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The archaeology of EeQw:1 : a burial site near Chase, British Columbia Sanger, David

Abstract

The archaeology of EeQw:1, a burial site near Chase in south central British Columbia, is a study of a recent Plateau site in territory inhabited ethnographically by Shuswap. In September 1960 a small field party sponsored by the National Research Council of Canada and the University of British Columbia excavated five burials from the desecrated site. All the interments were flexed, either to the left or to the right, and were placed in unmarked pits. Among the collections from EeQw:1 were many varied and finely fashioned artifacts including: chipped points and knives, jade celts, steatite pipes and carvings, antler digging stick handles and harpoons, antler carvings, bone awls, whale bone clubs, sea-shells, a birch bark container, copper ornaments and a wooden mask. An examination of assemblages of other Plateau sites indicated that material from Lytton, Kamloops, and the upper Columbia River in Washington corresponded most closely with the material from EeQw:1. A close correlation between the assemblage from EeQw:1 and one from Kamloops excavated by H. I. Smith, leads to a tentative proposal of four periods in the recent prehistory of the Kamloops - Chase Area. A review of published and unpublished sources of Plateau prehistory indicated many extra-areal influences, especially from the Coast. In the Canadian Plateau, a number of traits may be attributable to the Coast Salish, and include mortuary practices and artifacts. It has often been suggested that crematory burial practices in the Plateau could be traced to the Tsimshian via the Carrier; however, in the light of the probable antiquity of cremation burial in the Plateau, this position is no longer tenable. Using ethnographic accounts of Plateau societies, Ray has divided the culture area into six sub-areas. These divisions can also be demonstrated in the archaeological record. Finally, the study has raised a number of pertinent questions and problems concerned with Plateau prehistory. The answers to many of these queries may be gained through more fieldwork in any one of three selected locations: the Chilcotin, the Lytton to Lillooet region, and the Kamloops - Chase Area.

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