BLYN — A Jamestown S’Klallam tribal historian will share information today about an 1,100-year-old cooking site that was discovered during the excavation of the Veterans Memorial.
David Brownell, Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe historic preservation officer, will discuss artifacts and food waste found at Jamestown Picnic Site along the shores of Sequim Bay.
The presentation will begin at 6 p.m. today at the Red Cedar Hall Community Center on the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Campus, 1033 Old Blyn Highway in Blyn.
“I will be discussing the results of the archaeological excavations, and how what we found archaeologically matches with ethnographic accounts of S’Klallam life on Sequim Bay,” Brownell said Tuesday.
The free event is appropriate for all ages, according to an announcement from the tribe.
“Discover how the S’Klallam have been adept at managing the rich resources of Sequim Bay for thousands of years, and what the pre-contact Sequim Bay environment was like,” the announcement said.
The archaeological site was discovered during early site preparation for the Veterans Memorial, which opened in Blyn in August 2017.
The site was immediately documented and named the Jamestown Picnic Site.
“Characterized by archaeologists as a ‘shell midden,’ the site is essentially a series of traditional cooking pits and the associated remnants of cooked meals,” Brownell said in an October 2018 article for the tribe’s newsletter.
Samples from site
“In addition to evidence of food preparation and cooking, we also found artifacts associated with wood-working including a nephrite adze and an antler wedge, used for splitting cedar boards.”
Charcoal samples collected from the cooking pits were used for radiocarbon dating.
“We did receive some radiocarbon dates that put the site at over 1,100 years old,” Brownell said in a Tuesday email.
The artifacts will help scientists learn more about what the environment was like on Sequim Bay around the year 900.
“One good example of this is looking at the various shellfish species documented, and how prevalent these species are in Sequim Bay today,” Brownell said.
“Some species of clam like butter, horse and cockle are still found in Sequim Bay, but in much lower numbers than what was found at the site. Other species like littleneck clams and Olympia oysters have almost disappeared entirely, until recent efforts by the tribe to re-establish populations of these native species.”
The Jamestown Picnic Site also contained fish vertebrae, fruit pits, deer bone, seal bone and a few pieces of bird bone, Brownell said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.