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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Takelma Prehistory: Perspectives from Archaeology in the Elk Creek Dam Project in Southwest Oregon


Between 1965 and 1989, archaeological investigations in connection with the Elk Creek Dam Project, some 60 km. north of the California border in Jackson County, Oregon, documented a record of Native American occupation and activity that began at least by 4,000–5,000 years ago and continued until shortly before contact between the Takelma people and Euro-Americans in the mid-nineteenth century. The dam project was cancelled in 1988, and a nal synthesis of the investigations was never prepared. This article highlights some of the important contributions made by the substantial archaeological research conducted for the Elk Creek Dam Project. The ancestors of the Takelma appear to have had a close relationship with prehistoric peoples to the east and south over the last several thousand years, with the evidence pointing to the existence of an interaction sphere connecting the Northern Takelma with native groups in northern California in late prehistoric times.

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