Environment, Prehistory & Archaeology of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
On Mount Rainier, the consistent site distribution bias toward subalpine habitats, the apparent tendency toward low density, low diversity assemblages and, most of all, the limitation of the currently known archaeological record to the latter half of the Holocene create an impression of long-term stability in settlement and subsistence practices. This impression may not be accurate. Indeed, there is compelling reason to believe that the way in which the region's upland landscapes were linked to lowland populations may have changed dramatically from early to late Holocene. However, the manner in which these changes are mirrored by corresponding variation, if any, in the character of upland archaeological assemblages has yet to be demonstrated. The intent here is to lay the groundwork for anticipating the nature of these changes by drawing attention to 1) basic shifts in regional and montane land-use practices through time; and 2) impacts, if any, on the archaeological record of the southern Washington Cascades as represented in Mount Rainier National Park.
To date, the most thorough ecologically oriented long-term settlement and subsistence models for Pacific Northwest montane environments are those developed by Randall Schalk (1988) for Olympic National Park, by Robert Mierendorf (1986, 1996) for North Cascades National Park, and by the author for the northern Rocky Mountains and the northern Oregon Cascades near Mt. Hood (Burtchard 1987, 1990:14-26).
Others also have employed ecological arguments to help understand site distribution patterns in Northwest mountains. Morris Uebelacker (1986), for example, develops a habitat model for the eastern flank of the southern Washington Cascades and relates it to site type distribution patterns and ethnohistoricly reported subsistence strategies. Paul Baxter (1986) and Sandra Snyder (1987) address human population movements and location of habitation sites in relation to patterned availability of upland plants and animals in the central Oregon Cascades. While employing ecological principles, however, these approaches rely heavily on early ethnohistoric patterns, projected into the prehistoric past. They do not come to grips with subsistence and settlement changes that we now believe differentiate early from later Holocene land-use systems, nor do they deal with causal mechanisms underlying such social and land-use changes.
The long-term models are built on similar theoretical foundations. In particular, all view human populations as an integral part of larger environmental systems; all see the balance between human population density and resource abundance as central to understanding basic structure and change in subsistence systems; and all are constructed around basic organizational components of the forager/collector continuum originally proposed by Binford (1980) to explain latitudinal variation in hunter-gatherer settlement patterns. This three-part foundation is important to understanding and evaluating the Holocene land-use model and archaeological expectations offered here.
The view that human organizations are an integral part of their larger environment and respond to ecological variables in a manner comparable to other organisms is what confers predictability through time and across space. Perhaps most important is the role of language and complex cultural behaviorthe characteristics most often touted as those which separates Homo sapiens from the lower species; freeing humans from ecological constraints that regulate other species less sophisticated existence. Here and in the models noted above, it is assumed that, while culture and the technological capacity that flows from it confer substantial competitive advantage to human populations, it does not free them from the ecological constraints that affect other organisms. Their primary effect, rather, is to increase the range of potential human responses and dramatically enhance the speed at which those responses can be made. Human group behavior patterns constitute cultural traits than can figuratively "turn on a dime" when factors inducing change are severe. Because cultural characteristics are subject to rapid and varied change, attempts to explain such phenomena as subsistence and settlement practices by reference to culturally-based group mind-sets, expectations, differences and so on, are inherently tautological and non-explanatory. Such attempts can never reach to more basic causes of the cultural phenomena themselves and, hence, cannot come to grips with regularities and variation that take place over very long periods of time.
It is more productive to view regularities and variation in regional cultural patterns in their broader environmental context. Dominant cultural patterns at any given point in time and place reflect dynamic system states rooted in complex and ongoing feedback relationships between humans and the environments within which they strive to survive and reproduce (cf., Leonard and Reed 1993:649-650). Cultural systemsincluding settlement and subsistence systems of primary interest herecan be expected to remain relatively stable so long as they function well enough to reliably sustain most of their members most of the time. Systems can be expected to change, perhaps rapidly, when critical shortfalls become widespread and chronic. The explanation for relative stability and/or change, then, does not lie in the cultural system itself, or even in introduction of new cultural systems or ideas into a region, but rather in the selective context through which some ideas are adopted and transmitted, while others are ignored or fall into disuse. It is this focus on selective context that underlies the long-term land-use approaches and allows them to predict basic settlement and subsistence patterns well beyond the shallow temporal depth of ethnohistoricly based models. Equally important, archaeological predictions derived through application of ecological models provide direction and interpretive context for continuing research efforts, and permit rejection or refinement of ideas as new data become available.
It must be emphasized, however, that ecological arguments made here do not imply that all cultural manifestations are adaptive or that cultural systems cannot act, for a time, in ways that are actively maladaptive (i.e., that serve to reduce the fitness of its members) in the face of environmental pressure to the contrary. They simply hold that cultural traits respond to external stimuli, and that the relative stability of these traits through time may be understood by reference to cause and effect relationships. In essence, traits serving to enhance the fitness of the members (or that are at least neutral) tend to be differentially replicated and perpetuated through time. Traits that reduce fitness tend to be lost.
Implications of population and resource processes in the Northwest have been discussed in some detail by Schalk (1988:10-12), Burtchard (1987, 1990:15-16) and Schalk and Atwell (1994:1-42).  Central to these ecological approaches is the notion that resource distribution and abundance relative to population density is of fundamental importance in determining the basic form and relative stability of regional settlement and subsistence systems. It is suggested further, that the natural biological tendency toward increasing population density among successful speciesparticularly pronounced among colonizing species such as early Holocene humans in North Americawill, over time, result in resource instability sufficient to cause reorganization of subsistence strategieseven in the absence of environmental change. In essence, the process creates a natural distinction between economies of 1) colonizing systems functioning in a context of low population density and relative resource abundance, versus 2) regionally packed systems forced to develop mechanisms to support higher population density in a context of heightened competition for limited critical resources.
Though the process is most easily viewed in terms of polar extremes, it should be borne in mind that actual circumstances at different times and places lead to variable responses in the face of dynamic resource options and population demands. The common thread, however, is a tendency toward more intensive exploitation of the landscape as population density increases and/or critical resources become limiting. Intensification, or the process of extracting increasing amounts of energy from finite land area (Schalk and Atwell 1994:15; cf., Boserup 1965:43-44), is the heart of changing land-use strategies and the forager to collector shift as it is applied to land-use systems in the Pacific Northwest.
Imbedded within the population/resource/land-use arguments developed here is the contention that the manner in which humans organize use of the landscape at any point in time reflects feedback relationships between established practices rooted in the past and the practical need to maintain a stable supply of critical resources in the present and predictable future. Because these feedback relationships are complex, because solutions to resource problems are generally experimental and multifaceted, and because of lag time between individual recognition of the need for change (stimuli) and the general adoption of modified land-use practices (response), there is no reason to expect any land-use system to be truly optimal when viewed only in a narrow time frame.
Despite this complexity, the most viable and hence successful groups over the long-term are those whose land-use systems are best fit to local resource constraints. Accordingly, while recognizing that the fit will not be perfect, over the long-term hunter-gatherers should 1) exhibit regularities in the ways subsistence and settlement practices accommodate resource abundance and distribution patterns; and 2) tend to optimize return of critical resources (particularly staple food supplies, clothing, shelter and implement materials) for labor investment.
Successful groups must routinely adjust subsistence and settlement strategies as members strive to maintain a stable resource base in the face of variable climate and rising population density. During periods in which resources are stable and abundant relative to demand (e.g., the early Holocene) it is reasonable to expect relatively simple land-use systems, minimal intergroup contact, and relative stability in land-use practices through time. Times of acute shortfalls should narrow the range of successful subsistence strategies. Social responses to chronic shortfalls (ostensibly in the mid-Holocene) should include increased competition and punctuated change in the form of emigration, development of social mechanisms to buttress resource supply (e.g., territorial boundaries and trade networks), increased labor investment relative to return, and/or focused management or exploitation of lower return resources and those most responsive to intense exploitation (e.g., increased reliance on domesticates or intensively exploitable non-domesticates). These are all elements of the intensification process envisioned here.
