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Date Permissions Signed


Date of Award

Summer 2018

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-


Human settlement of the Gulf of Georgia region by hunter-forager peoples began nearly 5000 years ago, culminating in the familiar Developed Northwest Coast Pattern exhibited in many Marpole Phase archaeological sites beginning 2400 years BP throughout the Gulf of Georgia region. The physical remnants of the intensive shellfish collection and processing that took place on the Northwest Coast are in shell midden deposits: archaeological sites that contain an abundance of discarded shell, bones, lithic tools, and charcoal. The preceding Locarno Beach Phase (3500-2400 BP), particularly in the southern Gulf of Georgia region, is less well understood by archaeologists because of the past academic focus on northern Marpole Phase sites. The Woodstock Farm site (45WH55) is a Locarno Beach Phase shell midden located in the southern Gulf of Georgia, adjacent to Chuckanut Bay in Whatcom County, Washington. Recorded in 1974, the site has been the subject of three Western Washington University archaeological field schools in 2005, 2007, and 2010, and the shell midden identified on the bluff has been the focus of study for past Anthropology graduate theses at WWU. This thesis applies a program of geoarchaeological analysis, including radiocarbon dating, grain size analysis, magnetic susceptibility, and phosphorous values, to twenty five matrix samples from the approximately 4-square meter exposed beach profile shell midden below the bluff of 45WH55. To date, there has been no geochemical or geophysical lab analysis to help interpret the depositional processes that created the complex stratigraphy that characterizes the exposed shell midden in the beach profile at 45WH55. The numerous ash lenses, layers of burnt shell, and charcoal in the shell midden indicates repeating task-specific activities that are more typical of post-Locarno Beach phases. The purpose of these tests was to describe the human activities that created the distinct and repeating layers by combining macro-level observations of the stratigraphy with micromorphological analysis of the collected midden samples. The goals were to distinguish between depositional processes present in the midden and identify archaeological features related to anthropogenic subsistence activities. The results of the laboratory tests supported the hypothesis that the shell midden is the result of in-situ anthropogenic deposition, and not contemporaneous with the Locarno Beach phase portion of 45WH55 on the upper bluff. The midden yielded later Phase dates between 508 BP and 933 BP, indicating over a thousand years of continued use of 45WH55 for intensive shellfish collection and processing. I detected evidence of hearth reuse, which aligns with the intensive, specialized subsistence activities that are expressed in later Phase archaeological sites throughout the Gulf of Georgia. This research will add to our knowledge about the history of occupation of the Woodstock Farm site.




Shell midden, Locarno Beach phase, geoarchaeology, archaeology, Coast Salish, Northwest Coast, subsistence, Gulf of Georgia, phosphorous, magnetic susceptibility.



Western Washington University

OCLC Number


Subject – LCSH

Kitchen-middens--Washington (State)--Whatcom County; Archaeological geology--Washington (State)--Whatcom County; Paleo-Indians--Food----Washington (State)--Whatcom County; Indians of North America--Washington (State)--Whatcom County--Antiquities

Geographic Coverage

Whatcom County (Wash.)




masters theses




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