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Journal of Northwest Anthropology

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Excavations (Archaeology) -- Oregon, Oregon -- Antiquities


Excavations at the late prehistoric-early historic Chinookan sites of Meier and Cathlapotle in the Greater Lower Columbia Region recovered several hundred metal artifacts. Portable X-ray fluorescence (XRF) was used initially to quickly determine metal type. Then a sample of copper artifacts was subjected to another round of XRF analysis to identify the presence of native copper and, or, chronologically sensitive copper metals. No native copper artifacts were identified and the lack of Muntz metal, a specific type of brass patented in the 1830s, corroborates the dating of material from both sites as no later than the early historic period. Meier and Cathlapotle were important sites for the indigenous working of trade copper, some of which was likely destined for Native communities further inland. This trade copper was a highly valued prestige good in the Plateau and Pacific Northwest and it moved rapidly through Native trade networks in advance of other non-Native trade goods and continued to be used for personal adornment and incorporated into burials into the nineteenth century.


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