The Evolution and Diversification of Native Land Use Systems on the Olympic Peninsula
A Research Design
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The objective of this study is the development of an archaeological research design and a plan for segmenting Olympic National Park into research/management units. In addition, the project involved an archaeological reconnaissance in one of the management units. The results of this study are intended to provide a dynamic and long-term framework for archaeological research, compliance, and management by NPS.

Adaptive Management, currently being used in a variety of environmental management applications, is identified as a useful conceptual structure for building a dynamic design for archaeological research and management. This approach maintains that resource management is properly conducted as an ongoing experiment and, therefore, that research and management are inseparable.

The Olympic Peninsula is a region of exceptional environmental diversity and this is manifested in the varied nature of land use systems present at the time of European contact. There were two rather distinct systems of settlement and land use on the Olympic Peninsula—riverine and marine collecting systems. The models presented in this study examine the basic question of how these different land use systems evolved. The ethnographically documented systems of land use are viewed as products of an evolutionary process that extended throughout most or all of the Holocene.

It is maintained that any research design that attempts to explain or predict the distributional and content characteristics of the archaeological record must necessarily involve development of a regional land use system perspective. An ecological framework emphasizing the structure of food resources is also essential to these objectives. Considerable attention therefore, is devoted to both of these subjects.

Basic elements of the land use models developed in this study are demography and environmental change. The temperate rainforest ecosystem is relatively unproductive of terrestrial resources. Prior to climatic changes that occurred at around 6,000 yrs B.P. and that resulted in closure of the forests, carrying capacity for ungulates was much higher than during environmental regimes of the recent millenia. Low density, highly mobile hunter gatherers are postulated to have practiced foraging systems of land use throughout the region from about 10,000 to about 3,000 yrs. B.P. The basic overwintering strategy of these foraging systems was the hunting of ungulates on their winter ranges. Because the most productive winter ranges are those of migratory ungulates and because these ranges tend to be distributed along the flanks of the mountains, the term "Cordilleran" seems particularly appropriate for this particular land use strategy.

Owing to a combination of very gradual population increase, and an overall reduction in terrestrial productivity, dependence upon marine resources increased after 6,000 yrs B.P. Initial marine resource usage was for immediate consumption and was focused on those resources available in late winter/early spring and possibly during the summer. The same processes, however, eventually resulted in a saltatory change in land use strategies—to riverine collecting based primarily upon the storage of anadromous fish. This relatively abrupt shift in land use is estimated to have occurred at around 3,000 yrs B.P. Continuing increases in regional populations led to the localized development of fully maritime collector systems. This development was restricted to that portion of the Olympic Peninsula where marine resources are exceptionally productive and is suggested to have taken. place as recently as about 1000 yrs B.P. The sequence from foraging to riverine collecting and then to maritime collecting is suggested to be one of increasingly complex systems of land use.

Drawing upon the background of resource structure, paleoenvironments, and models of hunter gatherer land use strategies, the Park is divided into four major management zones: the Coastal Margin (Zone I), the River Valleys and Lowlands Zones (Zone II), the Montane Zone (Zone III), and the Subalpine/Arctic Zone (Zone IV). The Coastal Margin Zone is defined as that area which includes all offshore islands and the intertidal zone and which extends 5 km inland from the modern shoreline. The River Valleys and Lowlands zone extends from the inland edge of the 5 km band of land within Zone I up to an elevation of 2,000 ft elevation. Moving upslope from this elevation to the 4,000 ft contour line is the Montane Zone. All areas above 4,000 ft are encompassed within the Subalpine/Arctic Zone.

Archaeological knowledge for each of the management zones is summarized and a variety of research questions and domains is discussed. In addition, expectations are developed for the general character of the archaeological remains in the various management zones. The final chapter of the report presents a series of recommendations for future research and management in the Park.

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Last Updated: 16-Nov-2009