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Master of Arts (MA)
Campbell, Sarah K.
Koetje, Todd A.
Boxberger, Daniel L., 1950-
Bird remains are regularly found in archaeological deposits in the Salish Sea region. Predominant paradigms to explain the distribution of archaeological faunal remains primarily focus on diet. Yet, uses of bird remains for purposes other than food are also widely represented in ethnographies. The economic structure of the potlatch is an alternative model to account for the presence of archaeological avifauna. Avifaunal materials contribute to a continuous social system as both food and wealth objects. How avian resources were harvested, transformed into commodities, and used to signal rank and prestige in the context of the potlatch are considered. This study explores how these themes are reflected in the archaeological record over the last 3,500 years of occupation at the village of Xwe’Chi’eXen, 45WH1. A total of 2,109 bird bones were analyzed from two time components that generally correspond with the Locarno Beach and Marpole typological phases. Several patterns consistent with formalization of the gift economy over time were observed. A high frequency of duck wings, and evidence of butchery suggests that wings were intentionally removed, possibly for their flight feathers. Concentrations of bird remains at two locations may indicate potlatch or other ritual related deposition. Increases in frequency of naturally aggregating taxa, and changing patterns of avian diversity over time, are interpreted as increasing reliance on mass harvest hunting techniques. These lines of evidence are argued to represent intensification in the gift economy that result in the formalization of harvest locations as lineage property.
Western Washington University
Cherry Point (Wash.); Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)
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Sholin, Carl E. (Carl Erik), "The Hustle and Bustle of the Coast Salish Potlatch An Exploratory Case Study of Gift Economic Exchange and Bird Resources at the Village of Xwe’Chi’eXen, 45WH1" (2018). WWU Graduate School Collection. 646.