Published In

Wapato Valley Archaeology Project report, #7.; Cultural resource series (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Region 1), no. 13.

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Excavations (Archaeology) -- Washington (State) -- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Historic preservation -- Washington (State) -- Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, Chinook Indians -- Antiquities, Ridgefield (Wash.) -- Antiquities


Archaeological investigations at site 45CL1, Clark County, Washington, demonstrate that the locality is a very large (c 1.5ha), deeply stratified (2-4m) town site with an occupation spanning at least 1000 years (c. AD 1000 to 1840). Six large, complex depressions have been mapped. Test excavations show that these depressions represent the semisubterranean portions of residential structures, probably large plankhouses of the type common on the Lower Columbia River and the Northwest Coast in aboriginal times. The depressions may represent as many as 11 such dwellings. A seventh depression is deeply buried beneath midden deposits. The cultural deposits contain very high densities of artifacts, ecofacts (including both faunal and floral remains), debris and features.

The site is near the Columbia River on a very active flood plain, resulting in site stratigraphy produced by a combination of active cultural and alluvial depositional processes. Site 45CL1, given its location and size, is the best candidate to be the site of Cathlapotle, a Middle Chinookan town visited by Lewis and Clark in 1806, as well as by other early Europeans in the area. The site is extraordinarily well preserved, having undergone only minor alterations since its abandonment, probably in the third or fourth decade of the 19th century AD.

Persistent Identifier