Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Winter 2020

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

Committee Chair

Patrick T. McCutcheon

Second Committee Member

Steven Hackenberger

Third Committee Member

Patrick M. Lubinski


Lopez Island, Washington has been the subject of archaeological study for over a century. Through an evolutionary archaeology framework, this thesis uses a functional analysis of recorded precontact sites on Lopez Island to determine how previous sampling and research strategies have influenced what is known about the island’s archaeology. Knowing what is currently known about the island’s archaeology shows how recorded sites can be further investigated to address regional Salish Sea research questions. I developed and applied a paradigmatic classification to 54 sampled sites from the Washington DAHP’s WISAARD database by their level of previous research, microenvironment, and archaeology. This analysis showed that there has been little subsurface investigation on Lopez Island. The majority of archaeological sites and surveys have been concentrated on the coast of Lopez Island. Microenvironmental analysis showed that sites closer to the shoreline had greater variability in archaeology than further sites, and sites closer to freshwater also displayed greater variability. Sites containing shell (e.g., midden, artifacts, etc.) were most common in the archaeological classification; sites with rock cairns were the second most frequent filled class. The results of the analysis identified sites on Lopez Island that could be further studied to address regional research questions of chronology, settlement and subsistence, and ideology. I also identified data gaps in the island’s archaeological record including lack of data on the island’s interior and a low frequency of subsurface excavation across the island. Lopez Island’s archaeological record will remain an isolated piece of culture history until the data gaps identified in this thesis are addressed so that its historic context can be better integrated into the culture history of the Salish Sea.