: 2011

Archaeological research has revealed much about Oregon’s history in the last twenty years. Oregon Archaeology incorporates this new knowledge, telling the story of Native American cultures in Oregon beginning with the earliest evidence of human occupation about 14,000 years ago and continuing into the nineteenth century. It includes selected studies in contact-historic period archaeology to illustrate aspects of first encounters between Native Americans and newcomers of European and Asian heritage, as well as important trends in the development of modern Oregon.

Oregon’s early human history is linked to four of the five major cultural regions of western North America: the Great Basin, the Columbia Plateau, the Northwest Coast, and California. Oregon Archaeology offers a coherent and unified history of an area that is highly differentiated geographically and culturally.

A historical narrative informed by evidence from critical sites, Oregon Archaeology is enriched with maps, photographs, line drawings, and an extensive bibliography. Oregon Archaeology is an essential reference for archaeology professionals and students, and also for general readers interested in Oregon’s Native American culture and history.

Published by: Oregon State University Press

Title Page

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. 9-11

Oregon has a deep and varied history, and archaeological research has revealed a great deal more about it since the last general survey, Archaeology of Oregon, (first published in 1984) was revised in 1993. The book originated as a public outreach project of the Oregon State Office, USDA Bureau of Land Management, fostered by Dr. Y.T. (Jack) Witherspoon. We thank...

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Chapter One: Archaeology, Ethnology, Ecology, and Human History on the Millennial Scale

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pp. 13-29

Oregon's archaeological history begins with the traces of its earliest currently known human occupants, which are dated to about 14,500 years ago at the Paisley Caves near Summer Lake, in the desert country east of the Cascades. This chapter introduces some of the main research approaches that have helped reveal the archaeological stories to follow, and concludes with some...

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Chapter 2: Northern Great Basin

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pp. 31-148

The study of Oregon prehistory was pioneered by archaeological research in the Northern Great Basin. Beginning in the mid-1930s, work by Luther S. Cressman of the University of Oregon and an interdisciplinary team of scientists including paleontologists, geologists, paleoclimatologists, and others, demonstrated the high antiquity of a desert culture now known not...

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Chapter 3: Columbia Plateau

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pp. 149-209

The Interior Plateau of western North America is a great trough about 200 miles wide and 600 miles long, flanked on the west by the Oregon-Washington Cascades and British Columbia Coast Mountains, and on the east by the Northern Rockies. Its northern part is the Canadian Plateau, a broad zone of low, forested mountains and long, glacially scoured valleys with lakes and...

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Chapter 4: Lower Columbia and Oregon Coast

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pp. 211-283

The coast of Oregon is part of the Pacific Northwest Coast Culture Area, which stretches from the vicinity of Yakutat Bay, Alaska to about Cape Mendocino in northern California (fig. 4.1). The "culture area" designation implies certain shared traits along this broad coastal zone, many of them due to common environmental features. Human populations on the Pacific...

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Chapter 5: The Willamette Valley

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pp. 284-327

A large portion of the modern Willamette Valley floor was formed near the end of the last ice age, between about 20,000 and 15,000 cal. BP, when glacial Lake Missoula, impounded by a lobe of the Cordilleran ice sheet, repeatedly breached its ice dam and sent floods of enormous scale down the Columbia River valley to the Pacific Ocean. The constricted river channel at Kalama...

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Chapter 6: Southwestern Mountains and Valleys

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pp. 328-389

Southwest Oregon shares with northwest California the massive and deeply dissected Klamath Mountains, which include the distinctive Siskiyou range that lies athwart the Oregon-California border. Some of Oregon's oldest rocks occur here; the Paleozoic shales, sandstones, reefs, and submarine pillow basalts of the Klamaths reveal that they began more than 250 million...

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Chapter Seven: Oregon Native American Cultural Diversity and Integration with an Epilogue on Cultural Resource Management Archaeology in Oregon

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pp. 390-418

The Oregon of today, a rectangular area about 200 miles north to south by 400 miles east to west, adjoins or overlaps with parts of the Northwest Coast, Interior Plateau, Great Basin, and Californian regions of western North America (see fig. 1.1). Thus, Oregon Native Americans all had close cultural and linguistic relatives hundreds of miles away in one or another direction...


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pp. 419-477


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pp. 479-496

E-ISBN-13: 9780870716454
E-ISBN-10: 087071645x
Print-ISBN-13: 9780870716065
Print-ISBN-10: 0870716069

Page Count: 512
Publication Year: 2011