Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Cultural and Environmental Resource Management

Committee Chair

Patrick T. McCutcheon

Second Committee Member

Steven Hackenberger

Third Committee Member

Lourdes Henebry-DeLeon


In the Puget Sound Lowland of the Pacific Northwest, archaeologists have investigated a shift in settlement and subsistence patterns occurring in the mid-Holocene Epoch. The artifacts used as the evidence of this shift are interpreted with a concept known as resource intensification. This shift in artifact frequencies has been studied only in the last thirty years and in limited areas of the Puget Sound Lowlands. An opportunity to investigate a site dating to after the shift presented itself when Central Washington University acquired the Lower Skagit River Delta Surface Collection (LSRDSC). This artifact assemblage was collected from a plow-zone surface in the Lower Skagit River Delta with permission of the landowner. This plowed field is the same location as site 45SK51, a sample of which was excavated in the 1960s. The purpose of this study is two-fold: to determine if LSRDSC can be combined with the 1960s excavated sample and used to detect the presence of resource intensification and then compare those results to two other site analyses from the Lower Puget Sound. Differences in the selective conditions are proposed to account for differences in artifact types between 45SK51 and the other two sites. These differences may be tied to uneven distributions of relative frequencies for tool technologies across different microenvironments, which is a consistent pattern found in earlier research in the area.