Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Origin of the Tucannon phase in Lower Snake River prehistory

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  • Approximately 5,500 years ago a discreet period of wetter and cooler environmental conditions prevailed across the southern Columbia Plateau. This period was marked by the first prominent episodes of erosion to occur along the lower Snake River following the height of the Altithermal and eruption of Mt. Mazama during the mid post-glacial. In addition to the reactivation of small stream courses choked with debris and sediment, large stream channels began downcutting and scouring older terrace faces incorporated with large accumulations of Mazama ash. The resulting degradation of aquatic habitats forced concurrent changes within human economies adapted to the local riverine-environments. These adjustments reported for the Tucannon phase time period along the lower Snake River are notable and demonstrate the degree to which Cascade phase culture was unsuccessful in coping with environmental instability at the end of the Altithermal time period. This successionary event has demonstratively become the most significant post-glacial, qualitative change to occur in the lifeways of lower Snake River people prior to Euro-American influence.
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