Published In

Oregon Historical Quarterly

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2007


Dalles (Or.) -- Antiquities, Columbia River Region -- Antiquities, Indians of North America -- Antiquities -- Law and legislation, Archaeological thefts -- Oregon -- Dalles


Assesses the damage done to Native American sites and heritage by relic hunters and archaeologists digging in the mid-Columbia River region that was inundated by completion of The Dalles Dam in 1957. Long before the dam was built,relic hunters disturbed grave sites and mounds in their search for artifacts. The artifacts went into private collections or were sold, without concern for their context or for the rights and concerns of native people. The article also discusses the development of the profession of archaeology and the ways professional archaeologists were complicit in the desecration of native sites. Sites along the river continue to be looted in spite of laws against looting and the ethical codes adopted by such organizations as the Society for American Archaeology.


Adapted from a presentation given at the "Celilo Stories" conference, The Dalles, Oregon, March 2007. Part of a special issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of The Dalles Dam completion.

This is the publisher's final PDF. Copyright © 2007, Oregon Historical Society. Reproduced by permission.

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