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«1111 1111 11 11111 1111 12 0003896558 Tillamook Prehistory and Its Relation to the Northwest Coast Culture Area by Thomas M. Newman /-iPARTMENT OF ...»

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12 0003896558

Tillamook Prehistory and Its Relation

to the

Northwest Coast Culture Area


Thomas M. Newman









Presented to the Department of Anthropology and the Graduate School of the University of Oregon in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy June 1959


Mr. Newman's study is the first to report on intensive archaeological research in an area of the northern Pacific coast extending several hundreds of miles in length. In order to make the results of this work known to others work- ing in the field and to invite criticism by colleagues, we have decided to duplicate and distribute 100 copies of this study. The National Science Foundation supported the re- search in which this study is based and gave permission to copy and distribute the manuscript. The reproduction differs from the original only in the omission of some of the ritual requirements imposed by all graduate schools on the form of a dissertation, single spacing, printing on both sides of the page and reduction in the size of all plates, except two, in the interest of economy.

I feel this to be en important contribution to Pacific Northwest prehistory. One of the rather surprising results of the -study is the indication of the relatively late date of the occupation of the Oregon Coast. Another rather sur- prising piece of information is the lack of evidence of any initial occupation from the interior, east of the Cascade range where culture has such a demonstrably long history.

Subsequent research may force modification of these views, as Newman points out. In the meantime this study will serve as a well documented reference point for future research in Northern Pacific Coast prehistory.

L. S. Creasman, Head Department of Anthropology


Financial support of archeological field work was gen- erously granted by the National Science Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological.Research, Inc., and the Research Council of the University of Oregon. Without this support, successful prosecution of the Oregon Coast Prehistory Program under the direction of Dr. L. S. Creasman would have been impossible. I am grateful to Dr. Creasman for training, advice, and construc- tive criticism which has been willingly given at all times.

Drs. H. G. Barnett, Vernon R. Dorjahn, and Theodore Stern have contributed substantially either directly or indirectly to this thesis. Association with the staff of the Department of Anthropology and Museum of Natural History, University of Oregon, have been fruitful and stimulating.

Graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Oregon have provided an atmosphere conducive to research and have never failed to help with the many tasks associated with the writing of this thesis. Thanks are specially due Neil Kirschner and W. Raymond Wood for assistance in reading drafts and editing.

I am grateful to Dr. Leroy E. Detling for botanical identifications, Dr. J. Arnold Shotwell for identifying vertebrate faunal remains and Dr. George Y. Harry, Jr., for identification of invertebrate remains. Archeological site Cu-47 was reported to the University of Oregon by Mrs. Jean Strain of Langlois, Oregon. She also made available to us her collection of artifacts from this site for study, and arranged with Mr.

Alton Strain, the landowner, for permission to excavate. Ap preciation is expressed to the Louis W. and Maude Hill Family Foundation for exclusive excavation privileges at site Ti-1 granted to the University of Oregon.

In the field, Mr. and Mrs. Ted Cornett and their son Jack were helpful in making us comfortable and providing suitable anchorage for the boat. Mr. Bert Banker rendered similar services a previous year. Thanks are due for this assistance.

Field workers both present and past have accomplished excavations on the Oregon coast often under difficult conditions.

To these many individuals I acknowledge my indebtedness.

• • • •


–  –  –

The problem to. which this study is directed is to examine the archeology of the Tillamook, to place this group in the

cultural historical perspective 'of the Oregon coast, and to explore their relationship to the Northwest Coast Culture Area:

The sources which will provide the basis of discussion are the archeological materials derived from excavations at certain

-points along the Oregon coast by the University of Oregon, and archeological material from other sources together with ethnographic data. Archeological materials include those derived from three seasons intensive investigations on the Netarts Sand Spit at site Ti-1, Tillamook County, Oregon. Products of these systematic explorations include a knowledge of artifacts, structures, village patterns, and chronological relationships. Radiocarbon dates confirm the archeological sequence and place time in the Tillamook area.

the cultural relations through The second source of data is an archeological site on the southern Oregon coast near the town of Langlois in Curry County..

This site has been extensively tested and two houses completely excavated.

A third source of data consists ofpublished and un ublished archeological data reported by Berreman (l935, 1914), Collins (1953), Cressman (1952), and Leatherman and Krieger (1940).

The Oregon Coast Prehistory Program, directed by Dr. L. S.

Cresaman, Department of Anthropology, University of Oregon, has been supported by grant from the National Science Foundation.

This grant supported three field seasons work, 1956, 1957, and 1958, and the cost of cataloging and analyzing archeological specimens. Previous work, the site survey of the Oregon coast conducted by Lloyd R. Collins and directed by Dr. L. S. Cressman, was supported by the Wenner-Gran Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and the University of Oregon.

The 1956 field season at site Ti-1 was 'of six weeks duration. Excavations were directed by Dr. L. S. Cressman. Daniel J.`Scheans was Field Foreman, and the crew consisted of Lionel A. Brown, Thomas M. Newman', John E. Wells, and David P. Wheeler.

Paula Lack was cook and Vivian Scheans washed and cataloged artifacts in the field.

2 The 1957 field season at site Ti-1 was of six weeks duration. Personnel included Dr. L. S. Creasman, Director; Thomas M. Newman, Field Foreman; and the crew consisted of Maurice N.

Cox, Lionel A. Brown, John E. Wells, and Lorrie Wells as cook.

In 1958, the six week field season was directed by Thomas M. Newman with John E. Wells, Field Foreman. The crew consisted of Lionel A. Brown, Bruce A. Cox, Daniel J. Scheans, and William H. Wilson. Lorrie Wells was again cook.

Excavations at Cu-47 were first conducted in the summer of 1958, following the close of the season at Ti-l. Approximately a week was spent at the site by Bruce A. Cox, Thomas M.

Newman, and Daniel J. Scheans. Another brief trip was made to Cu-47 in March, 1959, during Spring Vacation. Frank C. Leonhardy, Thomas M. Newman, and W. Raymond Wood made the trip.

Problems prompting the investigations reported in the following pages may be stated as a series of questions. Some of these questions briefly phrased are: What is the origin or source of Northwest Coast cultures? How early did Northwest Coast cultures appear? What were the conditions under which the maritime orientation developed? What is the sequence of coastal occupations; earliest in the north, central, south, or approximately simultaneous throughout the area? What are the major relationshipe between the major coastal groups?

Some of these questions have recently been answered by archeological investigations completed in Oregon and British Columbia. Work at Ws-14. near The Dalles, Oregon, on the south bank of the Columbia River has demonstrated that an adaptation to a riverine economy had taken place at an early date (Creasman et al, 1958). A radiocarbon date from a lower stratum of Ws-4 indicates that by 9,000 years ago antler wedges or flashers, barbed bone points, salmon fisheries, and the taking of sea mammals was developed. This indicates that at an early date not only was there an apparently complete adaptation to a riverine economy, but that an interest in the capture of sea mammals, and, apparently, the means to take them was known.

It might be suggested thdt the foundations of Northwest Coast culture were firmly established by 9,000 years ago.

The work of Borden (1950, 1951, 1954, 1958) indicates that the earliest cultures on the coast are not attributable to Northwest Coast cultures in the ethnographic sense. The early cultures reported by Borden are termed Eskimoid. The second or Intermediate Period is said to represent "interior cultures in a state of transition." (Borden, 1951, p. 48) Radiocarbon dates from this horizon suggest that the transition from interior to Northwest Coast culture patterns were in evidence in British Columbia very early in the Christian era.

King (1950) reports a site on San Juan Island in the Washington Sound area where there is a developmental sequence termed Island, Developmental, Maritime, and Late. The Island phase is essentially oriented inland as regards the economy.

Following this the adaptation to a full maritime economy is evolved. There are no dates for this sequence.

These recent reports tend to support the thesis of Kroeber \Zof an inland origin for-Northwest Coast cultures. He contends that the first step was the development of a riverine economy, migration downstream to beaches and finally the fullblown maritime culture was developed. Although in broad outlines the developmental sequence postulated by Kroeber is confirmed, there are chronological difficulties. The approximately 7,000 year gap between the riverine adaptation at Ws -I.

in Oregon and the Intermediate Period in British Columbia is puzzling to say the least. Unless the Developmental period on San Juan Island is chronologically intermediate, there is 'an unexplained hiatus in the picture.

Recent excavations on the Oregon coast were designed to provide answers to questions relating to the cultural position of the Oregon coastal groups and their relation to one another and to the Northwest Coast Culture Area. With these general problems in mind, excavations were undertaken at site Ti-1 on the northern Oregon coast. Three full field seasons were spent at this site and a mass of raw data secured for analysis.

Later, excavations were undertaken at Cu-47, a site on the southern Oregon coast.

With the above objectives in mind, the direct historical approach was the method used to explore the problems. • This method, briefly, involves working from the historic known to the prehistoric unknown. This means that the site selected for excavation is presumed to represent, at leastin the final occupation, an historic occupation of a known group, in this case the Tillamook. When excavation of the site is completed the most recent occupation may, with the use of ethnographic and documentary sources, be identified as representing a known group. A comparison of ethnographic and archeological data,will then establish the archeological characteristics of this group. After identification of the historic stratum is established, the objective is to follow this culture back in time, from historic to prehistoric, with the aid of archeological techniques. As long as a continuum is recognizable, either through stratigraphy or seriation, the culture described at_ any point on this contunuum may be considered ancestral to the historic group. Any dramatic or sudden change in culture recognized at some time in the past is usually thought to represent a break or major alteration in the continuum.


–  –  –

The Northwest Coast Area may be said to extend from Southern Alaska into Northwestern California, the area approximately between the forty-first and sixtieth parallels (Map 1). - The Coast Range may be taken as the eastern boundary, the Pacific Ocean as the western. In reality, a substantial area of salt water must be included in the area as a large part of the livelihood of the inhabitants was derived from the sea. Not only were sheltered inlets, bays, and waterways navigated and exploited, but some of the hardier and more adventurous natives ventured out to sea in search of whales, seals, sea otters, and sea lions. Whale hunting has a relatively limited distribution.

On the other hand, all groups along the coast participated in the taking of other sea mammals to a greater or lesser extent.

Some of the dominant physiographic features of the coastal area are noted. A highly inletted coastal strip, which becomes increasingly apparent as one moves northward, appears to have stemmed from a rise in sea level relative to drainages and river mouths. Most major rivers have the head of the tidewater some distance from the mouth, presenting convenient channels and passages for ships. In California, Oregon, and Southern Washington, inletting is generally restricted to major rivers.

From Puget Sound north, the coastline becomes increasingly complex and finally is seen as a maze of islands, peninsulas, and waterways in Northern British Columbia and Alaska. This is a very important feature for maritime groups, since suitable sheltered anchorages are never a great distance from any point.

Spits and bars at the mouths of bays are a feature of some importance. Many of these spits and bars have grown from the protective presence of a headland which deflects winds and currents in such a way that deposits of sand are formed, eventu ally extending across or nearly across the !math of bays. Other Combinations may also result in the formation of spits and bars.

Quite commonly a sand spit was selected as a native habitation site, the apparent advantages being the proximity of both the open sea and a sheltered bay.

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