It is the predictable regularity of such tendencies that facilitates model building and generation of objective tests for the archaeological record without regard to racial or cultural differences, or even necessary prior reference to ethnographic sources.  The general manner in which resource/population processes play out through time will vary with the capacity of regional resources to sustain intensive use without collapse. In essence, regions with edible resources amenable to domestication or capable of sustaining high exploitation levels will tend to develop settlement and subsistence systems oriented around them. Regions lacking intensively exploitable commodities cannot be expected to witness comparable changes and will instead tend toward mechanisms to cope with chronic resource pressure within the basic status quo anti (e.g., emigration and population control).
In the Pacific Northwest, we can expect such processes to underlie a series of resource-related mid-Holocene changes; all leading toward more intensive use of the landscape and elevated social complexity. Resource changes include: a punctuated shift toward greater reliance on anadromous fish along productive river systems; increased reliance on storable staples such as camas or wapato in appropriate habitats; increased reliance on marine resources and lower return resources such as smaller body size game and marginal plant resources; and increased efforts to improve ungulate habitat with fire (cf., Schalk 1988:11-12). These processes also selected for aggregated settlement in places that optimized access to mass harvested and stored staples. Exploitation of resources at logistically challenging places like Mount Rainier would have had to accommodate scheduling and labor demands of more critical lowland commodities. Accordingly, at a broad scale, we can expect land-use practices to have become logistically tethered to lowland villages. The change from mobile, small group foraging economies to such logistically constrained strategies is an essential element of forager to collector land-use models, and is the central concept of the model offered here.
Origins: Willow Smoke and Dogs' Tails
Though anticipated in Nunamiut Ethnoarchaeolgy (Binford 1978), Lewis Binford (1980 [republished 1983]) formally presented his forager to collector ideas in the Willow Smoke article. Binford's interest lay in explaining what he believed to be a fundamental organizational contrast between low and high latitude hunter-gatherers. His two-part model contrasted settlement systems adapted to 1) regions lacking marked seasonal or spatial variation in critical resource abundance; versus 2) highly seasonal or extremely patchy environments. All else being equal, more temporally and spatially uniform environments tend to be located in non-desert, equatorial settings. Resource seasonalitywhat Binford termed temporal incongruity or phasinggenerally increases with latitude north and south. Spatial incongruity may occur in any latitude where critical resources are widely separate.
Simply put, Binford argued that the most viable adaptive strategy in uniform environments is a foraging mode of production in which consumers maintain a high level of residential mobility, moving to new resource procurement areas as local productivity declines. Accordingly, forager settlement systems are characterized by frequent, relatively short distance residential moves with negligible storage at any of the residential bases. Due to relatively short duration stays, bulk resource input and processing tends to be minimal at any specific point.
Redundancy in land-use practices from place to place tends to limit forager site type variability. Binford suggested that forager sites could be collapsed into two basic kindsresidential bases and resource acquisition locations. Binford (1983:343) saw residential bases as the "hub of subsistence activities, the locus out of which foraging parties originate and where most processing, manufacturing and maintenance activities take place." Locations are places where extractive tasks are carried out. Use limitations are expected to affect the character of the archaeological record of these places. Binford (1983:343) notes that:
The similarity between Binford's locations and many of the sites recorded on Mount Rainier is striking, despite the Park's marked seasonality and high latitude setting.
In contrast, a logistic or collecting mode of production is the most viable strategy for groups residing in environments with a temporally or spatially incongruous resource base. Because food resources tend to be unavailable for an extended winter period and/or too distant to be accessed by repeated short-distance, short-duration moves, the most practical strategy tends to be one in which goods are moved to consumers by logistically organized food procurement groups. Collector residential bases tend to be situated in places that optimize access to resources or at places where particularly critical resources are abundant. Residential moves are infrequent. Rather than shifting primary residence to multiple procurement areas, collected goods tend to be returned to the center for storage and redistribution. Because of more intricate organizational requirements, collector systems tend to be more socially complex than foragers. While not addressed in the Willow Smoke article, collector systems generally are capable of supporting higher population densities than foraging systems (when not in a severely resource limited environment), and importantly, often require elevated population levels simply to meet labor requirements of the logistic system itself. 
Intersite variation is greater among collector populations because of greater functional variation in use of space. Binford attempted to accommodate this variability by adding field camps, stations and caches to residential bases and locations common to all hunter-gatherers. He defines field camps as places where hunting parties are maintained while away from the residential base essentially short-term, task-specific (or limited-task) residences in which only a portion of the larger group resides. Locations are defined above, but now may be tethered either to residential bases or to field camps. Stations or observation sites are used for information collection on game presence or movement. Caches are temporary storage places. Again, though simplified, the similarity to Mount Rainier sites is clear.
The power of Binford's forager/collector model lies in its capacity to subsume much of the basic organizational variability in ethnographically documented hunter-gatherer populations worldwide, and do so by relying on pan-cultural causal principles that facilitate empirical examination of archaeological expectations. The power of Binford's work notwithstanding, there are two obvious problems involved in applying the dichotomy to long-term changes in hunter-gatherer settlement and subsistence systems in the Pacific Northwest. First, and most obvious, the model originally was developed to explain patterned variation in recent hunter-gatherers around the world. It was not intended to apply to change through time. Second, casual application of the model's resource uniformity versus spatio-temporal incongruity arguments imply that only collectors, not foragers, would be best fit to the seasonal environmental constraints of the Pacific Northwest. Each of these issues warrants brief comment.
Binford's ideas address graded variation in hunter-gatherer subsistence systems from simple (i.e., foragers) to complex (collectors) across space. He did not consider comparable change through time. Even so, the capacity of the forager/collector model to subsume basic distinctions in subsistence strategies extends beyond Binford's self imposed limits. Independent, small group foraging economies tend to function poorly in a context of high population density. Faced with regional population packing, successful foragers must either emigrate to new areas, find ways to arrest population at sustainable levels or develop means to squeeze more food energy out of existing space. The latter option involves adopting more intensive and complex resource acquisition, storage and distribution strategies. To do so in a seasonal environment, hunter-gatherers must develop subsistence practices centered on seasonally abundant staple resources that can be mass harvested for storage and redistribution without collapsing from intensive use.
In the Pacific Northwest, resources that can sustain intensive exploitation are fewanadromous fish, marine resources, camas, wapato, lomatium and perhaps others. It is a central premise here, that a mid-Holocene shift toward intensive use of these resources and development of aggregated, semisedentary to fully sedentary communities is most parsimoniously explained by population/resource imbalance due primarily to population levels elevated beyond carrying capacity sustainable with a forager based economy (cf., Schalk 1988:10-12; Mierendorf 1996; Burtchard 1987, 1990:14-25). Less labor-intensive high return wild game could not indefinitely support increasing human predation pressure, ultimately forcing regionwide logistical reorientation toward reliance on alterative resources capable of withstanding intensive exploitation. In the southern Washington Cascades, this means salmon.
Some of the above considerations apply to the second "problem" as well. Binford's original criteria imply that a foraging mode of production would not be expected in regions with marked winter seasonality like the Pacific Northwest. Indeed, this is the point of view taken by Aikens et al. (1986) in their Affluent Collectors article. This certainly was so when the ethnographic record that figures in Binford's (1980) and Schalk's (1978) ideas was made. The ethnographic pattern, however, is temporally shallow. There is compelling reason to believe that early Holocene land-use patterns differed fundamentally from those of the late Holocene. There is no doubt, for example, that early Holocene group sizes were smaller, residential mobility was higher and assemblages less complex than during the late Holocene. In any case, even if early Holocene, winter season mobility was reduced somewhat relative to summer, there is little doubt that such restriction did not approach the level of sedentism and logistical organization common to later collectors. In my opinion, the forager distinction is warranted.
