past sites

Past Sites

Info from 2005 report...

Islands and Shores Survey

2003 Archaeology Fieldschool

Portage Island and other areas around the north Puget Sound

June 24 through August 1, 2003

Portage Island is located in Bellingham Bay map, approximately ten miles west of Bellingham. Portage Island, part of the Lummi Reservation, covers 990 acres and has eleven miles of coastlines. It is a horseshoe-shaped island connected to the Lummi Upland by a bridge. The island’s topography consists of high bluffs in the south that gently slope down to the northern shore.

Previous archaeological work in the area consisted of a survey conducted in 1984 that resulted in the discovery of fifty-two sites: nine historic, fourteen shell midden, and twenty-nine lithic component sites.

The field school was concerned with surveying and rerecording the sites on Portage Island and visiting various other locations in the area. Students stayed in Bellingham.

Deception pass siteWhidbey Island Prehistory Project

1999, 2000, & 2001 Archaeology Fieldschools

Whidbey Island, Fidalgo Island and Deception Pass


The Deception Pass area is formed by exposed bedrock at the extreme western end of Fidalgo Island and the corresponding northern end of Whidbey Island, immediately to the south map. The bedrock exposures form a narrow channel leading east from the easternmost end of the Straits of Juan De Fuca, in to Skagit Bay, formed by Whidbey, Camano, and Fidalgo islands enclosing the Skagit river delta. The shoreline is characterized by steep rock or glacial till bluffs punctuated by narrow indentations forming numerous small, shallow bays and coves, with often narrow foreshores and steep, cobbled beaches. picture

As part of the larger Whidbey Island Prehistory Project, the 1999 field school incorporated three distinct activities at different sites within Deception Pass State Park (Skagit and Island Counties, Washington). 45-SK-144 is representative of a number of small, untested, coastal shell middens apparently threatened by erosion was selected for limited subsurface test excavations. The site 45-IS-106, also a relatively small, untested shell midden, was selected for more limited bank profiling and sample collection. The site 45-IS-107, a unique, very large, open air dune site was selected for surface collection and sampling, and limited subsurface testing.

Pictured here are some of our 2000 Fieldschool students working at 45-SK-46, a shell midden with a 3000 year old component, and 45-IS-107, where we had an on going computer assisted mapping and surface collection project at the extensive lithic scatter.

The 2001 field season was our third year on Whidbey Island. The class focused partly on low impact data collection, including survey, systematic surface mapping and collection, remote sensing and subsurface testing. We also conducted more extensive testing at one site that was being diminished by erosion. Many field schools involve working at only one site in order to get to know one site and the professional process of archaeological excavation. Our goal this summer was different: to expose students to a range of environments, survey and excavation conditions, and types of archaeological remains.

The field school began in June with instruction on survey, mapping, and artifact recognition conducted on Western’s campus.

We relocated to our field camp on the north end of Whidbey Island in July. Students were expected to provide their own basic camping gear such as tents, sleeping bags, and rain gear. We had access to showers, shelter and kitchen facilities though! Working six days per week, students conducted test excavations at shell midden site 45-SK-46 and also perform systematic mapping and surface collection at 45-IS-107 in a dune field on the west coast of the island.

Page Updated 05.09.2013