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Gendered Places and Depositional Histories: Reconstructing a Menstrual Lodge in the Interior Northwest

  • Molly Carney (a1), Jade d'Alpoim Guedes (a2), Kevin J. Lyons (a3) and Melissa Goodman Elgar (a4)

Abstract

This project considered the deposition history of a burned structure located on the Kalispel Tribe of Indians ancestral lands at the Flying Goose site in northeastern Washington. Excavation of the structure revealed stratified deposits that do not conform to established Columbia Plateau architectural types. The small size, location, and absence of artifacts lead us to hypothesize that this site was once a non-domestic structure. We tested this hypothesis with paleoethnobotanical, bulk geoarchaeological, thin section, and experimental firing data to deduce the structural remains and the post-occupation sequence. The structure burned at a relatively low temperature, was buried soon afterward with imported rubified sediment, and was exposed to seasonal river inundation. Subsequently, a second fire consumed a unique assemblage of plant remains. Drawing on recent approaches to structured deposition and historic processes, we incorporate ethnography to argue that this structure was a menstrual lodge. These structures are common in ethnographic descriptions, although no menstrual lodges have been positively identified in the archaeological record of the North American Pacific Northwest. This interpretation is important to understanding the development and time depth of gendered practices of Interior Northwest groups.

Este proyecto reconstruye la historia de deposición de una estructura quemada al sitio Flying Goose ubicado en las tierras ancestrales de los indios Kalispel en el noreste del Estado de Washington. La excavación de la estructura, Feature 2, reveló depósitos estratificados reveló que no se ajustan a características culturales de los tipos ya establecidos en la Meseta de Columbia. El pequeño tamaño, la ubicación y la ausencia de artefactos nos llevan a suponer que Feature 2 era una estructura no tienen una función doméstica y podría una estructura de las mujeres o de menstruación. Sin artefactos, hemos probado esta hipótesis con datos géoarqueológicos, paléobotanicos, láminas delgadas y los experimentos de calentamiento para deducir la estructura y la secuencia después de la ocupación. La estructura fue quemada a una temperatura relativamente baja, fue enterrado poco después con el sedimento rubified importada y fue expuesta a la inundación de los ríos estacionales. Posteriormente, un segundo incendio consumió un conjunto único de restos de plantas. Basándose en los recientes enfoques estructurados de deposición (structured deposition) y de los procesos históricos, incorporamos la etnografía para argumentar que Feature 2 en el sitio de Flying Goose fue una estructura menstrual. Estas estructuras son comunes en las descripciones etnográficas, aunque estructuras menstruales ya no han sido positivamente identificados en el registro arqueológico de la Noroeste del Pacífico de los Estados Unidos. Esta interpretación es importante para entender el desarrollo y la profundidad temporal de prácticas de género de los grupos del Interior Noreste.

Copyright

Corresponding author

(molly.carney@wsu.edu, corresponding author)

References

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Gendered Places and Depositional Histories: Reconstructing a Menstrual Lodge in the Interior Northwest

  • Molly Carney (a1), Jade d'Alpoim Guedes (a2), Kevin J. Lyons (a3) and Melissa Goodman Elgar (a4)

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