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Trenches, embankments, and palisades
Terraforming landscapes for defensive fortifications in Coast Salish Territory
Conference paper presented at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting (April 6-10, 2016), Orlando, Florida. Also includes maps, diagrams, depictions, images and historic pictures of residential Coast Salish constructions, defensive sites (30 images) appended to conference paper. The Coast Salish hunter-gatherer fishers of the Northwest Coast built substantial defenses, involving the labor of multiple households and entire villages. These fortifications, perched upon high bluff promontories or at the points of narrow coastal sandspit ridges, often involved deep trenches and steep embankments that were enclosed by tall palisades of cedar planks. Such constructions would have dominated the viewshed of their seascape. In this presentation, I’ll highlight the degree of terraforming involved in their constructions and consider the monumental aspects of these defensive works. Further, I will also address the collective monumentality of numerous sites, wherein fortifications appear to be built in conjunction with neighboring sites. In so doing, they exhibit both the material manifestation of their own autonomous power in defense at individual sites, while also establishing and signifying their allied power in closely-networked fortifications to serve needs at intercommunity scales.
Coast Salish Indians--British ColumbiaDefensive fortifications (Coast Salish Territory)TerraformingCollective monumentality
Not peer reviewed