Skip to comments.Tse-Whit-Zen Artifacts Languish In Storage
Posted on 05/01/2008 1:42:41 PM PDT by blam
Tse-whit-zen artifacts languish in storage
By Jonathan Martin
Seattle Times staff reporter
An arrowhead created by a Lower Elwha Klallam tribal member.
One of the Pacific Northwest's most astonishing archaeological finds in a generation has languished for more than a year, lingering on metal shelves in a Seattle warehouse, unseen by the public and unexamined by scientists.
No one questions the discoveries artifacts from a 2,700-year-old Native American village excavated from the Port Angeles waterfront amid great public interest should be exhibited, analyzed and celebrated.
But the 900 boxes of artifacts such things as spindle whorls carved from whale vertebrae, along with animal bones and shell fragments remain hung up in a bureaucratic no man's land. Questions about who owns and controls access to the collection are still in dispute.
And there's also another all-too-familiar problem when the government gets involved: The money to study the collection evaporated.
The federal government had promised analysis of and public education about the village, Tse-whit-zen, but backed out when excavation mushroomed in scope and controversy.
There's some hope that the local congressional delegation may step up. But until then, frustrated local historians evoke the final scene in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," when, after all the adventure and fuss, the Ark of the Covenant is crated and carted into obscurity inside a cavernous government archive.
"This is a big, important site, and it is sad that it is languishing on the shelf," said Steve Denton of the University of Washington's Burke Museum, which is taking care of the collection for the time being.
Time of the essence
Tse-whit-zen (pronounced ch-WEET-sen), nestled in the elbow of Port Angeles' Ediz Hook, was once a thriving fishing village inhabited by the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe.
(Excerpt) Read more at seattletimes.nwsource.com ...
So why not spell it that way? Bad as modern spellings of Chinese place names.
If I were an anthropologist or archaeologist, I'd run from them as fast as possible.
Thanks Blam. Personally, I think all this is just graverobbing, and these artifacts should be reburied in secret. /rimshot
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Actually, the scientists (the “white man” I suppose) DO want to study it. But the natives view it as more sacred and DON’T want any study of it - unless it is by them. And then I’m not so sure if it would be “studying” other than reinforcing the stories that they already have that have been passed down over the centuries.
Back when all this happened, many of the natives from the area, after the artifacts were found, and the site got bigger and bigger and bigger - said “Well sure, we knew it was there, but nobody asked us”. However, local natives and archaeologists were brought in early on to see if this huge dry dock could be built there without disturbing any native artifacts, but none were found.
I always wondered if the natives knew it was in this area somewhere, and figured the best way to gain access to it was to have them build (or attempt to build) the dry docks so the state would have to do all of the work.
The whole thing is a huge mess all the way around - for everyone.
"Inconvenient" and "Who really gives a rip?" are two entirely different things.