It is important to recognize that a clear forager/collector pattern should not be expected to occur as a simple dichotomy or to be everywhere uniform (see Kelly 1995). Binford (1983:355) himself recognized that "...logistical and residential variability are not to be viewed as opposing principles ...but as organizational alternatives which may be employed in varying mixes in different settings." Across the greater Pacific Northwest, a settlement and subsistence pattern characterized by high residential mobility, low bulk processing and negligible storage appears to have sustained the early Holocene's low density populations. Regionally, a relatively abrupt change toward restricted residential mobility and high bulk procurement and storage of anadromous fish took place during the mid-Holocene; most plausibly to accommodate increased population demands. Accordingly, despite differences in focus from Binford's original intent, the forager/collector model remains a useful tool to characterize subsistence and settlement systems of early versus mid to late Holocene hunter-gatherers in the Pacific Northwest.
The first use of intensification principles to explain and model change through time was by Schalk and Cleveland (1983) in their Chronological Perspective on Hunter-Gatherer Land Use Strategies in the Columbia Plateau. In essence, they applied what had heretofore been solely a spatial concept to organizational variation between early and late Holocene hunter-gatherers in the inland Northwest. Schalk and Cleveland's model divided the Holocene into three temporal periods based on subsistence and settlement patterns believed to predominate over much of the region: Broad Spectrum Foraging from earliest human entry into the region to circa 4,500 years ago; Semisedentary Foraging from 4,500 to about 500 years ago; and Equestrian Foraging from introduction of the horse until mobility was restricted by enforcement of the reservation system in the mid-1800s. Feeling that it oversimplified organizational diversity among complex hunter-gatherers, Schalk and Cleveland refrained from using the term "collector." Even so, the mid-Holocene shift to semisedentary foraging involved changes in procurement, processing, storage and settlement practices comparable (at least seasonally) to Binford's collector terminology as it now is commonly applied.
I prefer to call the southern Columbia Plateau model and related approaches that followed (e.g., Schalk 1984; Thoms and Burtchard 1987; Mierendorf 1986; Ames 1985, 1988; Burtchard 1990) forager intensification models. The differences between them and forager-to-collector constructs is largely semantic. Binford's use of forager-collector labels to contrast residential versus logistic mobility among hunter-gatherers, may be mnemonically awkward, but has become common parlance. It is important not to be distracted by labels, but rather focus on land-use implications of the strategies modeled. The mid-Holocene shift toward more nearly sedentary, logistically organized hunter-gatherers appears to be wellgrounded whether called semisedentary foragers or collectors. Schalk and Cleveland deserve credit for drawing attention to these processes in the greater Pacific Northwest.
Forager Intensification in the North and Central Cascades
The primary refinements of these models to Schalk and Cleveland's (1983) original lay in 1) distinguishing very early post-Pleistocene foraging from broader spectrum foraging focusing on medium sized species; 2) incorporating montane habitats; and 3) suggesting that intensification processes may have increased pressure for logistic reorganization even after semisedentary foraging (collector) strategies were begun. The Mt. Hood model also considered social, subsistence and settlement reorganization caused by precipitous population loss following introduction of European diseases.
Cordilleran Foragers and Collectors on the Olympic
The Olympic model is a hybrid in nomenclature only. It develops important resource related implications for long-term use of Northwest mountainsimplications with direct predictive consequences for the late Holocene archaeological record of high elevation landscapes. Despite differences in titles and temporal ranges, the Olympic model shares structural similarities with North Cascades and Mt. Hood intensification models (see Table 5.2 for comparison). Like Mierendorf and Burtchard's Early Broad Spectrum Foraging category, for example, Schalk's Paleo-Indian Foraging period is intended to accommodate earliest colonizing populations (as evidenced by lance-sized projectile pointsespecially Clovis fluted and large stemmed points). Schalk (1988:88-90) improves on our efforts by summarizing then available regional Paleoindian data, and summarizing and calling attention to the problems with dates purporting to age archaeological remains earlier than 11,000 B.P.
Table 5.2 Northwest Land-Use Intensification Models
Most of Schalk's effort is given to Old Cordilleran foraging systems in the montane and marine context of the Olympic Peninsula. He notes widespread occurrence of willow-leaf shaped dart points with lenticular cross-section (i.e., Cascade points)  and, consistent with forager expectations, limited spatial or temporal intersite variability (Schalk 1988:90-91). He argues that a mobile foraging economy is particularly well suited to Northwest mountains, despite northerly latitude, due to the tendency of large ungulates to aggregate in the foot hills and intermontane valleys during the winter and to move to high elevation pastures during the summer. Accordingly, a high mobility rest-rotation foraging pattern shifting between relatively closely spaced upper and lower elevation landscapes, moving to new locations as local productivity declined, would have been well suited to the mountains so long as population density (hence, predation pressure) remained low. The early Holocene should have been particularly well suited to the low competition requirements of this Early Old Cordilleran Foraging pattern due to low population density and enhanced ungulate forage in the foothills during the Hypsithermal Interval.
Late Old Cordilleran Foraging (beginning circa 6,000 years ago) was intended to accommodate elevated resource stress caused by population increase and loss of ungulate forage at the end of the Hypsithermal Interval (see Table 2.3 on page 37). Forest expansion and elevated population density may have led to increased use of fire to reduce forest maturity plus "increased use of fish and littoral resources in the spring-summer-fall months for immediate consumption, increased residential mobility especially during the winter..." (Schalk 1988:103). Except for these changes, most groups should have maintained the uplands/foothills rest-rotation foraging pattern established earlier. However, in places where food stress was particularly severe and/or riverine resources particularly productive, foragers may have adopted collector characteristicsrestricted mobility, reliance on over winter storage, logistic procurement and so on. Accordingly, the period may have witnessed existence of both forager and collector economies as groups came to grips with diverse regional population and resource dynamics.
Assuming that population density continued to increase, demands on ungulate resources ultimately reached level beyond which herds had sufficient predation-free time to recover. That is, restrotation periodicity became too short for game populations to rebound sufficiently to tolerate continued human predation. Faced with collapse typical of predator/prey relationships everywhere, successful human groups were those that developed strategies that intensively exploited alternative riverine and eventually marine resources. Because of the relative abundance and predictability of anadromous fish, and proximity of fisheries to montane hunting areas, river-based collector systems are expected to predate those focusing on marine resources.
The Olympic model anticipates disappearance of the last vestiges of high mobility foraging systems about 3,000 years ago with replacement by aggregated, semisedentary to fully sedentary communities focusing primarily on lowland based procurement and bulk storage of anadromous fish (Riverine Collecting). A shift to marine resources (Maritime Collecting) followed. Most importantly, Schalk (1988:150-151) suggests that upper elevation mountain use was dramatically reduced in favor of summer exploitation of lowland species. Ungulates, he believed, were better managed by permitting untouched summer grazing in subalpine habitats with hunting restricted to winter when elk and deer moved to downslope forage areas. He suggests that the virtual absence of late Holocene style projectile points in the available Olympic National Park montane sample was consistent with early to mid-Holocene use and marked reduction in late Holocene use of the uplands.
Schalk's Olympic model is discussed in some detail here because it was designed to accommodate mountain land-use approximately comparable to Mount Rainier, and because of two critically important, theoretically well-grounded assertions: 1) that Olympic and Cascade montane geomorphology and climate acted to aggregate game and minimize distance between winter and summer pastures sufficient to facilitate successful exploitation by early Holocene foragers; and 2) that use of upper elevation landscapes ceased, or was reduced dramatically, following development of collector land-use systems in the mid-Holocene. If the first assertion is true, then we should see unequivocal evidence of earliest mountain and mountain fringe use dating to the early Holocene. If the second assertion is true, then we should see a marked drop in upland archaeological materials dating to the late Holocene.
