Late Prehistoric Cultural Horizons on the Canadian Plateau


Thomas H. Richards
Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University
Michael K. Rousseau
Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University


Archaeology, Canada, Plateau, Late prehistoric, Culture history, Chronological control, Subsistence, Settlement patterns, Plateau pithouse tradition, Shuswap horizon, Plateau horizon, Kamloops horizon, Mid-Fraser region, Pithouse


In North American archaeological syntheses, the Canadian Plateau is often either ignored, characterized as identical to the Columbia Plateau, or included with the Columbia Plateau and Great Basin (e.g., "Basin/Plateau"). This situation exists primarily because there are no published archaeological syntheses of Canadian Plateau prehistory. It is hoped that the following culture-historical model for the last ca. 4000 years of Canadian Plateau prehistory will help to ameliorate this problem. We believe this synthetic summary will contribute to a better understanding of the late prehistoric period on the Canadian Plateau, and that it will be useful as a general guideline to structure future culture-historical sequences and provide some measure of chronological control for processual studies. The approach taken in this synthesis has a somewhat "normative" bent (Binford 1965, 1968) with respect to the manner in which the material cultural data are presented. although many important aspects of cultural systems relating to subsistence and settlement are also discussed. This model is not intended to be a final statement on late Canadian Plateau prehistory, and perhaps future research and theoretical trends may partially, or even radically, change some or all aspects of the integrative framework presented here.



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April 29, 2017

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