Published In

Wapato Valley Project Archaeological Report #9; Cultural Resource Series Number 17.

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Excavations (Archaeology) -- Washington (State) -- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Historic preservation -- Washington (State) -- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Chinook Indians -- Antiquities, Ridgefield (Wash.) -- Antiquities


This report is one in a series on the archaeology of the Wapato Valley region of the Lower Columbia River. Most of the reports discuss aspects of the excavations and archaeology of two sites, the Meier site (35CO5) and Cathlapotle site (45CL1). Other related topics are also treated.

Attached supplemental files: feature catalogs for Meier and Cathlapotle sites

See Also: Preliminary Report and Catalogs: Archaeological Investigations at 45CL1 Cathlapotle (1991-1996) , Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge Clark County, Washington (1999)

Much as lithic tools or faunal remains, features have the potential to be independent lines of evidence in archaeological hypothesis testing. Using household archaeological theory as a foundation, this report uses hearth and related features from the Cathlapotle (45CL1) and Meier (35CO5) sites to test hypotheses dealing with spatial and temporal variation in production. Spatially, differences should be seen within sites and between sites, with Cathlapotle, with a larger population to support, generally showing greater investment in production. Temporally, the sites were occupied at the start of the fur trade era in the Pacific Northwest. If the people living at these sites were active participants in the fur trade, there should be an intensification of production to meet demand created by that trade. These changes should be reflected in the hearths. One hundred and seventy-nine hearths, hearth dumps, and ovens were identified at the sites. 8,909 faunal elements from 23 taxa were recovered from excavation units associated with these features. A combination of multivariate exploratory data analysis and traditional significance-based testing are used to analyze feature and faunal data. Analyses based on feature size show two distinct patterns. First, features in the northern and central sections of the Meier house tend to cluster together. Similarly, features in the southern section of the Meier house and exterior features cluster. This pattern fits production based on the relative status of the occupants of the house sections. Second, features in the postcontact period tend to be smaller than those located in precontact contexts. This was found at both sites. Faunal analyses tended to reinforce these findings. Analyses of Meier based on faunal remains tended to create northern/central and southern/exterior clusters. Both sites had relatively less variation in faunal remains in the precontact, with increased variation in the postcontact. This variation was often driven by an increase in faunal elements in the postcontact. For example, the faunal assemblages are dominated by deer and elk, which have increased numbers of elements present and increased accumulation rates in the postcontact compared to the precontact. However, the ratio of one to the other remained constant across temporal components. This same pattern holds generally for most mammalian fauna. Faunal and feature analysis point to a core of production in the precontact, probably driven by household demand. From this core increased variation in the postcontact suggests intensification of production as people at these sites took part in the fur trade.

Persistent Identifier