Saturday, February 18, 2006


Maritime Museum event focuses on local archaeology


The Daily Astorian
February 16, 2006

The Columbia River Maritime Museum offers a presentation, “Cathlapotle and the Archaeology of Lewis and Clark and the Fur Trade,” by Portland State University Professor Kenneth Ames, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. The program is free and open to the public.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition and the maritime fur trade (1792-1835) are best known from historical documents. However, recent archaeological research along the lower Columbia River has produced significant archaeological evidence about the period, especially American Indian people along the river and their responses to, and participation in, the fur trade. Excavations at Cathlapotle, a Chinookan town near Vancouver, Wash., and at McGowan Station Campsite, across the Columbia from Astoria, are particularly important in this record. Lewis and Clark visited Cathlapotle March 29, 1806, leaving detailed accounts in their journals. Ames’ recent field research has focused on Cathlapotle, where the remains of six very large plank houses have been located, with two of these being the subject of extensive excavations. The site is extraordinarily rich, and provides detailed insight into Chinookan life, economy and social organization before and during the early stages of the fur trade. Ames’ program will focus on land use, subsistence and trade.

Ames is professor and department chair of Anthropology at Portland State University, where he has worked since 1984. He is currently president of the Society for American Archaeology. Ames has conducted archaeological field research in western North America and the lower Columbia River. His works are widely published in anthropology and archaeology journals. He has authored numerous articles and book chapters on the archaeology of western North America, including complex hunter-gatherers and other topics. Ames is the senior author, with Herbert Maschner, of “Peoples of the Northwest Coast, their Archaeology and Prehistory.” The National Park Service consulted Ames for the Kennewick Man cultural affiliation study.

Located at 1792 Marine Drive in Astoria, the Columbia River Maritime Museum is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission fees are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 65 and older, $4 for youth and free for children younger than 6. Admission is always free for members. For information about this program, contact Betsey Ellerbroek at (503) 325-2323.


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