First Advisor

Kenneth Aimes

Term of Graduation


Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Anthropology






Archaeology -- Washington (State) -- Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Architecture -- Washington (State) -- Fort Vancouver National Historic Site – History, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (Vancouver Wash. and Oregon City Or.) -- Antiquities, Vancouver (Wash.) -- Buildings structures etc. -- History, Hudson's Bay Company -- Employees -- Dwellings -- 19th century



Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 243 pages)


In the mid-19th century, the Fort Vancouver employee Village was one of the most diverse settlements on the Pacific Coast. Trappers, tradesmen, and laborers from Europe, North America, and Hawaii worked and lived within a highly stratified colonial social structure. Their homes have been the site of archaeological research for nearly 50 years, but the architectural features and artifacts have received limited attention. Inspired by an 1845 description of the Village that described houses that were "as various in form" as their occupants, this study examined community-level social relationships in this 19th-century fur trade community through vernacular architecture and landscape.

This thesis presents the life histories and layouts of five Village houses. The architectural analysis relied on data from features, square nails, window glass, and bricks. The resulting architectural interpretations were synthesized to explore the larger vernacular landscape of the Village and investigate whether the house styles reflect processes of creolization and community development, or distinction and segregation among the Village residents. The houses all stem from a common French-Canadian architectural tradition, built by the first employees at Fort Vancouver, but the life histories also revealed that the houses were occupied (and repaired) by a second wave of employees at some time during the 1840s. A reminder that Village houses deposits may reflect multiple owners, and should not be conceptualized as the result of a single household. Finally, this thesis demonstrates that nuanced architectural data that can yet be learned from past excavation assemblages when the many nails, bricks, and window glass specimens are reanalyzed using current methods.


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