Cetacean Hunting at the Par-Tee Site (35CLT 20)?: Ethnographic, Artifact, and Blood Residue Analysis Investigation
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Anthropologists have long believed that Native Americans on the Northern Oregon Coast did not actively hunt cetaceans; however, archaeological evidence suggests otherwise. My project utilizes ethnographic data, comparative artifact analysis, radiocarbon dating, and blood residue analysis to investigate whether whales may have been hunted during prehistoric times along the Northern Oregon Coast. An artifact from the Par-Tee site (35CLT20), a humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) phalange with an embedded bone harpoon point, provides evidence of whale hunting. The dimensions of the embedded harpoon point were determined using computed tomography (CT) scanning in order to complete comparative analysis. Based on comparative analysis three harpoon typologies were selected for blood residue analysis. Blood residue analysis confirmed the use of the leister harpoon for trout, salmon, and steelhead fishing. In addition, future C14 dating will provide a time marker for active or opportunistic whale hunting within Oregon.