Exploring Coast Salish Prehistory

The Archaeology of San Juan Island

Julie K. Stein

  • $20.00s paperback (9780295979571) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2000
  • Subject Listing: Anthropology; Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 136 pp., 49 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Thomas Burke Memorial Washington State Museum Monographs
  • Contents

Every year thousands of people visit the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State. With a copy of Exploring Coast Salish Prehistory in hand, they will enjoy an introduction both to archaeology in general and to sites within San Juan Island National Historic Park.

The Coast Salish people inhabited the San Juans for 5,000 years. One important site on San Juan Island, Cattle Point, was a summer camp where residents engaged in fishing and shellfish harvesting. Native peoples' recollections of activities there have been confirmed by physical evidence in the form of shell middens, fish bones, and other artifacts.

Another San Juan site, English Camp, was a winter village site for 2,000 years. Structural remains provide insight into how people's lives and activities changed over time. Tools found at the site have allowed archaeologists to deduce that early residents ate camas bulbs and other plants, engaged in woodworking, weaving, fishing, and carving, and manufactured and used stone tools.

Stein's discussions of the sites and archaeological practices are enhanced by numerous illustrations. Clear photos of different types of artifacts, topographical maps, and other images help the reader to understand how people lived in the San Juans thousands of years ago.
Julie K. Stein is a curator of archaeology at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture; professor of anthropology; and divisional dean of computing, facilities, and research in the College of Arts and Sciences - all at the University of Washington.
- San Juan Island National Historical Park
- Excavations
- How Archaeologists Reconstruct the Past
Cattle Point Site
- The Age of the Cattle Point Shell Midden
- Life at Cattle Point
- Conclusions
English Camp Site
- The Age of the English Camp Shell Midden
- Life at English Camp
- Evidence of the Plank House and Village at English Camp
- Evidence of Shifting Shorelines
- Tools Found at English Camp
- Conclusions

"Stein's pragmatic viewpoint has resulted in a boot that is a primer in archaeology as much as an historical document on how the ancient inhabitants of the San Juan Islands must have lived."
-Northwest Science and Technology