Excavating a Makah Whaling Village
- PUBLISHED: April 2015
- SUBJECT LISTING: Archaeology, Native American and Indigenous Studies, Pacific Northwest
- BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 120 Pages, 8 x 10 in, 90 illus., 70 in color, 2 maps
- ISBN: 9780295994628
Makah families left the coastal village of Ozette in the 1920s to comply with the federal government’s requirement that they send their children to school, and by doing so they ended nearly two thousand years of occupation at this strategic whale- and seal-hunting site on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Archaeologist Richard Daugherty took note of the site in a survey of the coast in 1947 and later returned at the request of the Makah tribal chairman when storm waves began exposing both architecture and artifacts. Full-scale excavations from 1966 to 1981 revealed houses and their contents—including ordinarily perishable wood and basketry objects that had been buried in a mudflow well before the arrival of Europeans in the region. Led by Daugherty, with a team of graduate and undergraduate students and Makah tribal members, the work culminated in the creation of the Makah Museum in Neah Bay, where more than 55,000 Ozette artifacts are curated and displayed.
Ozette: Excavating a Makah Whaling Village is a comprehensive and highly readable account of this world-famous archaeological site and the hydraulic excavation of the mudslide that both demolished the houses and protected the objects inside from decay. Ruth Kirk was present, documenting the archaeological work from its beginning, and her firsthand knowledge of the people and efforts involved enrich her compelling story of discovery, fieldwork, and deepen our understanding of Makah cultural heritage.
Authors & Contributors
Ruth Kirk, writer and photographer, is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Archaeology in Washington, with her husband Richard D. Daugherty; Sunrise to Paradise: The Story of Mount Rainier National Par; and Exploring Washington’s Past: A Road Guide to History, with Carmela Alexander. Her writing has earned her many accolades, including the John Burroughs Medal for Natural History Writing and a National Book Award nomination. Kirk also has received recognition for her writing from both the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Library Association.
Foreword by Meredith Parker
1. Getting Started
2. A Buried House
3. More Discoveries
A comprehensive and highly readable account- Columns
This book is a delight! ... It is a loving, knowledgeable, and well researched explanation of how the Makah village was remembered by the tribal members…. It is a book you should put on your Christmas list, give to a colleague who worked at the site, or just order for yourself. Happy reading!- Nancy Kenmotsu, AWA News
Ozette as a book is not only authoritative, it is spectacular because of its 90 illustrations, most of them in color and the bulk of them by Ruth Kirk. The story behind Ozette is compelling.- Robert C. Carriker, Columbia Magazine
As someone who first saw Ozette fifty years ago, and who has wondered about its mysteries ever since, I could not be happier to see this book appear out of the Makah mists. One of the greatest Northwest stories ever, as told by one of my favorite authors ever—what's not to celebrate? Reading Ruth Kirk's loving account of Professor Richard Daugherty's greatest excavation, enriched with tribal participation and her stunning photographs, takes me there once again.- Robert Michael Pyle, author of Wintergreen and Mariposa Road
Anything Ruth Kirk writes I will devoutly read, and to have her paired with the dramatic story of the Ozette dig is a decided pleasure. No writer is more qualified, nor more dedicated, to the telling of this enticing archeological tale.- Ivan Doig, author of Winter Brothers
In this one of a kind first person account Ruth Kirk gives us a long awaited behind the scenes look at one of the most important archaeological finds in the Northwest. From the wonder of the unfolding discovery, including photographs from the dig, to the special relationship that developed with the Makah people as their village at Ozette was revealed, Kirk's account is a unique gift to readers and to history.- Lynda Mapes, author of Breaking Ground
From listening to the stories of Makah elders to accompanying archeologists in the field and specialists in the lab, Ruth Kirk has made a decades-long study of the Northwest's oldest documented whaling village. Now, with honed insight and clear, luminous prose, she shares the remarkable story of Ozette village and its rediscovery. This book is a celebration of a heroic people and an enduring culture in one of the most dramatic natural settings in North America.- Tim McNulty, author of Olympic National Park
This book is an inspiration, just as ‘Doc’ Daugherty and his crew inspired us all at the Ozette Village site. We will never understand our future until we better understand the past and Ozette helps us do just that.- Ralph Munro, Washington Secretary of State, 1980-2001
Makahs worked with ‘Doc’ Daugherty and Ruth Kirk for more than 45 years and we have been greatly anticipating the completion this book. As Makahs, we know the beauty and strength of Ozette and now the rest of the world can too!- Janine Ledford, Executive Director, Makah Cultural and Research Center
Ozette: Excavating a Makah Whaling Village will be highly popular among both professionals in anthropology and members of the interested public. This truly is one of her best writings and a synthesis such as only Ruth Kirk could write.- Dale R. Croes, PhD, Washington State University, and director, Pacific Northwest Archaeological Society