The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) I-5 - SR 502 Interchange Project constructed a new I-5 interchange at SR 502 (NE 219th Street) in north Clark County (Exit 11).
Archaeological Sites Overview
Prior to construction of the project, archaeological investigations of the project area resulted in the discovery of archaeological sites in the vicinity of the interchange, the Gee Creek sites. These appear to be the traces of past use of the area by Native Americans.
I-5 - SR 502 Interchange Project area
| Archaeological excavation at the Gee Creek sites|
|Together, the Gee Creek archaeological sites have produced one of the longest and most complete radiocarbon chronologies of prehistoric activity yet identified for an archaeological locality in western Washington or the Portland vicinity. The archaeological data show that the Native Americans used this particular location repeatedly for at least 8,000 years.
Charcoal and fire-modified rock found during excavations at the Gee Creek sites
|The environmental setting of the location changed as the climate alternated between warmer, drier periods and cooler, wetter periods over the millennia. The types of activities that took place at the Gee Creek sites appear to have remained generally constant through these times of environmental change. Archaeological materials were preserved by wind-blown silts that accumulated and blanketed the landscape during the dry periods.|
Screening sediment from Gee Creek archaeological sites to recover artifacts in 2007
|Stone tool uses appear to have remained largely unchanged over several millennia, representing a continuation of similar food procurement and processing activities through time at the Gee Creek archaeological sites. |
Excavation of a hearth at the Gee Creek sites
|The archaeological record reveals a long tradition of upland subsistence strategies in the Gee Creek area that involved collection and processing of plant and animal resources. This included small mammals, fish, birds, and perhaps turtle, as well as nuts, seeds, berries, and root crops. Earth ovens, fire pits, and hearths were used to cook, dry, or smoke these plants and animals for food and other subsistence resources. The remains of these pits, ovens, and hearths, often represented by clusters of cobbles that have been cracked, broken, or discolored from fire, are scattered across a broad area where the Gee Creek sites are clustered. |
Settlement at the Gee Creek sites began at least 8,000 years ago and continued up until around 600 years ago. Food processing strategies and technologies at the sites are similar to those seen at other sites in the region.