Tag Archives: marmes rockshelter

Memorial Tributes for Dr. Richard “Doc” Daugherty

Richard Daugherty with the famous "whaling trophy" from the Ozette Site.  Source: Washington State University.

Richard Daugherty with the famous “whaling trophy” from the Ozette Site. Source: Washington State University.

Dale Croes sends along the following information: two tribute events for the late Dr. Richard Daugherty, who passed away February 22 at the age of 91. Daugherty was Professor of Archaeology at Washington State University, and is best known for two remarkable projects: the Marmes Rockshelter dig and the long-term Ozette wet site project, the latter being commonly referred to as the “Pompeii of North America” on the grounds of its incredible preservation of organic Makah material culture.

I only met Dr. Daugherty once a long time ago when I was privileged to speak about the Kilgii Gwaay wet site in Seattle, but there is an entire generation of NW Archaeologists who were his students, or were otherwise inspired or mentored by him. If you’re one of them (and count me amongst the inspired), then feel free to leave a comment below, and this can serve as an online repository of good memories and funny stories perhaps. It’s the NW Anthropology meetings starting tonight in Bellingham and I am sure there will be plenty of beer glasses clinked in his memory.  If you click “continue reading” then I’ve gathered together some of the obituaries and also the poster which Dale sent with details of the two tributes, the first of which is this coming Monday in Olympia.

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The Marmes Rockshelter Site

View out of the Marmes Rockshelter site.

View out of the Marmes Rockshelter site.

The Marmes rockshelter in eastern Washington State (map) is one of the oldest and most significant archaeological sites in NW North America. In its inundation by reservoir waters, it is also one of the sadder stories.  Washington State University has put a large amount of Marmes material online, including several photo galleries of work in progress.

The site was found in the early 1950s on land owned by Roland “Squirt” Marmes (pronounced “Mar-muss”)  a local rancher, but it wasn’t until 1962 that a large scale excavation commenced.

Shovel Bums of the Old School

Shovel Bums of the Old School

In soon order, there was a series of sensational finds of artifacts, fauna and human remains.  The oldest of these dated to 10,750 radiocarbon years ago, or, about 12,700 solar years ago.  At the time, these were the oldest human remains known from the Americas, and the artifacts represented one of the oldest known sites and one that was, interestingly, markedly different from the Clovis Culture type especially in the number and style of large, stemmed projectile points.  Among the other artifacts were distinctive crescentic stone blades, this exquisite bone needle, beads made of Olivella shell, which must have come from the Pacific Ocean.    HistoryLink.org, Washington State’s online encyclopedia, has a good summary article, and the WSU links above also give much more detail.  Indeed, WSU has been doing some wonderful digitization of old projects, which I will highlight in posts to come.  Things I have learned include the ubiquity of pipe smoking in the earlier days of Washington Archaeology.  My only criticism of this wonderful resource is the lack of captions on the photo galleries.  Who are these people, for example; who is under these splendid war bonnets?  Take a moment to tell us in a caption, or the file name.

The story of the inundation of the site by rising river impoundment is also of interest. Continue reading