Current topics in archaeology, cultural heritage & historic preservation

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kennewick Man II: Anthropologist Argues That Corps of Engineers Acted Properly

In a Seattle Times opinion piece Dr. James Nason, a retired University of Washington anthropology professor and emeritus curator at the Burke Museum (where the original Kennewick Man is kept), argues that the Corps of Engineers is properly handling the recently found remains.

There are some very interesting comments at the end of the article.

Check it out at: Corps Acted Properly

(Rock art pictured is near Kennewick, WA).


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kennewick Man II Debate Continues

Two bits of recent news on the newly discovered Kennewick Man II bones...

From the Tri-City Herald, Sept. 15, 2009

Anthropologist to study jawbone found in river

The Army Corps of Engineers plans to hire an independent anthropologist to study a jawbone found in the Columbia River in August, said Corps spokesman Joseph Saxon.

The lower jawbone with two teeth was turned over to the Army Corps because it was found on the agency's land in an undisclosed location on the river. The 9,300-year-old bones of Kennewick Man also were found on the Columbia River...

Read the whole story at: Tri-City Herald: Sept. 15, 2009

From the Seattle Times, Sept. 15, 2009

Did U.S. Corps of Engineers learn nothing from Kennewick Man?

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers apparently didn't learn much from the experience of the Kennewick Man case, these guest columnists write. The initial Corps decision to turn a jawbone found on the shores of the Columbia over to tribes without establishing a definitive connection is misguided.

GOVERNMENT agencies are often slow learners. A case in point is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' process for protecting human skeletal remains found on Corps-managed federal land.

Recently a partial human jawbone and two teeth were recovered from the Columbia River not far from where the 9,400-year-old Kennewick Man skeleton was found in 1996. Based solely upon visual inspection of these remains, the Army Corps declared them to be Native American, which puts them on a fast track for transfer to local tribes...

Read the whole story at: Seattle Times: Sept. 15, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ancient Images: Deschutes River Rock Art Video

The view from this small Oregon rock shelter is gorgeous...coupled with its spiritual energy it must have inspired hundreds of generations of visitors as they sought its power.

Located above the fast flowing Deschutes River (a tributary of the Columbia) in central Oregon, the shallow cave is filled with rock art, mostly red or white pictographs.

Both vision quest and shamanistic images are found in the shelter.

Polished smooth by millennia of use, a large flat rock surface in the center of the shelter provides a perfect spot to sit or lay as you seek interaction with spirit helpers or mysterious forces.

You can share a little of this ancient experience in the video below. (Remember to turn on your sound, click the "full-screen" option for a larger view of the video. The photos in this post can also be enlarged by clicking on them).

(Please be aware that YouTube will show you several "recommended videos" at the bottom of the screen when Ancient Images is over. Some of these are interesting, others may be completely inappropriate. Sadly I have no influence or control over what YouTube chooses to promote at the end of my video. Viewer beware.).

Please remember to preserve and protect unique and irreplaceable cultural treasures like this small rock shelter. It is still sacred to the people who used it...and continue to use it even now.

This rock art has been here for hundreds, if not thousands, of years...with your help it can still be here thousands of years from now.


Friday, September 4, 2009

Kennewick Man Update-Deja Vu All Over Again

The parallels with the first Kennewick Man event continue with the second set of human remains found washed out of the bank of the Columbia River last month.

National Public Radio's station KPLU (Seattle/Tacoma) reports that the Army Corps of Engineers plans to repatriate the bones to "Northwest Tribes" we go again.

Read the whole story at: Old Jawbone Found in Columbia River to be Repatriated to Northwest Tribes

Also, see my post below from August 25, 2009 (Breaking News! Second Kennewick Man May Have Been Discovered)

Rock Art Site Etiquette

Visiting a rock art site can be a great experience!

If you're privileged to go to a site here are some guidelines that will help you protect the site while you enjoy it.

  • Treat the site and the rock art with the same respect you would give a religious or sacred place…that’s what it is.
  • Don’t touch the images. The oils from your skin will damage them over time and the abrasion of your fingers can actually remove images from the rock.
  • Don’t remove anything from the site. That cigarette at the foot of the cliff may not be litter but a tobacco offering; that dollar bill was not “lost”…they may have been left by modern Indians to honor the spiritual power of the rock art (of course if you're sure its litter, take it out with you).
  • If there is a trail stay on it. If there is not a trail try not to make one.
  • Don’t trespass on private property.
  • Don’t share the location of non-public sites with others.
  • Don’t make “rubbings” or “contact prints”. This very often causes irreparable harm.
  • Do take photographs or make sketches of the images and feel free to show them to your friends and family.
  • Final Note: Have a good time, be safe, and act responsibly. Take time to enjoy the setting, the culture, the fresh air… and remember, its about appreciating, respecting, and preserving prehistoric rock art that is sacred to the people who made it.
The rock art has been there for thousands of years… with your help it can still be there a thousand years from now.

(The images above are from rock art sites along the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon).