Prehistoric Culture Change on Southern Vancouver Island

The applicability of current explanations of the Marpole Transition

Terence Clark


Presented here are the results of research on the transition from Locarno Beach archaeological culture type (3500/3300 -2500/2400 BP) to Marpole culture type (2500/2400 4500/1100 BP) within the Gulf of Georgia region of the Northwest Coast of North America. Nearly 6000 artifacts from seven Southern Vancouver Island archaeological sites are typologically reclassified and combined with previously recorded data from twenty Gulf of Georgia site components. In this volume multidimensional scaling is used to examine variability within the Marpole culture type. Results show the continuation of the Old Musqueam, Beach Grove and Garrison subphases of the Marpole culture and the addition of a fourth subphase, Bowker Creek. Based on spatial and temporal distribution, the culture historical sequence is reinterpreted here and new subphases to Locarno Beach culture type are identified, shifting the date of the Locarno Beach- Marpole transition to around 2000 BP. The author shows that Southern Vancouver Island may exhibit a different culture history than the Fraser River.