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Excavating Sacred Sites like the Native American Village Tse-whit-zen

Steve Scher
06/12/2009 at 9:00 a.m.

In 2004, the Department of Transportation began constructing the facility that helped them build the new Hood Canal Bridge. As backhoes dug through layers of industrial fill dirt, they began to unearth skeletons, carvings, and cooking hearths. It was the pre–historic Native American village Tse–whit–zen. Over 300 burial sites were uncovered before construction stopped. How was such a major burial site missed for so long? How should archeological sites be excavated? What do these ancient remains reveal about the culture that lived there? What lessons were learned from the excavation of Tse–whit–zen?

Plus, the weekend weather forecast with Cliff Mass.


Lynda Mapes is a journalist with the Seattle Times. Her book is B"reaking Ground: The Lower Elwha Tribe and the Unearthing of Tse–whit–zen Village."

Peter Lape is a professor of Archaeology at the University of Washington and curator of Archaeology at the Burke Museum.

Frances Charles is the tribal chairwoman for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

Cliff Mass is a UW Atmospheric Scientist.

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