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Ozette Indian Village Archeological Site
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Nearest city: La Push, Washington
Governing body: Private
Added to NRHP: January 11, 1974
NRHP Reference#: 74000916


The Ozette Indian Village Archeological Site is the site of an archaeological dig at Ozette on the Olympic Peninsula near La Push, Washington, USA. The site was a village occupied by the Makah people until a mudslide inundated the site around 1700.[2]



Around 1700, a mudslide completely engulfed part of a Makah village near Lake Ozette. Archaeological test pits were excavated at the Ozette site in 1966 and 1967 by Richard Daugherty.[3] However, it was not until 1970 that it became apparent what was buried there. After a storm in February 1970, tidal erosion exposed hundreds of well preserved wooden artifacts. The excavation of the Ozette site began shortly after. University students worked with the Makah under the direction of archaeologists using pressurized water to remove mud from six buried long houses. The excavation went on for 11 years and produced over 55,000 artifacts, many of which are on display in the Makah Cultural and Research Center.[2]

The mudslide preserved several houses and their contents in a collapsed state until the 1970s when they were excavated by Makahs and archaeologists from Washington State University. Over 55,000 artifacts were recovered, spanning a period of occupation around 2,000 years,[4] representing many activities of the Makahs, from whale and seal hunting to salmon and halibut fishing; from toys and games to bows and arrows. Of the artifacts recovered, roughly 30,000 were made of wood, extraordinary in that wood generally decays particularly fast.[5] Hundreds of knives were recovered, with blade materials ranging from mussel shell,[5] to sharpened beaver teeth, and iron, presumed to have drifted from Asia on wrecked ships.[2] The oral history of the Makah mentions a "great slide" which engulfed a portion of Ozette long ago.

The Makah Museum opened in 1979 and displays replicas of cedar long houses as well as whaling, fishing, and sealing canoes.[6]

See also



  • Kirk, Ruth (1986). Tradition and Change on the Northwest Coast, University of Washington Press, ISBN 0295966289.
  • Kirk, Ruth; Daugherty, Richard D. (2007). Archaeology in Washington, University of Washington Press, ISBN 0295986964.


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