Conclusions Anna Marie Prentiss The 2012 field season of the Bridge River Archaeological Project returned to Housepit 54, an averagesized housepit with an astounding stratigraphic record featuring intact occupation floors spanning many generations, nearly all predating 1000 years ago. But the final floor and roof had been established much later and, as we have detailed, were likely created and occupied during the late portion of the Fur Trade period in British Columbia history. As excavations proceeded that summer, it became increasingly evident that not only was this likely a Fur Trade period occupation, but that it had far better preservation of organic materials than we had expected, and extremely abundant artifacts and features within both the roof and floor contexts. Reflecting on Carlson’s (2000, 2006) groundbreaking archaeological research into aboriginal occupations at Thompson Rivers Post/Fort Kamloops, we realized that this could provide a unique opportunity to examine in significant detail an Interior aboriginal society in a landscape located at some distance from the growing centers of European commerce and trade, but nonetheless still embroiled in the currents of the fur trade in the midnineteenth century. Our research focused on defining the actual dates of occupation, the architecture of the house, technologies and subsistence strate gies, goods production and exchange, and the sociality of the inhabitants. Drawing upon these findings, we sought to develop an understanding of changes in economic and political practices that occurred between the final pre-Colonial period and the later fur trade era. Throughout all studies, we maintained a focus on understanding the original occupants as active agents making the best of a rapidly changing world. While there are many more questions raised by this study, we have arrived at a place where we can pause and discuss these findings, explore their potential contributions, and consider some final thoughts. Housepit 54 in the Early to MidNineteenth Century The Venetian, Bohemian, and German factories dominated the world market for glass beads in the midnineteenth century. One particular form, manufactured starting in 1851 (Karklins 1985), featured a white body and red and green stripes, and it was traded widely in Africa but was not common in British Columbia despite very active trade relations between indigenous groups and a range of Europeans in the Interior and on the coast. Somehow some of these beads did make it into Interior British Columbia and were deposited within the final occupation of Housepit 54, permitting us to assign a date to the occupation. Assuming time for transport halfway around the world by sailing ship and subsequent overland transport, these items likely entered the archaeological record no earlier than about 1852. This does not necessarily mean that the house had not been occupied before that. Anna Marie Prentiss 248 Other European and Euro American trade goods were also found, including beads whose periods of use could span the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries, a faunal bone button known to have been manufactured in the early to midnineteenth century, a horseshoe also best known during the early to midnineteenth century, a typical nineteenthcentury brassfinger ring, and sets of iron projectile points andjingle cones that could span the later eighteenth through later nineteenth centuries. Radiocarbon dating confirms the possibility of a nineteenthcentury occupation but does us little good in narrowing down specific decades. Thus, from the standpoint of artifacts and radiocarbon dating, it is possible that the house had been in use for some time before the striped beads arrived. Roof and rim midden stratigraphy does not provide good evidence for much more than a single generation of occupation; however, it is also possible that our understanding of formation processes associated with roof strata is incomplete, and that the house was occupied for more than one generation prior to the 1850s. It is unlikely, however, that Housepit 54 was in use past about 1858, as it is well known that the impact of the gold rush was severe, leading to significant turnover in material culture, altered food production regimes, and rearrangement of human groups, none of which are in evidence in this context. Thus, we have concluded that Housepit 54 was most likely occupied during the period spanning approximately the mid 1830s to late 1850s. The Aboriginal World Europeans had an established but not overwhelming presence lower in the Fraser Canyon, in the Upper Fraser, and in the Thompson drainage during the Fur Trade period. However, they had not established a.
|Title of host publication
|The Last House at Bridge River
|Subtitle of host publication
|The Archaeology of an Aboriginal Household in British Columbia during the Fur Trade
|University of Utah
|Number of pages
|Published - Jan 1 2017