Accessing and Assessing Coastal Shell Middens on Private Property in the Pacific Northwest


The majority of coastal property in the Pacific Northwest is in private hands. Although laws in Washington State protect archaeological sites on private property, such sites are traditionally only assessed on a case by case basis when the landowner seeks a permit. Landscape scale assessments of coastal resources in the Puget Sound region are rare. Here we compare the results of two such projects along Puget Sound; an academic project in the San Juan Islands conducted by researchers at the University of Washington and a cultural resource management project conducted by archaeologists from Statistical Research, Inc. for Pierce County Planning and Land Services. Cooperation from landowners varied between projects, but in both cases concerns about changing property values and land use restrictions were paramount. Both projects utilized public outreach to increase the participation pool with some success, suggesting that utilizing social networks to reach private property owners may be a viable solution for access issues. Evidence of extensive coastal shell midden disturbance due to both natural and anthropogenic causes suggests an urgent need to engage landowners as stewardship partners.

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Accessing and Assessing Coastal Shell Middens on Private Property in the Pacific Northwest. Stephanie Jolivette, Amanda Taylor, Sarah Van Galder. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397953)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -169.717; min lat: 42.553 ; max long: -122.607; max lat: 71.301 ;