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                                      BREAKING NEWS

Science in the City
Each month the Pacific Science Center is holding a Science in the City event to discuss research and topics that affect the community. Join Kelly Bush at the PACCAR Theater on Tuesday, August 15, 2017 from 7:00-9:00 pm as she gives a talk on Archaeology in Our Backyard. Cost is $5 for the general public and free for members of the Pacific Science Center.  200 Second Avenue North, Seattle, WA 98109.

Welcome Back Laura Syvertson

Laura has been a seasonal technician with ERCI since 2014 and we are thrilled to welcome her back as a full member of staff.  Laura recently received her M.S. from Portland State University, including completing her thesis entitled “Sampling Fish: A Case Study from the Čḯxwicən Site, Northwest Washington”.

10th Annual Cultural Resource Protection Summit

ERCI is proud to sponsor the 10th Annual Cultural Resource Protection Summit at the House of Awakened Culture in the Clearwater Casino and Resort from May 24-25, 2107. The goal of the annual summit is to facilitate discussion between land development and cultural resource management through keynote speakers and panel discussions.

Family Fun Day at Windjammer Park

ERCI is excited to have an archaeology display at the Oak Harbor Public Works Family Fun Day on May 20, 2107 from 10:00AM-2:00PM. See you there!

Wild Archaeology to air on APTN 9-6-16 at 7:30 pm

Wild Archaeology is a thirteen part half-hour documentary series that takes views on exciting never-before-seen adventures into Canada's ancient Aboriginal past from the point of view of Indigenous peoples.

ERCI to Host AWA Regional Meeting

Come join us on June 21, 2016 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the ERCI Headquarters – 1229 Cleveland Avenue in Mount Vernon, for an informal gathering sponsored by the Association for Washington Archaeology. Our guest speaker will be Whitney Osienski, who will discuss fine-grained volcanic lithics. The AWA will provide coffee and light snacks at the regional meeting and adjourn to a local pub for no host drinks and dinner.

The object of the AWA is to preserve intact archaeological sites that are constantly under threat due to development, natural erosion and looting. Once disturbed, vital information that could be gleaned from the site vanishes. The AWA strives to safeguard information that sites yield.

Unearthed Native American remains won't delay sewer plant project in Oak Harbor
Michelle tests soil layers.jpg

Michelle North, an archaeologist with ERCI, checks soil layers in a test hole at the site of the future sewage treatment plant.

— Image Credit: Photo Submitted


·         by JESSIE STENSLAND,  Whidbey News-Times Co-Editor 

·         Jan 29, 2016 at 1:00PM updated Feb 1, 2016 at 11:50AM

Last month, an archaeologist discovered ancient human remains unearthed at the site of the Oak Harbor sewage treatment plant project.

The inadvertent discovery had little impact on the project as city officials developed detailed plans to handle such an event and coordinated with a long list of government agencies and Native American tribes before the digging even started, City Engineer Joe Stowell said.

“When we found something, everybody worked collaboratively and followed the work plans we have in place,” he said.

In 2011, discovery of a Native American burial ground created long delays in the project to convert Pioneer Way into a one-way road and ended up costing the city millions of dollars. City officials hadn’t followed recommendations from the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation to hire an archaeologist and plan for an inadvertent discovery.

This time around, the planning and the response — as well as the scale of the discovery — has been very different.

“I think we learned from what happened on Pioneer Way,” Stowell said, “and I think we applied it in spades on this project.”

Prior to the start of the sewage plant project, a memorandum of agreement was established that set out a work plan on how to handle inadvertent discoveries. It was signed by six tribes, the state Department of Ecology, the Environmental Protection Agency, the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation and the city.

Equinox Research and Consulting International, a Mount Vernon firm hired by the city, monitors work at the site, which abuts Windjammer Park.

Before Christmas, the on-site archaeologist noticed the human remains in an area newly excavated.

On Jan. 14, the protocols were followed and remains recovered through a “focused excavation.”

The work was monitored by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Lummi Nation, Samish Indian Nation, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, The Suquamish Tribe, Tulalip Tribes and Upper Skagit Indian Tribe. Representatives of the EPA, the Department of Ecology and city were also present.

Stowell said it took weeks to coordinate the excavation, but work on the treatment plant was able to continue in another area. The recovery was completed in a day.

Officials are tight-lipped about details of the discovery. Stowell said the city didn’t alert the public about it until this week because of the tribes’ sensitivity to the issue.

A press release was approved by all the tribes and government agencies involved before it was sent out.

Stowell said there are strict rules the city must adhere to regarding dissemination of information about ancient human remains; that includes federal law because some of the funding for the project originated with the federal government.

Stowell said the remains that were spotted were “very subtle.” He said cultural resources exposed to elements oxidize quickly.

The site of the new sewage treatment plant used to be the location of a slough and a spit. Much of the ground is material that was used to fill in the slough, Stowell said, but there’s an interface with the natural material that once made up the spit.

Kelly Bush, president of Equinox Research, said she also couldn’t discuss details of the find because of confidentiality stipulations in the memorandum of agreement and ensuing work plans.

She said that there is a higher likelihood in Western Washington of finding ancestral remains near the shoreline. The soil in upland areas tends to be highly acidic. Shell remains at the shore leach calcium carbonate, which reduced the acidity and slows decomposition.

That’s the reason that city officials wanted to push the treatment as far north as possible at the site, which is just south of the bay; it’s simply less likely that ancient remains will be found the farther away from the water workers get.

Bush’s team analyzed the site with a series of trenches before work started, which led to the reworking of the site map and plans to possibly raze the aging Whidbey Island Bank building on the north side of the project.

Other evidence of pre-contact activities were found at the site, including shell midden.

Bush said a reburial plan will be developed between the state, federal government and the tribes.

