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

Patrick M. Lubinski

Third Committee Member

Steven Hackenberger


This study develops a theoretically informed method and technique to compare variability between pre-contact riverine and hinterland Mesa archaeological resources of the mid-Columbian River Basin in Central Washington. To test the developed model, the study follows suggestions made by Dr. William Smith (1977:82) to “develop a testable hypothesis” using Mesa sites and other site types across environments with a more “sophisticated system for the classification of both artifacts and features.” Three sites (Mesa 06, 12, and 36) are compared to a riverine site (45DO673) to determine how the frequency of technological and functional traits of lithic stone tools and debitage vary. Features of the three above mentioned Mesa site are discussed and detailed in Smith (1977:68-74) and not included in this study. Results are evaluated based on stone tool expectations derived from Plateau pre-contact land use models. Significant technological and functional differences are present within Mesa sites, between Mesa sites, and between the three hinterland and one riverine occupation site (45DO673). Functional differences were found between the Bottom and Top of Mesa 12 while technological differences were not. Specifically, Mesa 36 likely had a wider array of reduction activities than Mesa 12 and 36 based on flake completeness, stone tool frequencies, and iv stone tool evenness. Adjacent interbedded stone tool sources possibly led to differing selective conditions at Mesa 36 than Mesa 12 and Mesa 06. Based on stone tool data, selective conditions likely varied between the Top of Mesa 12 and Bottom. All three Mesa sites differed across technological and functional categories when compared to 45DO673. A portion of that variability appears driven by differences in tool stone raw material availability. The lithic expectations developed from the Sanpoil- Nespelem and Dunnell and Dancey (1983) models did not uniformly apply to relationships between the Mesa sites or between 45DO673 and the Mesa sites.