Technical Report

Environment, Prehistory & Archaeology of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
Greg C. Burtchard

Chapter 4:

By the end of 1990, at least 34 possible prehistoric sites or isolated finds had been reported for Mount Rainier National Park. Site accounts were present in a variety of books, inventory reports, internal memos and museum notes. Few of these reports, however, were documented formally or integrated into an organized database for the Park. Indeed, all but eight of the field sites (FS) and all of the isolated finds (IF) included in Tables and Figures 3.1 through 3.3 in Chapter 3 remained unverified. Some of the unverified reports included map locations; many did not. Some of the artifacts found their way into museum storage at Longmire; others disappeared to individual or institutional collections. In short, Mount Rainier prehistoric site data and cultural remains were scattered. At the beginning of the present project, then, only eight sites were documented with the Washington Office of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (OAHP)–all but one through efforts taking place from 1986 through 1990. McClure's (1990) research, and perhaps Bergland's (1986) earlier investigations, were the only serious attempts to impose order on the Park's archaeological record.

The present project was intended to expand and impose order on the archaeological record as it appeared in the early 1990s. It was awarded formally to the International Archaeological Research Institute, Inc. (IARII) in 1994 (Park Service Contract 1443-CX9000-93-020, Task 5). Fieldwork was completed in 1995. Primary project goals were to 1) consolidate existing prehistoric site and isolate reports; 2) locate and reevaluate or document as many of these localities as practical; and 3) expand the site database through new survey structured to widely sample Park landforms and environmental zones. In concert with environmental research, these data were to be used to generate environmental and site stratification expectations discussed in Chapter 2 and continued in this and the following chapter.

The preceding chapter consolidated site and isolate information available at the beginning of the present project (also see Appendix A). [24] The sections below describe field procedures, and summarize and interpret various aspects of the results of the 1995 effort. The concluding section, coauthored by Stephen Hamilton, presents lithic analytical results and implications for intersite variation in the current Mount Rainier sample. References should be made to this report's companion 1995 Reconnaissance Data volume (Burtchard and Hamilton 1998) for site-specific information.

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Last Updated: Monday, 18-Oct-2004 20:10:54
Author: Natural & Cultural Resources Division

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