SOCIAL ECONOMY OF A NORTHWEST COAST PLANK HOUSE

Paul Andrew Ewonus, McMaster University

Abstract

The Dionisio Point site on Galiano Island, British Columbia has been the focus of previous research directed by Dr Colin Grier. This thesis builds upon Grier's excavation and analysis of House 2 at the site through a consideration of animal bone remains. These data are examined at several scales, beginning at the level of excavation units and moving toward a discussion of regional settlement patterns. Temporal trends in fauna within House 2 are visible at only a very fine level of analytical resolution. The nuanced nature of these changes suggests minimal variation in subsistence practice during the use of Dionisio Point. The diversity and scale of such activities are reduced following the abandonment of House 2, although their overall orientation remains very similar. When house inhabitation layers are combined, spatial patterning in faunal remains within the house is likewise observable only through fine-grained analysis. The absence of obvious patterns in the distribution of these spatial data is striking. This suggests that use of House 2 by its inhabitants was more contextual and subtly variable than originally proposed. Multiple lines of archaeological evidence indicate that the house was inhabited during the spring and summer and that Dionisio Point was likely the location of seasonal group aggregation. During the spring and summer months, family groups appear to have arrived at the site according to their individual seasonal routines. At times House 2 itself was inhabited by fewer groups than during the peak of summer aggregation. These yearly movements through the southern Strait of Georgia landscape encompassed a diverse range of activities and preferences. Archaeological evidence from fourteen further Strait of Georgia shell midden sites supports a significant degree of variation in site use. The indication is that social relationships were equally variable across a dialectical continuum of human interaction.