All posts by Alison Stenger

PCC Kauai

The Institute for Archaeological Studies introduces people to archaeological sites each year.  The site in the summer of 2011 was in Woodburn. Before that, in the winter of 2011, we traveled to the island of Kauai.Some images, below, are a glimpse of that island trip.

Please contact us, or Gary Palmer at Portland Community College, for more information on the Kauai adventure for next year – gpalmer@pcc.edu

Travel dates will be in early March of 2012, and will probably include two islands.  Deanna is our travel person –dea@wtpdx.com


Steps leading away from the Russian Fort can be explored. On the RIGHT, a Royal birthplace can be visited.


A visit to a village site, and then to enjoy a snorkeling beach, is a great way to end a day’s excursion. Prehistoric and historic sites often overlap.


The past can tell us so much. The information contained on grave markers can tell of longevity, disease, and some family histories. 


Walk with an archaeologist through the past, and visit paradise at the same time!

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Yet, even before the tours start, Kauai’s cultural past will wrap around you… starting with displays at the airport! Take a moment to enjoy the items on display, and read the signage, before proceeding to collect your luggage. This, alone, can help to put you on “island time”.

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Upland sites are difficult to detect on Kaua’i, due to the amount of vegetation that generally obscures them. However, this site has just been re-identified, and restoration has begun. The restoration process  will be ongoing for awhile, as the site is so very significant. Now, even signage is in place.

The McMinnville Mammoth Site

This site that contains the remains of a Columbian Mammoth. During the summers of 2007 and 2009, volunteers from the local community and from scholastic institutions joined together to excavate a portion of the animal. In 2007, the site of an extinct giant bison was also tested. These projects are only possible because of a partnership between the City of McMinnville, the Thomas Condon Sate Museum of Fossils, the Yamhill River Pleistocene Project, and the Institute for Archaeological Studies. Images from two summers of testing the site will be posted shortly. In the interim, please check the Yamhill River Pleistocene Project’s website, and this website under the College Field Work pages.

Despite being only 33 meters apart, the Mammoth and Bison Sites reflect some surprising variations in depositional history.

Stratigraphy of the Mammoth Site
Stratigraphy of the Mammoth Site

A non-credit class about paleoarchaeology was offered throughPortland Community College in August of 2010.  This mini-course provided an opportunity for members of the public, including Seniors, to excavate at the McMinnville Mammoth Site.  Participants learned proper methods while excavating a real paleontological site.  Members of the Yamhill River Pleistocene Project were on site throughout the project to help enrich everyone’s experience. Those wishing course credit were required to contact their professors or advisors prior to the beginning of the project.

Stratigraphy of the Mammoth Site
Stratigraphy of the Mammoth Site

A non-credit class about paleoarchaeology was offered throughPortland Community College in August of 2010.  This mini-course provided an opportunity for members of the public, including Seniors, to excavate at the McMinnville Mammoth Site.  Participants learned proper methods while excavating a real paleontological site.  Members of the Yamhill River Pleistocene Project were on site throughout the project to help enrich everyone’s experience. Those wishing course credit were required to contact their professors or advisors prior to the beginning of the project.

This same class will be offered again soon.  An additional location will be at Mammoth Park, where the remains of an extinct giant bison are the focus.

In the image to the left, a student from the 2009 class uncovers the tusk socket and partial tusk of a mammoth. After getting over his shock of the discovery, he did a brilliant job of excavating the specimen.
In the image to the left, a student from the 2009 class uncovers the tusk socket and partial tusk of a mammoth. After getting over his shock of the discovery, he did a brilliant job of excavating the specimen.

A special thanks to Barrier Corporation, for providing the special foam that allowed us to safely transport the tusk, when excavated, to the laboratory. Without the help of the Barrier Corporation, in Tigard, it would have been far more difficult and risky to move the tusk from its excavation area to the lab.