Multiple Strategy Intensification Models; The PEP Project
The PEP intensification model attempts to accommodate this variability by contrasting probable intensification trajectories in different subregions  in terms of five land-use strategies1) Foraging; 2) Rest-Rotation Collecting; 3) Semisedentary Collecting; 4) Fully Sedentary; and 5) Equestrian Hunting and Gathering. Each of these strategies is contrasted in terms of three key variables: food storage, residential mobility and resource transport. Consistent with earlier use of the concept, the Foraging strategy assumes a fully nomadic land-use system (i.e., high residential mobility) with no systematic dependence on food storage (Schalk and Atwell 1994: 180). Related expectations include large range size, low population density, and winter season dependence primarily on animals killed for immediate consumption.
Rest-Rotation Collecting incorporates food storage in order to bridge brief periods of winter sedentism. A "key feature of this strategy is the regular rotation of settlements on a yearly or multiyearly basis to new areas to avoid the declining rates of return associated with continuous exploitation of the same areas" (Schalk and Atwell 1994:19). To function properly, such systems depend on low population density and existence of open, competition free alternative foraging areas.
Semisedentary Collecting differs from the above largely by loss or absence of the rest-rotation option. In such systems, the annual range of winter settlement and warm season movement through a series of procurement camps can no longer shift to areas that have not been exploited in the recent past in order to alleviate declining productivity. Ostensibly, such restrictions result from elevated population density and competition for available space and resources (see Schalk and Atwell 1994:20). A restricted long-term range implies that resources capable of withstanding repeated (i.e., intensive) exploitation will tend to be favored over those that cannot. Accordingly, subsistence patterns tend to emphasize bulk procurement of temporally or locally abundant commodities (e.g., acorns, camas, anadromous fish) with lengthened storage period and increased labor and redistributive costs. While the total spectrum of resources used may remain broad, effective niche width narrows by virtue of increased dependence on fewer critically important commodities (see Schalk and Atwell 1994:21).
Fully Sedentary systems are the most labor intensive, residentially restricted systems modeled in the PEP report. In this strategy, "residential centers are occupied throughout the year. Intensive harvesting of resources within the day-radius provides most of the annual food supply" (Schalk and Atwell 1994:21). Longer distance commodities may be acquired through trade networks. Niche width tends to be very narrow, storage requirements high, home range restricted, social organizational and redistributive mechanisms complex, and division and labor costs high. Such systems are rare among hunter-gatherers because undomesticated plants and animal populations seldom are capable of withstanding such intense pressure in the long-term. Essentially, hunter-gatherers cannot be fully sedentary without very abundant unearned resources (perhaps exceptionally prolific anadromous fisheries) and/or effective water-borne trade networks.
Finally, Equestrian Hunting and Gathering is intended to distinguish terminal prehistoric systems dependent on horse transportation. Newly acquired long distance travel options, occurring in close coincidence with extensive disease related social dislocation, spawned a variety of long distance hunting and trade systems that are difficult to classify other than by reference to dependence on the horse. In the southern Washington Cascades, huckleberry bulk processing and transport arguably became economically viable only after horses became generally availableparticularly to east slope populations like the Yakamaabout 250 years ago.
Because the pipeline route that spawned the PEP project did not cross the Cascades, no regional progressions were generated that are specifically applicable to Mount Rainier. Even so, one of the PEP model's most substantial contributions is its emphasis on regionally variable intensification trajectories. In some places, particular settlement and subsistence systems may be emphasized while others are absent altogether. In the highly seasonal, intensifiable resource limited northern Rockies, for example, Schalk and Atwell (1994:24) predict maintenance of foraging strategies throughout the Holocene, only changing to equestrian-based rest-rotation collecting at about A.D. 1800. In the John Day-Deschutes drainage basins of central Oregon, they model a more complete sequence from foraging, to rest-rotation foraging, to semisedentary collecting, and finally, to equestrian hunting and gathering. Patterns in both regions reflect responses to population/resource dynamics operative in environments with very different intensification options.
It is important to note that the PEP model assumes that, while organizational responses may vary, the general tendency is directed toward greater land-use intensification, logistic reorganization and increasing social complexity through time. In so doing, the model remains consistent with general forager/collector expectations. Its greatest refinements lie in directing our attention to subsistence and settlement variability that may be hidden within simple forager to collector jargon, in accommodating regional land-use variation within a single scheme, and in building a compelling ecological foundation in support of its arguments.
To this point, discussion has focused on theoretical background linking human and environmental systems, with particular emphasis on basic causes of organizational change in subsistence and settlement systems through time. Particular attention has been given to implications of human population density relative to the distribution, density and seasonality of critical resourcesparticularly ungulates and anadromous fish. I suggest that chronic shortfalls in availability of key resources induced primarily by increasing regional population density and/or resource degradation have over the long-term been met by increasingly intensive use of the landscape. That is, as the Holocene progressed, population and resource variables interacted to create selective contexts favoring development and continuance of land-use systems capable of extracting and distributing increasing resource levels from fixed or declining territory.
Substantial attention also has been given to providing background to intensification models which attempt to describe and explain basic processes of change in subsistence and settlement systems in the Pacific Northwest. I have focused on Binford's (1980) forager/collector ideas as the intellectual foundation for these approaches not so much because his views can be applied uncritically or without modification, but because 1) of their capacity to subsume critical organizational elements of both ends of the hunter-gatherer continuum; 2) of their predictive power for basic site type and distribution patterns; and 3) they constitute a baseline, widely referenced approach with established application to regional prehistory. Examples have been given of intensification models built on this foundation to develop familiarity with the approach, provide a "road map" through changing nomenclature, and, hopefully, convince the reader of their value as a framework for interpreting long-term patterns in human use of the region. Figure 5.2 compared these models, as well as the one proposed for Mount Rainier and the southern Washington Cascades.
The present model predicts patterned change in subsistence and settlement systems from early Holocene hunter-gatherers moving between resource patches as small, residential groups with minimal reliance on bulk procurement and storage (foragers); to late Holocene populations obliged to reside, at least seasonally, in sedentary villages reliant on over winter storage and relatively complex resource procurement and distribution strategies carried out to varying degrees by task-specific collection groups tethered to the village center (collectors). The model is organized into six temporal stages which summarize basic subsistence and settlement characteristics expected to dominate the region for the indicated time period. Also included are implications for the archaeological record of the southern Washington Cascades and Mount Rainier National Park. Nomenclature has been selected to maximize compatibility with existing intensification models while incorporating parameters (particularly mobility and rest-rotation options) considered to be of central importance to prehistoric subsistence and settlement patterns.
It is important to recognize that this, and all models, simplify reality. They smooth intergroup organizational variability and understate system dynamics taking place within each of the temporal periods. The advantage of simplification lies in the capability of a macroscopic view to clarify patterns within more complex systems' states, and to isolate (we hope) basic causes underlying development and change in human subsistence and settlement systems through time. Because of theoretical grounding and links to objectively observable phenomena, we can move beyond speculation about the past to use of the archaeological record as a data source for testing and rejecting or refining the land-use patterns proposed.
Abundance of these herds in the Pacific Northwest and their capacity to sustain human predation, is difficult to establish. However, given the tendency of the region's bunch grass prairies to degrade under heavy grazing pressure (Mack and Thompson 1982), it is reasonable to assume that density of these megafaunal grazers was more limited here than on the high plains further east. Even so, scattered distribution of large fluted Clovis-style lance points typically associated with exploitation of these animals suggests human presence in the Columbia Plateau and eastern Cascades foothills, probably focused on exploitation of early post-Pleistocene megafauna and other habitat-sharing species.
West of the Cascades, plant and animal communities appear to have dispersed into previously ice mantled areas of the Puget Trough and Olympic Peninsula during the Everson Interstadial circa 13,500 to 11,000 years ago. This period may also have witnessed colonization by some Pleistocene megafauna. It is plausible that the elephant excavated at the Manis Mastodon Site near Sequim on the drier east flank of the Olympics (Gustafson et al. 1979) is part of a population established during this time period.
