Current topics in archaeology, cultural heritage & historic preservation

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Petroglyph Tunnel Progresses!

The other day Suzanne Bachelder (from the City of Washougal) and I went over to Vancouver Granite Works to take a look at the large basalt rock that will stand at the entry to the Washougal Pedestrian Tunnel.

This large chunk of columnar basalt will be a commemorative stone that recognizes the Indian people of the Columbia Plateau and those who contributed to the rock art portion of the project. The boulder, standing at the northern entrance to the tunnel (see drawing for one possibility), will mark the beginning of the transition from the city to the river.

The rock is not quite complete in the photos that follow. Suzanne collected tracings of actual handprints from all the high school interns who worked on the project. When complete those real handprints will be carved into the stone. When we saw it the handprints had not yet been carved, but the concept photo (at right) will give you the idea.

Check it out!

...and here are the interns and coordinators who are helping make the concept into a reality!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

60,000 Years of Family Migration: The Genographic Project


Wouldn't it be cool if you could know where your ancestors came from 60,000 years ago!? Kind of makes a trip on the Mayflower seem insignificant...

Now, through the wonders of DNA analysis, you can actually track the journey your ancient forefathers (and/or mothers) took across the globe.

National Geographic, IBM, and the Waite Family Foundation have made this possible by creating The Genographic Project. A 5-year undertaking that promises to reveal the secrets of human migration across the earth by studying the DNA of indigenous people and ordinary folks like you and me.

I've signed up to participate in The Genographic Project and I'm going to post information on the process...and my personal results...on this blog.

So let's get started!

February 5, 2010: I go to the Project website to order my Genographic Participation Kit. The kit costs $115.90 ($99.95 plus $15.95 shipping if you're in the U.S.) Not cheap, but I really want to know my family's migration pathway and they are going to test my actual DNA which I know is pretty expensive.

February 12, 2010: My Participation Kit arrives!

...and Lexie the Cat is so fascinated I thought we were going to have to send in her DNA!
February 15, 2010: DNA sampling commences! Basically you take that small plastic stick and scrap it around inside your cheek...hey, we've all seen this is pretty easy. Then you drop the business end of the stick into a little tube of fluid and screw it closed...then you do it all again creating a second sample

February 17, 2010:
I sign the Consent Form, put it and the samples in the padded envelope that comes with the kit...and drop it in the mail.

Now all we have to do is wait a few weeks for the results...a map that shows the actual migration path of my ancestors as they traveled out of Africa (I assume) and, over the centuries, find their way to North America. Stay tuned!

You don't have to spend a hundred bucks or donate your DNA to be part of the Genographic Project...just click the DONATE button below and give what you can to this worthy effort. (Of course, I have NO financial interest in the project!)