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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Campbell, Sarah K.

Second Advisor

Koetje, Todd A.

Third Advisor

Boxberger, Daniel L., 1950-


Quartz crystal microblades are a small lithic tool technology dating predominantly to the Locarno Beach Phase (3500-2400 BP) in the Salish Sea region. The function of these tools has not been well established in previous research. This thesis applies morphological, microwear, and residue analyses to a sample assemblage of 68 quartz crystal artifacts from six archaeological sites in northwestern Washington State (45SK46, 45WH1, 45WH17, 45WH47, 45WH55, and 45WH59). The results of these methods determined that quartz crystal microblades were multiuse tools. Morphological analysis determined the variability of object types and metric measurements within the assemblage. Microwear analyses at multiple magnification levels identified a variety of scar types and patterns which suggests that these tools were likely utilized in both end and side-hafts, but were more commonly side-hafted. Results of residue analyses utilizing the cross-over immuno-electrophoresis (CIEP) method determined quartz crystal microblades were used to process rabbit, deer, and salmon. The use of CIEP analysis also identified human proteins, while the use of a scanning electron microscope equipped with an energy dispersive x-ray spectrometer (SEM-EDX) identified red ochre. The combination of human protein with red ochre suggests that this lithic technology may have also served a ceremonial purpose.





Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Microblades--Salish Sea Region (B.C. and Wash.); Excavations (Archaeology)--Salish Sea Region (B.C. and Wash.); Indians of North America--Salish Sea Region (B.C. and Wash.)--Antiquities

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)




masters theses




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