Hunter-gatherer settlement and land use in the Central Canadian Rockies, AD 800-1800
thesisposted on 16.07.2010, 08:59 authored by Roderick James Heitzmann
Hunters and gatherers can be viewed as part of ecosystems. Through their actions, hunter-gatherers can modify, alter and shape ecosystem structures and components. The Central Canadian Rockies ecosystem was selected to explore the impact and role of humans in this ecosystem as a case study. This study examines the archaeology of the Central Canadian Rockies from the perspective of hunter-gatherer research, theory and concepts. Even in this marginal environment, archaeological investigations have shown that people lived and travelled here. This study examines and evaluates several classes of data including site types, stone tool utilisation, tool technology, subsistence and seasonality, complemented with examination of potentially available ecological resources. Several alternate models of hunter-gatherer utilisation are formulated for the Central Canadian Rockies between AD 800 and AD 1800. The result is a reconstructed ethnology of the area’s occupants that models how these people may have organised themselves through a yearly cycle to best utilise limited resources. Associational and sacred landscape features are examined to further evaluate the models. Changing social dynamics identified in historic and ethnographic records are reviewed and synthesised with the reconstructed Late Precontact ethnology to better understand Native peoples’ utilisation of the Central Canadian Rockies in this period. Conclusions are drawn about the application of hunter-gatherer research, theory and models in reconstructing an ethnology of hunter-gatherers based on limited archaeological and palaeo-ecological data, and in assessing the impacts of hunter-gatherers to this mountain ecosystem.