Virginia L. Butler

Date of Award

Summer 8-20-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Anthropology



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 111 pages)


Coastal archaeology -- Washington (State) -- Olympic Peninsula, Fish remains (Archaeology) -- Northwest Coast of North America, Earthquakes -- Northwest Coast of North America, Tse-whit-zen Village Site (Wash.)




Evidence of large earthquakes occurring along the Pacific Northwest coast is reflected in coastal stratigraphy from Oregon to British Columbia, where there also exists an extensive archaeological record of Native American occupation. Tse-whit-zen, a large Native American village dating between 1824 and 54 cal B.P. located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, was excavated with exceptionally fine stratigraphic control allowing for precise comparison of natural and cultural records. Here I report on the >10,000 fish remains from one 2x2 m excavation block; this assemblage spans one earthquake event, allowing study of changes in relative taxonomic abundance through time that may coincide with earthquakes or other environmental changes. Results indicate use of a wide range of marine fish taxa including various sculpins (Cottidae), flatfish (Pleuronectiformes), herring (Clupea pallasii) and salmon (Oncorhynchusspp.). This illustrates a highly diverse diet throughout occupation, though relative abundances of more offshore taxa decrease through time in favor of some nearshore taxa, possibly indicating the presence of a coseismic event. This thesis serves as part of a pilot study for a collaborative project that is underway. This larger project addresses human response to both gradual and abrupt environmental change through the analysis of all classes of Tse-whit-zen faunal remains, which provide a link to impacts on animal populations and in turn human subsistence.

Persistent Identifier