Glacial ice advanced again during the Sumas Stade, pushing megafauna habitat further south into the southern Puget Trough (or eliminating it altogether). The ice retreated rapidly after about 9,500 years ago, allowing rapid development of dense lodgepole pine forest succeeded by more nearly modern floral associations.
In the Cascades, the Cordilleran ice mantle retreated dramatically during the Everson interglacial, opening lower elevation passes such as Snoqualmie north of Mount Rainier. On Mount Rainier itself, McNeely drift (a.k.a. Sumas Stade in the Puget Trough) ice again advanced down the major river valleys, lowering the snowline to about 5,900 ft. At this elevation, most of the Park's larger mid-elevation ridges, cirque basins, tarn fields, and open parklands would have lain under perpetual snowpack or been subject to vegetation depleting impact of extended snowpack and frost heaving (see Chapter 2). It is likely that nearmodern floral associations became established briefly during the Everson Interglacial, retreated during the Sumas (McNeely) advance, and were established again following Sumas retreat circa 8,500 years ago.
Schalk and Atwell (1994:88) argue that no securely dated cultural remains in the Northwest predate 11,000 B.P. Nonetheless, presence of Pleistocene megafauna and early fluted points attests to an early post-Pleistocene human presence across the broader region A few of these points have been found in the Cascade fringe. Northeast of Mount Rainier, a Clovis find near Cle Elum suggests early human presence in the general Snoqualmie Pass area (Hollenbeck and Carter 1986:26). Note, however, that other than the East Wenatchee Clovis Site (45DO482), Clovis or other early Holocene sites in the Northwest have been found only in surface or compromised contexts, making their age difficult to establish unambiguously. Unfortunately, radiocarbon dates on bone from the East Wenatchee site did not return early Holocene ages. Even the Manis Mastodon Site lacked clear association with diagnostic artifacts, though presence of a single used flake plausibly (if uncertainly) indicates human presence in the Puget Trough perhaps as early as 12,000 years ago.
On Mount Rainier, open forest/tundra habitats probably became established as early as 12,000 B.P. on its lower to mid-elevation flanks. Most economically important Holocene fauna probably became established during this period as well. These habitats would have retreated downslope during McNeely Drift times and advanced again as ice retreated circa 9,000 to 8,500 years ago. It is possible that earliest human use of the lower southern Washington Cascade passes dates to the post-Pleistocene period. Use of Mount Rainier itself is less likely. However, most foragers probably focused on the most productive megafauna habitats east, and to a lesser extent west, of the Cascades. Montane game density would have been too low and exploitation costs too high to have attracted significant use by the few human groups entering the region during post-Pleistocene times. The probability of human forays into the midst of the southern Washington Cascades and onto the flanks of Mount Rainier increases sharply with massive glacial retreat and establishment of modern plant and animal communities after 8,500 years ago.
The Archaeological Record
Extant radiocarbon data are consistent with these expectations. The earliest, plausibly culturally related, radiocarbon age presently known in the southern Washington Cascades is a circa 8,500 B.P. date recorded near the Cedar River north of the Park (see Table 3.4). Cultural deposits radiocarbon dated to the mid 6,000s B.P. are common (see Table 3.4), more firmly establishing human presence by this time. Currently, the oldest known site on Mount Rainier proper is the Sunrise Ridge Borrow Pit (45PI408), containing lithic debris sandwiched between 2,300 year old Mount Rainier C and 3,400 year old Mt. St. Helens Yn tephras. For Mount Rainier National Park, however, cultural remains are not expected to date terminal Pleistocene or very early Holocene times prior to 9,000 B.P.
The onset of the period is keyed to extinction of the last of the Pleistocene megafauna and full development of characteristic Holocene plant and animal communities in the Northwest. In the high Cascades, Cascade foothills and surrounding lowlands, near modern floral and faunal patterns became well established except as affected by Hypsithermal warming. Included are species believed to be of particular economic importance for hunters and gatherers now deprived of larger megafauna alternativeselk, deer, mountain goat, bear, marmot, game birds, camas, huckleberries, and so on. Mountain sheep also appear to have been present during much of the prehistoric period. Anadromous fish populations are expected to have become reestablished in most Northwest watersheds.
Lowlands and Cascades foothills are emphasized because of the presumed impact of the Hypsithermal climate on forest structure. If ungulate habitat became more productive in the lowlands and simultaneously less productive in the uplands due to forest encroachment, then it is reasonable to expect human populations to have focused attention on low to moderate elevation landscapes with less attention to high elevation places. Given the combination of relatively low predation pressure (low human population density), productive lowland habitats, and tendency of game to aggregate in mountain foothills (Schalk 1988:90-91), hunter-gatherers probably emphasized use of valley and foothill environments throughout the period. Use of subalpine uplands, such as those on Mount Rainier, is also possible. However, relative difficulty in entering these areas, and absence of compelling need to do so on a regular basis, probably combined to limit use until later in the Holocene. 
The period title reflects subsistence and settlement patterns expected to have characterized the region from circa 9,000 to 6,000 years ago. Because of high game density relative to demand and tendency for ungulates to aggregate in open lowland and foothill habitats, it should have been possible to sustain a foraging strategy with relatively short distance residential moves and minimal dependence on bulk processing and storage. Foraging may have focused on a broader spectrum of resources relative to the Post-Pleistocene period, but plants and animals selected are expected to be dictated by seasonal availability and proximity to ungulate hunting areas. Rest rotation refers to the capacity of groups to move to new foraging areas as hunting productivity declines, thereby allowing predation-free time for game density to regenerate naturally. Ability to do so depends on availability of abundant open space with minimal resource competition by other groups. The pattern is of key importance to maintaining a forager strategy, because it insures resource stability without sophisticated logistic strategies or intergroup coordination. In an environment like that of the Pacific Northwest, I believe that it is only practical in a context of very low population density and high resource abundance.
Radiocarbon dates from sites in the southern Washington Cascades (see Table 3.4) are strongly consistent with human presence in these contexts near the close of the period. A circa 6,250 B.P. radiocarbon date from an obsidian quarry in alpine context (45LE285 at Elk Pass) also suggests at least limited early use of higher elevation landforms dating to the close of the period. Additional research geared toward developing a larger set of dated upland sites in firm stratigraphic context will be useful for determining the extent to which land-use emphasized lower elevation landscapes as predicted here or incorporated subalpine habitats, requiring modification of model expectations. Ostensibly early "diagnostic" artifacts, such as leaf-shaped Cascade style dart points, are not sufficiently temporally sensitive to establish early Holocene time frame in the absence of firm stratigraphic or chronometric supporting data.
In the mountains, where upper elevation forest cover is controlled more by snow pack and growing season than by moisture, forest cover should have retreated downslope to approximatly present elevations. Increasing expanses of alpine tundra, and subalpine parklands should have attracted correspondingly increased numbers of elk and deer during the late summer months when forage was at its peak. Coincident degradation of forage in the lowlands with seasonal improvement in the uplands is expected to have contributed substantially to punctuated increase in human use of places like Mount Rainier National Park during this time frame.
On Mount Rainier, climatic impacts are complicated by Holocene vulcanism. The mountain experienced a particularly destructive series of volcanic events beginning about 6,600 years ago and culminating in the massive Paradise-Greenwater-Osceola mud flows circa 5,000 to 4,500 years ago (Harris 1988, Scott et al. 1995). These events removed circa 2,000 ft from the summit, altered landscapes on the mountain's northeast and eastern slope and inundated the White River floodplain almost to Tacoma (see Figure 2.2).
Land-use implications of mid-Holocene volcanic events are difficult to gauge. Clearly the summit collapse and larger lahars were catastrophic events destroying plants, animals and people unfortunate enough to be in their path. However, early succession processes involving growth of rapidly reproducing grasses and brushy plants most valuable as ungulate forage generally began immediately. Succession may be well advanced in several years. It is likely, then, that habitat destruction was short-lived and followed quickly a slightly longer period of ungulate habitat improvement. Accordingly, I assume that these events, while dramatic, did not significantly affect (and certainly did not reduce) forager use of the uplands or major lowland river valley in the long-term scale with which we are dealing.
