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October is Oregon Archaeology Month!

September 26, 2018

Each year we celebrate Oregon Archaeology with a poster highlighting a current event or celebration in the world of Archaeology.  This year the committee has chosen to highlight a collaborative research project between PSU student, Tia Cody, and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde.

44026 Archaeology 2018 Calendar of Events_Page_2

Hidden in the Willamette Valley are hundreds of Kalapuyan mounds. These low-lying earthen features have long been considered culturally significant to the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. We still have much to learn about why and how pre-contact people created these sites. The first step in understanding and protecting the mounds is identifying where they are. Many of them have a low profile, were disturbed during the historic period, or are overgrown, making identification difficult using traditional field methods. Adding to these difficulties is that much of the Willamette Valley is privately
owned, limiting access.

Portland State University graduate student Tia Cody and her advisor Dr. Shelby Anderson have partnered with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde to create a predictive model to locate these features across the Calapooia River watershed using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) data. LiDAR uses aircraft-mounted lasers to scan the surface to create 3-D models.

With permission from private landowners, likely site locations are then visited to “ground truth” the model’s predictions. Cody has already confirmed the presence of several mound sites. LiDAR technology can change our approach to archaeology in the Pacific Northwest, where dense forest growth, uneven terrain, and access are major obstacles in identifying sites. By viewing archaeology on the landscape level, we can also better understand how sites are related. More importantly, this research demonstrates the possibilities that occur when universities, tribes, and the community collaborate to learn more about the past.

The calendar of events associated with the poster provides additional opportunities to learn about archaeology in Oregon in the coming months.

For more information, to participate, or if you or your organization are interested in receiving copies of the poster or calendar please contact Jamie French (

Written by: Oregon Archaeology Poster Committee

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