A Quantitative Assessment of Ethnographically Identified Activity Areas at the Point Saint George Site (CA-DNO-11) and the Validity of Ethnographic Analogy
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California archaeologists routinely use ethnography as a source of analogy for interpreting the archaeological record. In the past, many have cautioned against the uncritical use of the ethnographic record. In this paper we test the validity of ethnographic descriptions of village layout collected by Gould. Specifically, we test the notion that prehistoric Tolowa villages contained distinct habitation and workshop areas as described ethnographically—a finding qualitatively demonstrated by Gould—through the quantitative analysis of archaeological assemblages from these areas at the Point St. George site (CA‑DNO-11). We find a statistically significant difference between the artifact assemblages but little difference between faunal remains recovered in the workshop versus the habitation area. We argue that while the ethnographic record should not be adopted uncritically, certain aspects of the ethnographic record, such as site structure, provide accurate analogies for behavior observable in the archaeological record.