Title

Pediocactus nigrispinus discovered in the Tekison Rockshelter Site

Presenter Information

Christian Blanchard
Ian Wooller

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom C/D

Start Date

16-5-2013

End Date

16-5-2013

Abstract

The Tekison Rockshelter, located between Ellensburg and Wenatchee, was partially excavated in 1970 by “amateur” archaeologists. By August 1972, a grid was laid out, and the digging of Test Pit A had begun. Within Test Pit A from the surface down to the 59 inch level of the excavation, unique cactus spines were recovered each time in large amounts and appearing as if they had been cut from their bases and possibly scorched. The Sanpoil and Nespelem and the Thompson peoples burned and removed the spines of the cactus Opuntia polyacantha to aid acquisition of the flesh inside which was consumed. The Thompson were also known to steam cook Opuntia fragilis in pit ovens afterwards peeling the skin and eating the exposed flesh. The cactus spines recovered from Tekison resemble those of Pediocactus nigrispinus. Identification, using morphology and DNA, will shed light on uses of cactus plants.

Poster Number

10

Faculty Mentor(s)

Joseph Lorenz

Additional Mentoring Department

Anthropology

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May 16th, 8:20 AM May 16th, 10:50 AM

Pediocactus nigrispinus discovered in the Tekison Rockshelter Site

SURC Ballroom C/D

The Tekison Rockshelter, located between Ellensburg and Wenatchee, was partially excavated in 1970 by “amateur” archaeologists. By August 1972, a grid was laid out, and the digging of Test Pit A had begun. Within Test Pit A from the surface down to the 59 inch level of the excavation, unique cactus spines were recovered each time in large amounts and appearing as if they had been cut from their bases and possibly scorched. The Sanpoil and Nespelem and the Thompson peoples burned and removed the spines of the cactus Opuntia polyacantha to aid acquisition of the flesh inside which was consumed. The Thompson were also known to steam cook Opuntia fragilis in pit ovens afterwards peeling the skin and eating the exposed flesh. The cactus spines recovered from Tekison resemble those of Pediocactus nigrispinus. Identification, using morphology and DNA, will shed light on uses of cactus plants.