Lava Lands 2000 Testing
Deschutes National Forest, Oregon, 2000
by Lucy Hamilton, FS Archaeologist
What was going to be a one-time project during 1998 to celebrate Oregon Archaeology Week became a three-year project and a wonderful tool for introducing archaeology to visitors to Lava Lands Discovery Center. Turnout for this project was phenomenal. Schoolchildren from all over the state and as far away as Seattle, Washington, came to observe and participate. The students, ranging from fourth graders to middle schoolers, really enjoyed screening and picking out flakes. Some of the students had studied geology and archaeology and were prepared with questions.
Initial fieldwork indicated that the site was probably a small lithic scatter, but instead it turned out to be a hunting station that was probably used many times over and was associated with larger nearby sites. Although it got pretty busy with the students, a great deal of information on the archaeology of the site was collected. Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the support and help of the PIT volunteers. At first, the volunteers were a little nervous and unsure of themselves when answering questions posed by the adult visitors and students, but soon their enthusiasm and understanding of the site’s function bolstered their confidence.
As lead archaeologist for this PIT project, the one thing that impresses me the most is the people who participate in PIT and their many skills and eagerness to learn. When things don’t go as planned, the volunteers are flexible and usually move straight to “Plan B,” all without losing their sense of humor. Just being able to help on these projects is pure joy for them, and it shines through with such clarity! I hope they know how much the FS appreciates their help and enthusiasm.