Ancient Settlements on the Harrison River: A Salishan Gateway Between two Regions

Adrian Sanders, Morgan Ritchie

Abstract


This article documents nearly three years of investigations concerned with locating, mapping, and analyzing the spatial configuration of residential pithouse and plankhouse features in Chehalis territory. We propose that the Chehalis people organized their houses and settlements along a four kilometer stretch of the Harrison River in order to control socio-economic activities occurring within their territory. We provide theories borrowed from the disciplines of human ecology and cultural ecology and document ethnohistoric, ethnographic, and oral historical evidence to show that the Chehalis occupied a key locale on the Harrison-Lillooet interaction corridor. The Chehalis’ role in this trade and navigation corridor linking the coast and interior was that of economic middlemen.



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