As noted above, forage should have become more productive in the uplands as forests retreated downslope to near modern elevations. Accordingly, use of subalpine and alpine zones on Mount Rainier and the southern Washington Cascades is expected to increase as a direct consequence of their increased foraging value.
In short, the most salient aspects of the forager strategy (e.g., small group size, relatively frequent residential moves, minimal bulk processing and storage, limited intersite variability) are expected to remain region wide. However, combined population and environmental circumstances are expected to have operated to cause 1) settlement in less optimal habitats, 2) increased variability in foraging strategies, 3) short-term bulk processing and storage, and 4) punctuated increase in use of upland habitats coincident with environmental cooling at the end of the Hypsithermal Interval.
An increased number of radiocarbon aged montane sites dating between about 5,500 and 6,500 B.P. (Figure 3.5) is essentially consistent with these expectations. Unfortunately, an insufficient number of securely dated sites is available from subalpine contexts to address the expectation of punctuated increase in use of high elevation settings in a meaningful fashion. Because of its growing number of documented sites and substantial subalpine and alpine habitat, Mount Rainier may offer an unusual opportunity to investigate expected environmental and land-use changes. Environmental patterns could be addressed through pollen core extraction and paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Land-use changes can be examined through test or data recovery excavation at a set of upper elevation site locations.
Massive volcanic events had lowered Mount Rainier's peak and altered upper elevation landscapes and major river valleys at the beginning of the period. About 2,500 years ago, a second volcanic cycle rebuilt the summit to is present height. It also deposited from one to eight inches of tephra (Mount Rainier C) over much of the mountain's northern and eastern flanks (Crandell 1987:14-15). Vegetation alteration and land-use implications of this event, however, appear to have been insignificant (cf., Dunwiddie 1986). Most of the volcanic activity took place in the summit caldera at elevations of little consequence to human use of the mountain. Effects of tephra deposits on northeast slope plant and animal communities certainly were less significant than original summit destruction about 2,000 years earlier. Accordingly, Mount Rainier C events probably had negligible effect on settlement and subsistence practices on the mountain and across the broader region. Similar expectations hold for land-use effects of earlier Mt. St. Helen's series Y eruptions occurring between 3,250 and 4,000 years ago.
In general, there is no indication that mid-Holocene environmental circumstances improved the regional resource/population equation. Subalpine habitats, because they are limited in total area, are not likely to have compensated for lost winter forage in the lowlands and foothills. In a natural state, ungulate population density, particularly on the wetter westerns slope, should have decreased overall.
From a human standpoint, lost ungulate habitat probably was not critical so long as population density remained low relative to abundance. By about 4,000 years ago, however, it is likely that demands on available resources reached a point beyond which they could be reliably met with previous hunting and gathering strategies carried out by small autonomous forager groups. It is assumed that combined impact of rising human population density and restricted ungulate habitat constituted an environmental context favoring 1) increased use of fire to expand ungulate habitat, particularly in lowland and foothill settings; 2) loss of rest-rotation options; 3) more intensive reliance on mass harvested and stored anadromous fish and other storable commodities; 4) loss of residential mobility; and 5) logistic reorganization consistent with intensive land-use requirements.
Pacific Northwest Forager to Collector Land-Use Changes
There are only a few Pacific Northwest resources capable of meeting bulk acquisition and storage requirements needed to bridge winter shortfalls and withstanding continuous intensive use without collapse. Foremost among these is anadromous fish. Others include winter collected marine resources, camas in very productive habitats, and perhaps wapato and biscuit root in places where they grow best. Anadromous fish, however, offer the highest return for effort of the available options. Salmon bearing streams are widely distributed across the region, the oceanic growth cycle supports very large populations, runs are predictable in place and time, and food return per harvest event can be high if labor is sufficient. Despite these qualities, there is compelling reason not to expect mass harvest and storage of anadromous fish before being forced to do so. Large-scale salmon procurement and storage is a labor intensive undertaking entailing loss of residential mobility through an extended harvest and storage period. As a central feature of a collector economy, it also involves a host of subsistence and social adjustments. Schalk (1988:98-99) describes costs and risks of dependence on mass harvested salmon as follows:
It was costs and risks such as these that made reliance on mass harvest and storage of anadromous fish undesirable prior to onset of chronic resource related needs to do so. Intensive use of marine resources entails even greater liabilities. According to Schalk (1988:109):
Plants do not fare any better than marine life as over-winter stored staples. Suitably productive habitats, while locally important in the absence of anadromous fish, are too few and far between to sustain a region-wide forager to collector shift. Camas, arguably the most valuable of the plant staples, entails high harvest and preparation costs and requires a long storage period (see Thoms 1989). Bulk storage of plant products generally entails greater labor and storage costs due to the need to collect, process and store larger quantities than their salmonid equivalents. Furthermore, because of intensive harvest needs, other than in exceptionally productive areas, non-horticultural plants cannot sustain intensive long-term use in the absence of alternative resource supplements.
Largely due to widespread availability and sustainable productivity, anadromous fish were therefore most plausibly the earliest resources relied upon for over-winter mass storage. Schalk (1988:110) suggests that initial settlement should have been geared toward larger rivers providing stable fisheries in areas that also maximized continued access to ungulate procurement places. Through time, we should see progressive expansion onto less productive streams, followed by adoption of lower return resources as intensification pressure continued to increase.
Once required to change to primary subsistence reliance on mass processed and stored fish, remaining characteristics that define collector systems fall into place. Perhaps the most important change is to nearly sedentary residence in relatively large aggregated villages. With a fishing dominated economy, residence is restricted to riverine settings from autumn through winter by the extended procurement and storage needs that anadromous fish entail. Group size increases to accommodate higher regional density overall and meet elevated labor requirements. Indeed, increased population may be expected to closely follow a shift to collector (or agricultural) strategies, in part, to meet these new labor demands (cf., Schalk 1988:111).
Because of large group size and scheduling requirements related to reliance on anadromous fish, collectors forfeited the capacity to move freely across the landscape as a residential unit at times at times optimal for procurement of non-salmonid resources. Late summer to fall use of subalpine habitats, for example, conflicts directly with salmon harvest and storage in the lowlands. In short, sedentism, bulk storage, group size, scheduling requirements and degraded game habitat combine to force a shift to a full collector systems in which relatively few resources become the central focus of attention and supplemental resources are either sought by limited-task groups tethered to the residential hub or are supplied by trade. There is no middle ground. Even social complexity must increase to regulate the more involved tasks required to sustain larger groups in limited territory.
Changes to Montane Land-Use Patterns
In his Olympic Peninsula study, Schalk argues for declining use of the uplands during the late Holocene.
Schalk (1988:151) goes on to suggest that available archaeological data from Olympic National Park were consistent with a bias toward early Holocene use. Later, during the Mount Rainier project, he reemphasized the point verbally; arguing that optimal foraging principles lead to the expectation that the most efficient season for exploitation of ungulates would be winter when these animals are at relatively low elevations and when scheduling conflicts with other subsistence activities would be minimized. After moving back downslope, game could be taken nearer the residential base in the winter season when food need was highest. Subalpine zones essentially would serve as unmanaged summer pasture land where elk and deer could fatten for later use.
The arguments make sense. Interestingly, compelling as they may be, they are not consistent with archaeological data from Mount Rainier. Extant Mount Rainier data presently lack clear evidence for very early use. More significantly, radiocarbon dated sites, wide distribution of arrow-sized projectile points and presence of cultural debris atop 2,300 year old Mount Rainier C tephra leave little doubt that upper elevation Mount Rainier and southern Washington Cascade landscapes continued to be used throughout the Holocene coincident with full development of collector strategies in the lowlands.
