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Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

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Sablefish -- Washington (State) -- History, Northwest Coast of North America -- Archaeology, Lower Elwha Tribal Community -- Washington (State) -- Port Angeles


We analyzed sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) remains from Čḯxwicən (pronounced ch-WHEET-son), a 2700 year-old ancestral village of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe in northwest Washington state, U.S.A., to improve understanding of how this species was used by Native American/First Nations peoples in the past. Though sablefish are abundant at Čḯxwicən, and limited ethnographic accounts indicate they were highly prized in northwestern North America, their remains are rare in regional archaeology. We present a body-size regression model for estimating the fork length (FL) of archaeologically represented sablefish and determining which habitats they were captured from (i.e. shallow, nearshore waters as juveniles or deepwater, offshore sites as adults). FL estimates for sablefish remains from Čḯxwicən indicate the site occupants exclusively targeted inshore juveniles. Comparisons of sablefish abundances over time show juvenile sablefish were reliably and sustainably harvested over the duration of the site's occupation despite major environmental perturbation from regional climate change and tectonic disturbances. However, patterns of sablefish use differ in two Čḯxwicən households, suggesting access to and consumption of sablefish was socially mediated.


© 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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Article is part of a Special Issue of Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports entitled “Tracking human ecodynamics at Čḯxwicən, a 2700 year old coastal forager village in Northwest North America.”



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