Fishing Weirs in Surprising Settings

Recent excavations at two U.S. coastal Oregon sites have identified wood stake fishing weirs in surprising settings.   One is in a narrow channel under a concrete bridge, and the other is in a former dairy farm pasture.  In many ways these weirs are typical of the 65 intertidal fishing weir sites I recorded as part of my dissertation research in the 1990s, but their locations are somewhat surprising.  For complete report see:  Fishing Weirs in Unexpected Settings 3-8-10

Close to 100 archaeological fishing weir sites have been recorded on the Oregon State coast, USA, since 1993.  In many areas weirs are now more common than any other site type. 

The scope of research topics that can be addressed involving weirs is also growing, as exemplified by Robert Losey of the University of Alberta, Canada, in the current issue of Cambridge Archaeological Journal:

Scott Byram

Byram Archaeological Consulting and

Archaeological Research Facility, University of California, Berkeley

Higashimyo Wet Site, Japan, Update and News

Update reports provided by Professor Akira Matsui on the spectacular Higashimyo wet site:

 Higashimyo News 3-5-10  and

I went to Higashimyo yesterday (3-1-10) and discussed how we could preserved the rest of the site by monitoring the PH, Ev and other chemical conditions.

Importance of this site:  Higashimyo is dated to the late initial Jomon period.  The AMS radiocarbon date of a basket made of Aphananthe aspera is 6976 + 36 BP (5891-5790 yrcalBC).

Finding so many Initial Jomon shell middens is an exceptional incident in this country.  The scale of the site is one of the largest in western Japan.  It is also rare and academically valuable that settlements, a grave yard, shell middens, and storage pits were found at the same time.  Some of the unearthed artifacts such as ornaments made of shell and animal bones are especially uncommon.  The baskets and wooden containers are the oldest found in the country.  Discovery of these artifacts has a dramatic impact on our image of initial Jomon culture.  While shell middens in Japan have rarely been excavated as thoroughly as we have done at this site, it is expected that various articles from this site will provide us with important clues to understanding ancient lifestyles and cultures.

In the belief that the Higashimyo Site is one of the rare and very important archaeological sites in the country, studies toward the preservation of Middens No. 3 and 6 has commenced.


Director of Center for Archaeological Operations Independent Administrative Institution National Institutes for Cultural Heritage Nara National Cultural Properties Research Institute 2-9-1, Nijo-cho, Nara 630-8577 Japan

Tel.+81-(0)742-30-6851 Fax.+81-(0)742-30-6856  Also, Professor of Environmental Archaeology Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studuies, Kyoto University

[NOTE:  Also see the Japan–Northwest Coast Exchange report on U.S./Canadian wet site archaeologists visit to these collections and the site under CONFERENCES–EXCHANGES menu above]