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Otters and Urchins: Continuity and Change in Haida Economy during the Late Holocene and Maritime Fur Trade Periods

Trevor J. Orchard
Publication Year:
244pp. Illustrated throughout with maps, plans, figures, tables, drawings and photographs
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


This study examines changes in Haida economic adaptations during the late pre-contact and early contact periods in Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia). This was primarily achieved through the analysis of faunal and artifactual assemblages recovered from archaeological excavations at eight village sites in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site (southernmost Haida Gwaii). In addition, extensive syntheses of early historic accounts, ethnographic descriptions, and previous archaeological work provide context for the interpretation of the archaeological data and complementary data on the economic responses of the Haida to European contact and the maritime fur trade. The new archaeological data presented in this volume,combined with previously published results, form the basis of a detailed description of the nature of Haida economic adaptations during the late pre-contact period (ca. 500 AD to 1774 AD). Most notably, these data clarify a previously recognized shift from a more generalized, rockfish-oriented economy to a more specialised, salmon-focused economy between 1,200 BP and 800 BP. These distinct economic adaptations, now widely demonstrated for southern Haida Gwaii, have been formalized as an earlier Xyuu daw Phase (ca. 2,000 BP to 1,000 BP) and a later Qayjuu Phase (ca. 1,000 BP to contact), both within the previously described late Graham Tradition.