Monday, November 5, 2012

1970's Archaeology Excavations

These fantastic photographs from were taken by retired 
Archaeologist and Anthropology professor John Atherton 
at excavation sites in Oregon, USA in the 1970's.

I have added the photographs original descriptions as captions.

Big thank you to John for allowing me to share his wonderful photographs here.

Historial archeology excavations at the old Champoeg townsite, Champoeg State Park Oregon (USA) 1974

Archaeological excavations at a prehistoric American Indian site in North-Central Oregon (USA) 1977

Archaeological Excavations at a prehistoric American Indian site in North Central Oregon (USA) 1977

Historical Archaeology at the Champoeg townsite, Oregon Summer 1973

Archaeological excavations in the Clarno Basin near the Hancock Field Station, North Central Oregon USA, 1977.              Photo taken in the summer of 1977. Fill was taken from small areas of the excavation unit and screened (in case any artifacts were missed in place --- almost all were measured in their original position). The fill (soil) was then bagged separately according to location and depth and put through a flotation device (below) which allowed organic materials to go to the surface where they were skimmed off, filtered according to size, and dried for identification. The remaining fill was let out of the bottom through another series of filters so that any tiny artifacts (like waste flakes from the manufacture of stone tools) could be recovered and sorted by size. After all the stone tools and flakes were catalogued, all the artifacts from the entire site were matched up where possible to others (like a very complicated jigsaw puzzle). This way it was possible to tell which parts of the site were probably being used at a particular point in time and to reconstruct activity like making a stone tool in one part of the site and using it and re-sharpening it in another.

Custom made floatation device, Clarno Basin, Oregon 1977 (relating to above pic description)

Archaeology crew ready to go, but truck not cooperating, Camp Hancock, Oregon USA 1977

Measuring elevation with a line level. Historical archaeology at the old Champoeg townsite, Oregon USA 1973

Archaeologist and notebook. Historical Archaeology at the old Champoeg townsite, Oregon USA 1973

Sorting artifacts and cooking at an archaeological campsite Champoeg, Oregon 1973

Archaeologists in love. Taken during Archaeological excavations at the site of the original town of Champoeg, Oregon 1973. (John also noted in 2011 in his comments on this photo, that this couple were married a year or two after this photo was taken, and are still married today.)

Historian & Ceramic expert Harriet Munnick and me at the Champoeg, Oregon Archaeological site 1975

Laboratory work on the Champoeg townsite historical archaeology project, Oregon USA 1973


  1. These are amazing photo's, you really get a sense of what is happening, the shorts crack me up too!
    I'm surprised if any work was done? All the girls look like Charlies Angels! :)

    Bet you Dana had shorts like that! :)

  2. As I read your post, I kept thinking, "Yep, that's how we dressed all right." And then I saw Pippa's comment. I got a good laugh out of that. Cut-off jeans, halter tops and Charlie's Angels hairdos. That was the 70s, for sure. I was a few years older than the girls in the photos, and a year after they were taken, my daughter was born...when I was 30.

    I have a photo of myself I should share. I have on a halter top, bell bottom jeans and am sporting a similar hairdo...just a few years prior to these shots.

  3. Think I could use some of these in a conference presentation?

    1. Hi Chris, please contact Professor John Atherton re: use of these images (link to his Flickr account at top of this post in blue text - you can then email him through Flickr). He got back to me really quickly when I originally enquired about sharing his images and was great to deal with. Best of luck, Donna


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