Prehistoric land-use patterns in the North Santiam subbasin on the western slopes of the Oregon Cascade Range Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/6108vg40j

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  • This thesis examines prehistoric land use patterns of the entire North Santiam subbasin, located on the western slopes of the Oregon Cascade Range. The objective of this analysis is three-fold: 1) to contribute to reconstructing the cultural chronology of the area; 2) to address the use of raw material by local hunter-gatherers and how raw material can be used to reconstruct the seasonal procurement ranges for these groups; and 3) to model the adaptive strategies of the prehistoric inhabitants of the North Santiam subbasin. The adaptive strategies of hunter-gatherer groups in the North Santiam subbasin are addressed by using the known ethnographic record, limited archaeological excavations, and the environmental and social data layers in Geographic Information Systems. ArcView Spatial Analyst was used to analyze the density and distribution of prehistoric sites and their association with major vegetation, huckleberry patches, non-forested communities, slope, aspect, streams, lithic sources, hot springs and trails within the subbasin. Five elevation zones are outlined corresponding to the site density pattern and the key predictive environmental and social variables. This study assumed that sites are not randomly distributed across the landscape; instead hunter-gatherer groups chose a particular location based on the natural environment. It is also assumed that many of the environmental variables have survived to modern time and are represented by the presently available data. Concurrent trace element analysis by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry and obsidian hydration analysis conducted on projectile points recovered from the surface and subsurface have provided evidence for early occupation in the subbasin; and revealed patterns in mobility, social interaction, and the use of raw material during the Archaic. The key predictive variables sustained a diversity of plant and animal resources that attracted human groups from both east and west of the Cascade Mountains over the past 10,000 years to seasonally hunt and procure a variety of important plant resources. The results of this study while descriptive in nature elucidates a pattern of land-use by hunter-gatherers, by providing key distributional data on prehistoric sites and their association to particular ecological zones within the North Santiam subbasin during the Archaic Period.
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