Historical Reprints Science Archaeology of the Yakima Valley

Archaeology of the Yakima Valley

Archaeology of the Yakima Valley
Catalog # SKU3615
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 2.00 lbs
Author Name Harlan I. Smith
ISBN 10: 0000000000
ISBN 13: 0000000000000


The Archaeology
of the Yakima Valley

Harlan I. Smith

The following pages contain the results of archaeological investigations carried on by the writer for the American Museum of Natural History from May to August, 1903, in the Yakima Valley between Clealum of the forested eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains and Kennewick, between the mouths of the Yakima and Snake Rivers in the treeless arid region, and in the Columbia Valley in the vicinity of Priest Rapids.

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Definite age cannot be assigned to the archaeological finds, since here, as to the north, the remains are found at no great depth or in soil the surface of which is frequently shifted. Some of the graves are known to be of modern Indians, but many of them antedate the advent of the white race in this region or at least contain no objects of European manufacture, such as glass beads or iron knives. On the other hand, there was found no positive evidence of the great antiquity of any of the skeletons, artifacts or structures found in the area. The greater part of the area was formerly inhabited by Sahaptian speaking people, including the Yakima, Atanum, Topinish, Chamnapum, and Wanapum, while the northern part of it was occupied by the Piskwans or Winatshmpui of the Salish linguistic stock.

Near North Yakima we examined graves in the rock-slides along the Yakima and Naches Rivers; a site, where material, possibly boulders, suitable for chipped implements had been dug and broken with pebble hammers, on the north side of the Naches about one mile above its mouth; pictographs on the basaltic columns on the south side of the Naches River to the west of the mouth of Cowiche Creek; petroglyphs pecked into basaltic columns in Selah Canon; ancient house sites on the north side of the Naches River near its mouth, and on the north side of the Yakima River below the mouth of the Naches; remains of human cremations, each surrounded by a circle of rocks on the point to the northwest of the junction of the Naches and Yakima Rivers; recent rock-slide graves on the eastern side of the Yakima River above Union Gap below Old Yakima (Old Town); the surface along the eastern side of the Yakima River, as far as the vicinity of Sunnyside; graves in the domes of volcanic ash in the Ahtanum Valley near Tampico; and rock-slide graves in the Cowiche Valley.

We then moved our base about thirty miles up the Yakima River to Ellensburg, Mr. Albert A. Argyle examining the surface along the western side, en route. From Ellensburg, rock-slide graves and human remains, surrounded by circles of rocks, as well as a village site upon the lowland, were examined near the mouth of Cherry Creek. A day spent at Clealum failed to develop anything of archaeological interest in that vicinity, except that a human skeleton had been removed in the sinking of a shaft for a coal mine.

From Ellensburg we went to Fort Simcoe by way of North Yakima and near the Indian Agency observed circles of rocks, like those around the cremated human remains near North Yakima, and a circular hole surrounded by a ridge, the remains of an underground house. Crossing the divide from Ellensburg and going down to Priest Rapids in the Columbia Valley, no archaeological remains were observed except chips of stone suitable for chipped implements which were found on the eastern slope of the divide near the top and apparently marked the place where material for such implements, probably float quartz, had been quarried. On the western side of the Columbia, on the flat between Sentinal Bluffs and the river at the head of Priest Rapids, considerable material was found. This was on the surface of the beach opposite the bluffs and on a village site near the head of Priest Rapids. Graves in the rock-slides, back from the river about opposite this site, were also examined. Some modern graves were noticed in a low ridge near the river, a short distance above the village site. Crossing the Columbia, some material was found on the surface of the beach and further up, petroglyphs pecked in the basaltic rocks at the base of Sentinal Bluffs were photographed.

222 pages - 8½ x 11 softcover

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