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An Archaeological Study of Culture Contact, Colonialism, and Colonial Landscapes in the Cache Creek Watershed: A Case Study of the Bear Creek Unit
Purpose of Study: The purpose of this study was to determine if there were archaeological traces of the colonial past embedded in the landscape at the Bureau of Land Management’s Bear Creek Unit (Bear Creek Ranch). By studying the archaeological traces of the colonial past in the landscape, a clearer picture of regional history and Hill Patwin ethnohistory could be developed. The main goal of the study was to distinguish distinct “phases” of colonial settlement, identified as distinct archaeological “landscape layers” that span the Bear Creek Unit. Procedure: Archaeological surveys, archaeological excavations, a record search, and extensive Historic, Ethnographic, and Archival research were conducted to identify pertinent archaeological remains, and to contextualize those remains within the regional history. Archaeological sites received formal recordings, were digitized into a GIS database, and were mapped to show the spatial and temporal relationships. Findings: The fieldwork and record search identified 36 sites implicated in the colonial era (1769 – c. 1945). 10 of these sites received their first recording, and 3 received supplemental information. The obsidian hydration dating following the archaeological excavations indicated continued indigenous use of the property into the late 19th and early 20th century. Conclusions: The thesis concludes that there are distinct archaeological layers in the landscape that can yield data on how colonization effected the Hill Patwin over time, and how the Hill Patwin adapted to the eventual influx of Euro-American settlers who occupied the landscape from the 1870s on. While no clear archaeological indicators of resistance were found, historical and archival finding indicate that resistance to colonization was an important aspect of Hill Patwin ethnohistory and the Indigenous history of the Coast Ranges as whole.