This deviation from expectations despite compelling optimal foraging arguments to the contrary provokes intriguing land-use possibilities that must be accommodated in the model. I suggest that use of high elevation places did indeed decrease on a per capita basis, but that use of subalpine landscapes can be expected to continue for one or all of three reasons: 1) uplands could not be left as unmanaged pasture land in a population packed region without being further degraded by "cheaters", and/or 2) marginal populations continued low intensity forager practices on the fringes of increasingly centralized lowland society, and/or 3) limited task groups tethered to lowland villages acquired high return commodities not available in the lowlands.
Garrett Hardin, an ecologist who developed much of the competition theory imbedded here, also advanced explanations as to why unmanaged resources tend to degrade to crisis levels when used in common by people lacking clearly defined mutual obligations. In Tragedy of the Commons, Hardin (1968) uses the example of pasture land commons in Britain to argue, in essence, that such circumstances always serve to the selective benefit of over-users. That is, "as long as a pasture [or any other resource] is considered to be unlimited and for common use by everybody without constraints, then ...overuse is inevitable since the individual gains a temporary advantage by overstocking [or overuse] and only at some later time ...begin[s] to suffer the collective consequences of overuse" (Odum 1971:245). In this light, the expectation that Mount Rainier's subalpine "pastures" will be left untouched by linguistically and socially distinct groups on all sides of the mountain with, at best, marginal obligations to one another is unreasonable. Despite its degrading state, it is more reasonable to expect a) marginal groups to continue to exploit remnant resources at a low level and/or b) groups dependent on winter hunting to establish territorial rights over critical portions of the uplands and protect them from overuse. In the latter case, limited task groups may have been dispatched to the mountains less to collect and return stores to lowland centers, than to insure that ungulate resources return to the lowlands with the onset of winter.
In addition to protecting montane resources or continuing exploitation by marginal foragers on the fringes of collector dominated society, is the possibility that late Holocene hunting focused less on ungulates and more on alternative high value resources such as mountain goats (wool), marmots (fat) or huckleberries (dried) that are not available in the lowlands. Because of transportation difficulties and scheduling conflicts noted above, it may be impractical to expect these resources to be taken in abundance unless affiliated with other land-use needs as outlined below or prior to transportation enhancing introduction of the horse.
Recognizing the dangers of a complex scenario, I suggest that a combined explanation is most plausible. It is likely that early in the Semisedentary Collecting period, upland ungulate hunting continued to be carried out by a decreasing number of marginal forager groups. As resource pressure mounted, lowland groups extended territorial rights over critical watersheds and upland summer game habitats. This assumes that ultimately, benefits of protecting game populations became great enough to warrant the costs of dispatching limited-task groups to protect territorial/resource rights during the critical late summer months. To be effective, it would have been necessary to extend protection over a circa two month period. Accordingly, such groups would have been obliged to establish residential base camps (very likely much the same as foragers), carry out low-level maintenance hunting while in upland residence, and ultimately return to the lowland center in late autumn with the highest value for weight commodity(ies) available on the mountain.
In short, it is reasonable, indeed expectable, for human use of the mountains to continue throughout the Holocene, albeit on a restricted per capita basis and oriented to fill different social/economic needs. Rather than use dominated by mobile mixed sex and age residential groups, the mountains became tied into more complex land-use practices ancillary to intensive use of riverine resources in the lowlands. Changing mountain land-use practices were part of a regional shift in settlement and subsistence practices from forager dominated systems fit to a context of low population density relative to terrestrial game abundance; to collector systems better able to cope with increasing demand and restricted availability of wild terrestrial resources.
Due largely to the need to maintain extended residence, archaeological signatures differentiating early from later sites are expected to be subtle. Each of the three areas of variation noted above may be detectable in the archeological record given directed research and a large enough sample size. For example, the expectation of differences in social composition assumes that earlier forager groups would have sex and age range reflecting the full social unit in residence on the mountain. Collector residence is more likely to consist of a subset of the larger population, the remainder of which would have been occupied by lowland tasks in the late summer. Unfortunately, because maintenance and food preparation tasks may have been varied in both cases and because both may have selected similar base camp settings (I have proposed the upper forest/subalpine ecotone), the archaeological signatures may be similar. Indeed, it is possible that mixed sex and age groups may have used the mountain through time, even if representing a social subset in later times. Archaeological variation, if any, must be the subject of empirical investigation. I suggest that most robust early to late Holocene changes will lie in other archaeologically observable domains.
If the resource arguments above have merit, the greatest single source of variation between early and late sites should lie in the relative proportions of game animals sought and, in principle, preserved in the archeological record. All else being equal, early Holocene deposits should contain a high fraction of large ungulate remains (principally elk and deer). Late Holocene collector components should show a higher fraction of smaller animals, including particularly a higher fraction of remains linked to potentially high value transportable commoditiesgoat and perhaps marmot remains.
Potential change in artifact and feature complexity associated with early versus late Holocene land-use practices reflects the need to maintain high residential mobility with relatively low site reuse among foragers versus greater potential for redundant site use and exploitation of a somewhat broader range of resources among collector groups. To accommodate high residential mobility, forager tool kits should be small, portable and suited to multi-functional applications centered on the need to kill and butcher large body-sized animals. Such needs may characterize later Holocene use as well, but modified by incorporation of a higher fraction of small body-sized game, greater functional variability among site types, and enhanced potential to reuse site locations and thereby lessen transportation weight by caching tools. With lessened weight restrictions and a potentially greater number of tasks to be performed, tool kits should be more complex and contain implements such as arrows, darts and distinct butchering tools suited for extraction of wider size ranges without as pressing a need for multi-functional portability. Feature variability may increase in the later Holocene as well; particularly if goat hunting (high elevation blinds) and huckleberry processing (fire drying features) become integrated into the range of upland tasks.
Unfortunately, extant data do not allow us to address possible early to late Holocene site variation patterns in more than an impressionistic sense. It is interesting that, despite currently limited research in the Park, at least three sites have qualities consistent with the general tenor of the collector end of the land-use continuum. Goat (or sheep) teeth at Fryingpan Rockshelter excavated from sediments circa 1,500 to 2,500 years old are the only firmly identified faunal remains yet obtained from the Park. Artifacts from the 2,300 to 3,400 year old Sunrise Ridge Borrow Pit site are consistent with residential base camp expectations and include a ground stone hammer not expected in portable forager assemblages. Artifacts dating to the last 1,200 years at Berkeley Rockshelter, show substantial diversity including both dart and arrow sized projectile points, suggesting a mixed hunting strategy late in the Holocene.
Clearly, existing Mount Rainier archaeological data are too limited to constitute a rigorous test of expectations offered here, particularly in the absence of any clearly early to early middle Holocene components. It is likely that present absence of early sites is a product of poor site visibility due to mid-Holocene vulcanism and limited subsurface archaeology in the Park. With currently available information, it is clear that extensive use of Mount Rainier subalpine to alpine habitats took place during the last 3,000 years. It is reasonable to believe that such use extended at least several thousand years deeper into Mount Rainier's prehistoric past. I suggest that it is reasonable to model processes underlying such use as outlined above. Refinement of these ideas in light of concrete archaeological data awaits directed research to that end.
Perhaps most obvious of the regional changes is development of maritime economies in coastal settings with productive off-shore waters. For the Olympic Peninsula, Schalk (1988:111-116) discusses the energetics of a shift to primary dependance on marine resources, providing compelling arguments for progressive incorporation of this resource base as population demands increase.
Nearer Mount Rainier, we may expect settlement on less productive salmon-bearing rivers and streams further inland. Collector settlements can also be expected to incorporate lower return bulk commodities such as camas, wapato and biscuit root in moderately productive habitats, particularly where they occur near salmon streams. Huckleberries may also be incorporated as a stored resource if procurement and processing costs are minimized by proximity to other less labor intensive resources.
