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San Juan Islands, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 500, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

07 April 2014

Bones and Stones on San Juan Island, WA.


Segments of the report are far outdated for the knowledge scientists have gained since 1946; this is an abridged portion, published by historian Lucile McDonald when she interviewed Arden King.
Bone implements and stone tools 
Excavated at Cattle Pass, San Juan Island,
 by the U of WA researchers, 1946.
 Arden R. King (L) & Richard Dougherty,
the latter a University senior signed on to assist
King the following summer.
Original photo from the archives of the S. P. H. S.
In the summer of 1946, the University of Washington archaeology department sent an expedition to excavate an ancient native campsite near Cattle Point, San Juan Island, WA. Arden R. King of the anthropology department faculty, who supervised the work of 18 student diggers, told of how it may be possible to offer more information about the earliest island Indians when the 500 or more artifacts gathered in the field are studied.
      "We found two cultures, with a clear cut division between the earlier and later groups," he explained. They may represent either different peoples of the same people after they had become adapted to life on the shore. Those of the first culture appear to have eaten mainly deer and elk––yes, in historical times there are reports of elk swimming to the island. People of the later period ate shellfish.
   

Bone and stone tools 
found at Cattle Point, SJ Is. site, 1946.
Photo from the archives of the S.P.H.S.


      The Cattle Point site was also a backstop for military target practice, soldiers in the pioneer period coming down to the beach from American Camp and shooting toward the slope. We found a hand-molded bullet with a rim-fire type shell in our diggings, King added.
King learned that children of white settlers in the neighborhood used to find skeletons at Cattle Point, set them on fence posts as targets for rocks, and thus demolish a large number which would have materially helped the archaeologists.
      The students dug a series of trenches and kept a record of depths at which their finds were made, describing positions and the accompanying material King said.


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