All posts by Alison Stenger

Ice Age People of the Americas and Oregon’s Ancient History

Date: 01/16/2015
Time: 09:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Multnomah Athletic Club

Description: Most of us were taught that humans migrated into the Americas at the very end of the last Ice Age, or approximately 11,000-10,000 years ago. The Bering Land Bridge was their single entry point. The story continues that people traveled down an ice free corridor, dispersed throughout North and then South America, and that they came on foot. As it turns out, however, none of this is accurate! In fact, archaeological evidence tells a very different story. Who were these ancient people? Where did they come from, what types of environments did they encounter, and what do we know about Oregon’s ancient people? Presented by Dr. Alison Stenger, Director of Research with the Institute for Archaeological Studies.

If you have questions about this event or registration, please contact Member Events at 503-517-7265 or


In July and August, we again participated in investigations of Legion Park and Mammoth Park. These sites are in Woodburn, located close to Salem and Portland. We excavated, mapped, and water screened. We also visited the laboratory where the recovered items are stabilized and cataloged.

In 2015, we again expect to be working at these two sites. If you are a member of the Oregon Archaeological Society, please check with them for dates. The August experience is offered through Portland Community College. Please check their website or catalog for enrollment instructions.

Don’t forget to take a look at the college field work page of this website. Other Woodburn site information is available at Webshots–just google astenger webshots, or, and the link will take you there. The letter report of this project, and the summary of past work, can be accessed through WBHS (1).doc.

Paleontology – Archaeology Field Experience

People with an interest in paleontology and archaeology will have an opportunity to try both field and laboratory work in August!  The planned site is at Mammoth Park, where the excavation of a 11,000 year old extinct giant bison (Bison antiquus) will continue.  The partial remains of other extinct giant animals (megafauna) may also be excavated.  As we work down to the depths of these extinct animals, we may locate and document evidence of a past human presence, in the form of stone flakes that were produced during the times that these ancient creatures lived in the Valley, and naturally shed human hair from the same time period.  This class always fills quickly, so if you are interested, please contact Gary Palmer, at PCC, to be added to the list. This is a different part of the same site we tested last summer, and some photos are posted on this website.


If the flood deposits from winter prevent our accessing this site, then we will work at Mammoth Park, in Woodburn.  This is the site of an extinct giant bison (Bison antiquus), as well as approximately a dozen other species of now extinct Ice Age animals.  


In past years, we have been able to participate in McMinnville projects. These opportunities are due to a partnership between researchers and volunteers from the Yamhill River Pleistocene Project and those of the Mammoth Park Project.  Instruction is provided by professionals from the Institute for Archaeological Studies, with assistance from members of the OMSI paleontology laboratory, and other visiting professionals from the University of Oregon.


These field experiences are open to both adults and students (over 18 years of age), through the Continuing Education program at Portland Community College.  A classroom session, discussing the peopling of the Americas and excavation protocols,  will precede field work.
This opportunity is thanks to partnerships between the professionals and volunteers of the Yamhill river Pleistocene Project, Mammoth Park, and the Institute for Archaeological Studies. (Be sure to look at the Yamhill River Pleistocene Project website!)


Participants will learn field and laboratory methods, and will be invited to participate in all aspects of fieldwork, from recording the items they have excavated to screening of both dry and wet sediments.



Yamhill River area of McMinnville,

great information about the late Ice Age animals and people of the McMinnville area.

Our sincere thanks to the Barrier Corporation in Tigard and Hertz rentals in McMinnville. Their help allowed us to successfully complete the first phase of our investigation of the Yamhill River area of McMinnville, as discussed in the above site.  and   two great sites on Oregon archaeology and history

Also, while not archaeological, please take a moment to visit:   If you have ever wondered about the Missoula (Bretz) floods, and the effect on much of the Northwest, take a look at this  and   two great sites on Oregon archaeology and history

Miscellaneous   This is a wonderful site, with lots of information about Asian populations, here and around the world. Everything from the cultures of antiquity to modern populations are featured. will take you to “ResearchGate”, a website for researchers.  Over 300,000 members are listed, and job openings are posted there.

New: a listing of upcoming talks, for an interested public to attend! A wonderful resource.
     If you care about animals, please take a look at this site.