Sunken Village Wet Site, Oregon, USA–Synthesis in JWA9

 Volume 9 of the Journal of Wetland Archaeology is dedicated to the well-preserved wet site of Sunken Village, on the southern end of Sauvie Island, Portland, Oregon, USA.  Sunken Village is one of only ca. 250 archaeological sites in the USA to have been given National Historic Landmark status.

Sunken Village (35MU4) represents the largest known acorn leaching pit site in the North America. During the low waters of September 2007, the international team of Japanese, U.S. and Tribal archaeologist mapped over 110 hemlock bough lined pits containing remnant of numerous waterlogged acorns, as well as basketry fragments, wooden wedges and abundant wood and fiber debitage. We estimate that, if all pits recorded were used, over 2.5 million acorns could be leached in a season at this site.

One fragile and ancient diamond-plaited soft flat bag recovered has drawn attention from regional basketry experts in the desert west of the U.S.A. Great Basin, through Jomon period wet site specialists in Japan.  This distinct basketry type is recorded for up to 9,000 years in cave sites in the state of Nevada, U.S.A through Klamath and Puget Sound Native American modern collects in Northwestern U.S.A..  In Japan these diamond-plaited soft bags are seen associated with acorn pit waterlogged sites from 7,000 years ago through Ainu modern collections. We have used cladistic analyses to associate ancient Northwest Coast basketry through over 2,800 museum baskets collections, and plan to expand that sample into the contact and ancient U.S. Great Basin and Japanese Jomon basketry.  We hope this will demonstrate the first concrete evidence of a broad Pacific and very ancient cultural sharing, where ideas moved rapidly throughout the North Pacific Basin, as demonstrated through the use of acorn pit processing/storage, and with the sharing of distinct styles of basketry around at least the North Pacific.

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Sunken Village Publication Out Now

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