From where did our ancient ancestors collect lithic resources within our territory?

Little is known about most of the local contexts from which archaeological toolstone materials originated along the Pacific coast, especially toolstones not composed of volcanic glass (e.g., cherts, extrusive volcanics, etc.).

We are conducting a pilot study of systematic fieldwork and geochemical investigations to establish the nature and distribution of the toolstone-grade facies outcropping throughout the unique geological context of Sts’ailes territory. Working in direct partnership, we will identify and sample lithic sources within Sts’ailes territory, characterize these potential sources, and compare them with archaeological materials by using a series of cutting-edge analytical methods. We will then assess the relationships among artifacts found in Sts’ailes territory and both local and more exotic sources using the aforementioned multiple independent lines of scientific evidence, coupled with sophisticated multivariate statistical approaches, including principal components analyses (PCA), discriminant function analyses (DFA), among other robust techniques.

Ultimately, this research will provide crucial and fundamental baseline information about key Indigenous resource acquisition practices, procurement strategies and use areas, facilitating more accurate and robust interpretations of ancient human-landscape relationships.

You can find the publication of the statistical work here:

McMillan R, Waber N, Ritchie M, Frahm E. 2022. Introducing SourceXplorer, an open-source statistical tool for guided lithic sourcing. Journal of Archaeological Science, 144: 105626.


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