Use of montane uplands on Mount Rainier itself is not expected to change perceptibly from Semisedentary Collecting to Intensive Collecting periods. It is plausible that competitive pressures for extension of territorial boundaries to stake claim to critical upland pasture areas was more acute near the beginning of the Intensive period rather than earlier in the Holocene. If so, it is possible that human presence in subalpine habitats would have increased because of increasingly regular dispatch of limited-task groups to protect summer ungulate herds and perhaps return with high value alternative resources as described earlier. The period is expected to end abruptly with precipitous population losses and social dislocation associated with introduced eastern hemisphere diseases 400 years ago or less.
Southern Washington Cascade radiocarbon data also imply a high level of montane land-use activity during the late Holocene (see Table 3.4). The elevated regional site total dated to the period shown, also is consistent with increased regional population density as predicted here. It is not surprising since many of these dates come from contexts in settings lower than the subalpine exposures represented on Mount Rainier. These are the kind of places that intensive collectors are expected to have been forced to use with greater intensity as population/resource pressures mounted in the later Holocene.
The Pacific Northwest was not free of these processes. Epidemic losses, particularly among larger aggregated village populations, were dramatic (see Boyd 1985, 1990). Lewis and Clark, for example, visited the nearly deserted remnants of Nechacolea 226 ft long multi-compartment plank house and ruins of associated buildings on the south shore of the Columbia River east of Portlandin April of 1806. Remaining inhabitants attributed the village demise to a smallpox epidemic circa 30 years earlier (Coues 1893:926-927). It is plausible that population reducing epidemics swept through the region earlier still. The period's 400 year initiation date anticipates that epidemic losses could date to as early as A.D. 1520 to 1600; related to overland transmission of diseases from central Mexico. Boyd (1992) believes that disease introduction post-dates direct Euroamerican contact in 1774a time that correlates closely with Clark's observation at Nechacole. The precise date of the actual onset is less important than the extent of the impact on indigenous people, social organization and land-use practices.
Effects of rapid population loss on Northwest settlement and subsistence practices were almost certainly catastrophic. A conservative estimate of 60% decline (Boyd [1992:135] believes that 80% losses are likely) would have altered the population/resource equation and brought on sudden and severe stress to the structure of social and land-use systems. An earlier Cascades land-use model developed for Mt. Hood National Forest, anticipates the general character of these events (Burtchard 1990:24).
It is possible, perhaps probable, that expected re-emergence of foraging land-use practices may have been cut short by extension of the fur trade into the Pacific Northwest, accelerating immigration, and repeated epidemic outbreaks. This is particularly likely if Boyd is correct about the relatively late date for regional introduction of epidemic diseases. At least since the mid-1800s, it is more likely that Indian populations maintained themselves at the margins of Euroamerican society, responding in various ways including montane foraging/collectingin an attempt to maintain viable existence in the face of severely disruptive pressures on their indigenous lifestyle.
While hardly as debilitating as diseases, introduction of horses at about the same time had a locally significant impact on indigenous land-use practices. Development of the plains equestrian "bison cultures" are among the most dramatic and best known examples. In the Northwest, impact of the horse was mixed. Clearly, horses altered transportation options and became an important part of some Northwest land-use systemsparticularly in basin and range environments east of the Cascades. Other groups appear to have been affected very little. Schalk and Atwell (1994:23) suggest that for groups situated between major resource foci, equestrian transportation may have been adopted in support of a role as middlemen in long distance trade (e.g., The Dalles fisheries/trade center on the Columbia and bison hunting grounds further inland). In the mountains, the horse's value is not as clear. So long as ungulates remained an important part of upland use and long distance transportation was not critical to maintaining newly formed composite collector or split off forager systems, the horse may have represented an undesirable competitor for available forage. Availability of canoes in the west side and Columbia River lowlands further reduced the transportation value of the horse in these areas (Burtchard 1990:24).
Horses, however, may have played a more important role in late prehistoric and early historical use of the southern Washington Cascades and Mount Rainier for huckleberry collecting. Indeed such use may have been particularly intense on eastern and southeastern slopes, where villages linked to equestrian based economieslike the Yakamawere relatively close to historically productive berry fields. Availability of equestrian transportation may have been an important element underlying the apparently intensive use of huckleberries reported in the ethnographic record (see Smith 1964:149-179)both for packing storage containers and ancillary equipment in and dried huckleberries out.
The present model recognizes huckleberries as a storable resource that increased in importance during the Intensive Collecting period after 2,500 years ago, particularly where productive berry grounds were situated in close proximity to winter village locations. Because of high labor and transportation costs relative to return, use was expected to be restricted by the limits of pedestrian transport so long as alternative food options remained viable. With acquisition of the horse, however, huckleberry use may have increased dramatically, particularly if alternative upland resources were depleted. If so, Smith's (1964:155) allusion to huckleberries as "the primary attraction of the [Mount Rainier] mountain slope" while probably true, was a relatively young phenomenon in marked contrast to earlier land-use patterns dominating early to mid-Holocene times.
Ultimately, indigenous land-use systems were effectively overwhelmed by expansion of the American agricultural/industrial system into the Pacific Northwest. Indeed, the Lewis and Clark expedition was first overland extension of this system. President Jefferson is quoted as funding the expedition, in part, to find the "most direct and practical water communication across the continent, for the purpose of commerce" (Parsons and Shiach 1902:8). The inland water route was not found, of course, but commerce did indeed follow. By the mid to late 1800s, the region was filling rapidly with settlers, miners, entrepreneurs and others with little interest in or concern for the welfare of indigenous populationspeople already suffering the consequences of epidemics, and severe social and economic dislocation. The Mt. Hood model summarizes general impact as follows:
On Tahoma, human use shifted from the berrying and limited hunting activities that lingered on through the 1800s and early 1900s, to primary use as the recreation and wilderness preservation area known now as Mount Rainier National Park.
At least five of the presently documented sites in Mount Rainier have early 1900s historic materials or combined prehistoric and historical remainsVernal Park, Berkeley and Mt. Pleasant rockshelters (FS 74-01, FS 86-02 and FS 72-02), Devil's Dream cache (FS 95-09), and Forgotten Creek site (FS 95-10). Historical remains at Mt. Pleasant rockshelter probably are related to mineral prospecting. The cache of cooking implements near Devil's Dream Creek in the Park's southwest quadrant appears to be related to cedar logging in the vicinity, though alternative indigenous uses cannot be discounted altogether. Multi-component materials at other sites may be related to very late (and perhaps earlier) uses of the mountain. Finer resolution awaits testing and data recovery research. Note, too, that because the present reconnaissance emphasized prehistoric rather than historical sites, early historic indigenous materials may be under-represented in the current sample. Additional systematic survey with a broader focus should improve our understanding of the more recent archaeological record of both Indian and Euroamerican based use of Mount Rainier.
In addition to residential base camp and hunting location remains, surveyors should be sensitive to characteristic signatures of huckleberry processing featureswhich may or may not be directly associated with base camps. Allan Smith's informants allude to two general procedures for drying berries: 1) on mats stretched between poles and suspended several feet above small fires; and 2) on a low linear mound opposite a burning log. A number of these latter type features have been found in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and a few have been excavated (Mack and McClure 1996). On the modern surface, features tend to appear as low linear mounds. Excavation reveals elongated charcoal deposits opposite a sloping mound, often in association with fire cracked and unbroken rock. Deposits also should produce, of course, Vaccinium remains in macrobotanical samples.
Concluding his discussion of huckleberry use on Mount Rainier, Smith (1964:179) suggests that
While the preservation conditions Smith hopes for may be unrealistic in Mount Rainier's wet climate, linear charcoal and mound features, fire cracked rock, and residential artifacts and features should remain. Efforts to identify and document such remains should be included as part of the larger continuing effort to develop a clearer understanding of the Park's broader cultural resource base and Mount Rainier's place in long-term processes of human use of the southern Washington Cascades.
Last Updated: Monday, 18-Oct-2004 20:10:54
Author: Natural & Cultural Resources Division
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