“The City of Oak Harbor recognizes our unique history on Whidbey Island and the need to protect the cultural resources of the community,” Mayor Bob Severns said.

“Recorded history dates back far before a formal city existed here, when American-Indian ancestors inhabited the same areas we use today for home and play.”

“This rich history and ancestry must be formally recognized on a project like the Clean Water Facility,” he said.

·         JESSIE STENSLAND,  Whidbey News-Times Co-Editor 

· or 360-675-6611, ext. 5056

Whidbey News Times 2-1-16


Mount Vernon Library Fall Steam Workshop - Kids Dig Archaeology

The Mount Vernon Library regularly hosts STEAM workshops, or hands on events for school-aged children with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics.  Coinciding with Archaeology Month, this fall's October Steam Workshop will feature a show and tell of archaeology related tools, artifact replicas, and stories provided by local cultural resource managers from Equinox Research and Consulting International, Inc. (ERCI). Join us in the children's area of the library for an hour of exploration (4:30-5:30 pm) on Tuesday, October 13, 2015!

ERCI Travels to Bellingham, Washington for the 67th Annual Northwest Anthropological Conference                                                            Equinox Research and Consulting (ERCI) made a real presence at the Northwest Anthropological Conference (NWAC) this year in Bellingham, Washington.  A wide range of inspiring topics were covered by presenters from all over.  ERCI hosted our symposium on: The Pit Road Recovery Project.

Seven ERCI employees participated in the symposium describing the history of the site, and discussing both methods and an array of analyses on artifacts and faunal remains recovered during the project.

  • Michelle North with Have you Been Dumped? Using Artifact Analysis to Reconstruct Deposition in a Disturbed Context 
  • Alyson Rollins with What Information Can Fauna from a Re-deposited Site Tell Us? Analysis of the 45IS45/300 Faunal Assemblage 
  • Ian Lewis with  Casing with Context: Bullet Casings, Shotgun Shells, and Military Memorabilia from Site 45IS45/300  and  Clasped Tight: An Ethnohistoric Examination of Shell Buttons from 45IS45/300 
  • Tamela Smart with A Cursory Examination of the Artifacts from a Re-deposited Pre-contact Site in the Gulf of Georgia Region (45IS45/300), Whidbey Island, Washington
  • Sarah Johnson Humphries with  Does Screen Size Really Matter? 
  • Anna Robinson-Mathes with No Context, No Problem: Connecting 45IS45/300 with Historic Pioneer Way 

In addition to the symposium, Kelly Bush also presented in two others: Upping Our Game: Reflecting on Practices in CRM, as well as: Emerging Trends in Northwest Coast Wet-Site Archaeology.  Alyson Rollins also presented in The Top Tips symposium. 

Four others also participated in the poster sessions at NWAC:

  • Sarah Johnson Humphries' poster was on the Bone and Antler Tool Assemblage from the Recovery of the 45IS45/300 Site in Oak Harbor, WA
  • Julia Rowland's Master Research was on Community Matters: An Archaeological Investigation of the 1897 to 19070 Equality Colony, Skagit County, Washington 
  • Ian Lewis' poster was on Casings with Context: Bullet Casings, Shotgun Shells, and Military Memorabilia from Site 45IS45/300 
  • Anna Jansson's poster from her work with the Burns Piute Tribe was on: Making Connections with Isolates: Historic Isolated Finds from the Jonesboro Plowing Project in Malheur County, Oregon 

ERCI's presence at professional conferences continues this year, with Ian Lewis chairing a session on Archaeology in Northwestern North America at the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting in Austin, TX in late April.  Anna Jansson will also be attending the conference, but not presenting. 

This year's NWAC was a blast, and we are already making plans for next year when the conference will be hosted in Eugene, OR. 

Special thanks to the 2014 Chair, Sarah Campbell (Western Washington University) for pulling together a truly memorable conference.



KCTS 9- Science Cafe: Archaeology in The Pacific Northwest
"Join Kelly Bush of Skagit County's Equinox Research to discover the science and stories revealed by archaeological sites in the neighborhoods, parks and forests around Puget Sound" (KCTS 9 Science Cafe). 

DAHP Posts New Public Service Annoucements
Check out DAHP's new historic preservation public service announcements.  These places matter!

DAHP public service Announcement videos

DAHP changes their policy on maintaining a list of professional consultants
Effective immediately the Department of Archaeology and Historic Presrevation (DAHP) will no longer be maintaining a list of professional consultants on their website.  For more information see the link below.

DAHP to change policy on consultants list


Washington State Legislature
Find out whats happening today on the floor of the Washington State Legislature.  Get involved and find out what district you are in and who your legislators are.

What's happening on the floor of the WA Legislature?

Find your Legislator

Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation Blog
Historic Preservation in Washington State.  For up to date announcements and news check out this link to DAHP's blog.

DAHP blog

Veterans Curation Program
The Veterans Curation Program (VCP) provides veterans with tangible work skills and experience through rehabilitation and preservation of federally owned or administered archaeological collections.

Veterans, primarily fro the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, are employed for up to 5 months in both part-time and full-time positions.  The VCP provides veterans with an opportunity to receive competitive pay while learning new job skills through technical training in a peer-to-peer veterans' environment. Veterans acquire skills, including: 

  • Computer database management
  • Records management
  • Photographic and scanning technologies
  • Microsoft Office software proficiency
  • Processing & curation of archaeological collections
  • A knowledge of archaeology & history
  • Vocabulary & writing skills
  • Increased interpersonal communication skills

The work products developed in archaeological curation readily translate to entry level skill sets for the museum, forensics, administrate, and records management fields. Jobs at the VCP are tailored to fit the capabilities of disable veterans.

Veterans Curation Program