Holocene History of Cedar and Native Indian Cultures of the North American Pacific Coast

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Science  17 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4663, pp. 711-713
DOI: 10.1126/science.225.4663.711


A comparison of paleobotanical records with archeological and ethnographic evidence from the Pacific Northwest shows a strong correlation between the expansion of Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) in coastal forests between 5000 and 2500 years ago and the evolution of a massive woodworking technology by native cultures. This suggests that an important component of cultural development was environmentally constrained until large cedar trees, the basic resource for canoe-building and plank-house construction, had become available in late Holocene time.

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