There are complex relationships between humans and animals that influence their day-to-day interactions. While commonly described by traditional knowledge and ethnographic records, these social dynamics between animals and humans are difficult to access in the archaeological record. This thesis explores how such relations influence the distribution of the faunal assemblage at st’ám̓es (DkRs 6) on the Salish Sea by drawing upon multiple streams of evidence including zooarchaeological analysis, stable isotopes, ancient DNA analysis, Squamish Nation oral history and traditions, and ethnohistoric data. The variations in the assemblage suggest that while st’ám̓es fauna is generally consistent with regional trends, local factors influence the taxa present. The abundance of domestic dog remains in the st’ám̓es deposits stand out compared to sites of similar age in the region and a sample of four of these remains underwent stable isotope and aDNA analysis to further investigate their role at st’ám̓es. These remains are found to be more likely to represent hunting dogs than woolly dogs, and stable isotope analysis suggests their diets were dominated by anadromous marine protein sources. Squamish Nation oral history and traditions exemplify the place of animals such as dogs in the community as entities linked with the landscape and history, shaping their modern significance.
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Thesis advisor: Reimer, Rudy
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