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Cascades Artifact Curation Project

Willamette National Forest, Oregon, 1997
by Eric Bergland, Central Zone Archaeologist

The 1997 Cascades Artifact Curation Project has to have been the tiniest official PIT project ever! Advertised in the summer-fall 1997 PIT Traveler, we asked for only four volunteers. Well, we got our four applications, but on the starting date, only two showed up . . . but what a pair!

The project took place at Blue River Ranger District, at the Central Zone Archaeological Lab. Project Director Eric Bergland had set up the lab earlier in the season, and it was well equipped and stocked for the task at hand. The volunteer coordinator was Gina Michl, herself an FS national volunteer who’d been trained earlier in the season at the lab. Gina’s work in other archaeological and heritage interpretive work in Italy and the Czech Republic made her the ideal candidate for training the PIT volunteers and handling the day-to-day details.

PIT volunteers Pamela Martin and Emily Scales launched into their lab jobs with gusto—they were here to work! Because they would be handling and processing both historical-period and prehistoric artifacts, it made sense to give them some background experience with sites and materials from both time periods. They flintknapped with seasoned knapper Eric Bergland, helped monitor an important “upland lithic site” on a major prehistoric travel route, and even helped close an operating historic fire lookout at Carpenter Mountain for the season. After all of this great training, our volunteers plowed into a small mountain of artifacts that needed to be accessioned, and by the end of their tours, they’d completed it all.

Emily Scales left last, and before leaving, she helped us to test some open-air sites and monitor an important, undisturbed rockshelter location hidden in one of the heavily timbered canyons of the Cascades Mountains.

We might run some pretty small projects up here from time to time, but we give our PIT volunteers plenty of experience in some of the most beautiful country on earth! Our thanks to Gina, Pam, and Emily!
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