First Advisor

Kenneth M. Ames

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology






Chinookan Indians -- Implements -- Oregon -- Columbia County, Stone implements -- Oregon -- Columbia County, Chinookan Indians -- Oregon -- Columbia County -- Social conditions, Distributional archaeology -- Oregon -- Columbia County, Meier Site (Or.)



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 71 pages)


Social status was an integral part of the social structure of Northwest Coast societies. The presence of ranked social structures and household space based on rank is reported in the ethnographic literature. Archaeologists have long searched for independent and verifiable means to infer social structure from archaeological deposits. Burial goods have been used to identify status differences. Do other items of material culture also reflect such differences?

The purpose of this study was to ascertain whether or not the distribution of certain tools recovered from a Chinookan plank house on the lower Columbia River paralleled the household residence location that was keyed to social status. Among Northwest Coast societies the household was the basic social and economic unit. Ground stone tools were selected for study because they include tools which were instrumental parts of a technology that depended upon highly organized and scheduled activities, i.e. fishing and house construction. If these tools were controlled by particular individuals or families within the household, their archaeological deposition might reflect social status differences.

Two questions were asked in this study. (1) What is the correlation between the volume of sediment excavated and the number of ground stone artifacts recovered from the house? (2) What is the relationship between residence location and the density of ground stone artifacts recovered from the house?

The ground stone artifacts were identified, classified and counted. Correlation coefficients between the volumes of sediment excavated and the number of ground stone artifacts recovered showed that the correlation was suspiciously weak, in general, and not correlated for fishing net weights. Some factor other than solely excavation volumes was affecting ground stone artifact counts. To answer the second question linear regressions were performed. They revealed that although location was to some degree a function of the density of ground stone artifacts, that relationship was weak at the .05 significance level. However, the relationship was stronger for fishing net weights. It is likely that there are multiple reasons for ground stone tool distributions and sites must be excavated with broad exposures in order to understand the relationship between residence location and artifact densities.


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