Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Other Degree Name/Area of Focus


Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Dr. Anna Marie Prentiss

Commitee Members

John Douglas, Nancy Hinman


Housepit 54, Bridge River, Archaeology, Geochemical Analysis, British Columbia


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Archaeological Anthropology


This is an exploratory study to assess the ability of using geochemical sampling to give insight into the subsistence behavior of the inhabitants of Housepit 54 and a look at the spatial organization of activity areas on floors IId, IIe, and IIf. The geochemical make-up of soils can give great insights into former actives that have disturbed or occurred in or around the soil. Anthropogenic soils are formed through the complex interplay between humans and natural factors. This geochemical study will use chemical signatures to tease out the daily activities that were performed by the inhabitants of Housepit 54. A geochemical investigation of the early floors of Housepit 54 provides insight into the daily activities of household occupants. Excavations of Housepit 54 revealed 17 superimposed floors and roofs. The earliest dating floors were excavated in 2016 with sediment samples systematically collected across each floor level. 65 (n=65) samples associated with floors IId, IIe, and IIf were collected and analyzed for this study. This study utilized the use of an Environmental Analyzer/Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (EA IRMS) for carbon and nitrogen ratios and Energy Dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (EDXRF) for calcium and phosphorus ratios to provide reliable compositional data on the floor sediments. With the use of the gathered data and geospatial tools, we are able to reconstruct variation in the organization of activities across floors that may or may not be reflected in distributions of artifacts and subsistence remains. Implications for understanding household activity areas and recommendations for future research of this nature are offered.



© Copyright 2020 Nathaniel Louis Perhay