Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Anthropology

Committee Chair

Anna M. Prentiss

Commitee Members

Ashley McKeown, David Dyer


archaeology, Bridge River, domestic dog, feasting, material wealth, zooarchaeology


University of Montana


Dogs represent a unique facet of the faunal assemblage at the Bridge River site (EeRl4), a prehistoric aggregated winter housepit village in southern British Columbia’s Middle Fraser Canyon. As part of the Bridge River site investigation of emergent material wealth based status inequality of the hunter-gatherer-fisher economy, the 2008 and 2009 excavation of the village recovered the skeletal remains of domestic dogs within two distinct cache pit features in Housepit 24’s Activity Area 3. The two dogs unearthed from these separate cache pits features show dichotomous roles for man’s best friend; one, possibly as a prized companion, and the other as a food resource. This thesis focuses on the elements recovered from Feature 5 showing visible signs of trauma which include perimortem fractures, carnivore gnaw-marks, and cut-marks. The region’s ethnographic record provides evidence of utilizing domestic dogs as a resource for food, clothing, hunting, packing, and trade. Evidence suggests that the contents of the Feature 5 cache pit resulted from a single event associated with feasting, and would represent a symbolic display of status. The use of dogs as a delicacy in the feasting apparatus is unique to the Bridge River village’s archaeological record compared to the Keatley Creek site, where analyses concluded many of the dogs died of natural causes. The purpose of this thesis is to determine the depositional event that created the canid assemblage in Bridge River’s Housepit 24; its sociocultural significance within the village; and its meaning within the broader context of the Canadian Plateau.



© Copyright 2011 Hannah Schremser Cail