How many people live in a village? Understanding pre-contact first nation population dynamics within the plateau region of western North America

Ian Kuijt, University of Notre Dame

Documenting prehistoric population shifts within the Plateau region of western North America are critical for understanding the emergence of pre-contact social complexity and the impact of Old World illnesses during the historic period. This research has proven highly complex as burial practices occurred off site, and as such, archaeologists have almost no human remains to reconstruct human health or develop a detailed understanding of demographic changes at the settlement or regional level. Drawing upon radiocarbon dating and site history from several case studies, we explore population dynamics from select areas of the Canadian Plateau between 3000 and 500 years ago. More specifically, we illustrate how the reconstruction of long-term population patterns are linked to the research methods used by archaeologists to reconstruct the occupational history of residential structures, changing settlement systems, and periods of regional population growth and abandonment.

Presented in Poster Session 3