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House 7

 

House 7, the most recent house, is intrusive into House 2. It is round to oval, over 7 meters wide, and shallow (~25 cm deep). It is filled with Late Camp and Early Camp debris. There are no artifact clusters within the house, but retouched flakes and lithic debris are present. Burned wood pieces are present, but are not identifiable as to function. Like House 2, described below, there is burned cedar, burned grass matting, and areas of charcoal-rich sediment. There were no postholes found. Most artifacts on the house floor are secondary refuse, including scattered worked flakes, flake debris, cobble spalls, worked bone and FMR.

House 2

 

House 2 is nearly rectangular, about 5 meters wide and 7 – 8 meters long. The long walls are oriented parallel to the Snake River. The floor of the house is about 30 cm deep and the construction appears to be similar to that of ethnographically known mat lodges. The fill is different from that of House 7, which was excavated into House 2. Artifacts include retouched flakes, altered flakes, and projectile point fragments. Some fragmented Lithospermum sp. (gromwell, or stoneseed) seeds were found, possibly for medicinal use. While these seeds were often used as beads, the fragments found here showed no perforations. Two intact large, flat-based knife forms were found. There may have been a work area outside the house. There is little bone, but a small concentration of river mussel shells was found. Eight projectile points and six fragments were located at the southeast corner. There is little lithic debris, so this concentration of projectile points may have represented a cache.

Burned cedar, burned grass matting, and areas of charcoal-rich sediment were found. The grass matting was identified as Elymus species and dated to 1190±60 BP (WSU #4997). David Brauner, in a personal communication to Lyle Nakonechny dated August 1997, stated that there were possible tule mat fragments found on top of the grass thatch.

Artifacts concentrated around the perimeter of the house depression included a hopper mortar base and a pestle, as well as a small fragment of basketry. This latter could not be dated. Faunal remains included salmon vertebrae, but no shell. A concentration of 478 chalcedony flakes and a chalcedony point tip suggest tool-making.

Five pieces of unaltered bone were found on the floor of the house, but there was little rock debris. The center of floor contained a hopper mortar base and a large talus rock which could have been used for crushing, breaking, splitting or scraping. There is also a heavy concentration of burned earth and charcoal which may represent a hearth. Artifacts in this area include a bone matting needle, worked flakes, preforms, a cobble core, and a cobble adze.

Several different activity areas can be identified in House 2: the central area was probably used for food processing and cooking; basketry and fish remains at the eastern end of the house suggest a storage area; the north and south wall were probably used for sleeping and working, based on the concentration of lithic tools and debris in those areas. The relative cleanliness of the floor suggests that the house was probably routinely cleaned.

House 3

 

It is not clear whether House 3 was actually a house or just a large pit. It is directly beneath the Early Camp Component. There is an intrusive pit feature dug into the “house” rim.

House 6/House 1

 

House 6 is contemporaneous with House 2 and was excavated into House 1, which is earlier and contemporaneous with House 5, described below. The construction is similar to House 7, but deeper, with gently sloping walls.

Two large, steep-walled pits, each about 95 cm deep, were dug through House 6 into House 1. The pits have no discernible purpose other than disposal of refuse, and contain broken deer and elk bone, as well as salmon vertebrae. A third pit was dug into these.

The House 6 depression was probably used as a dumping area. It contains broken and intact deer bone, fish vertebrae, and intact dog bones. Below this, there is little animal bone, but the highest concentration of river mussel shell and fish bone. One net weight was also found.

The House 6/House 1 features contain the largest number of hopper mortars and the highest concentration of pigment fragments.

House 5

 

House 5 is subrectangular, somewhat larger than 6 m x 5 m and built into the loess hill. It has a one meter annular bench approximately 30 cm above the floor level. The house is excavated 30 cm deep into the surrounding soil. Burned structural remains are present. These include grass thatch, wooden posts, and two piece of wood which are a possible fitted “post and lintel” joint. Most features found in the house are secondary refuse.

Above the house fill are a hearth, deer bone, and a hackberry seed, as well as minimally altered hammerstones, retouched flakes, flake debris, cobble spalls, and a notched net sinker. An intrusive pit contains FMR, flake debris, and artifacts. In the fill itself are two hopper mortars, one hopper mortar fragment, fragmented bone, and some river mussel shell.

The structure of House 5 may have been very different from the conical and long mat lodges which are ethnographically reported. According to Nakonechny, “it is possible that house 5 had a four post structural support which originated from the corners of the house floor just inside the bench area” (Nakonechny 1998:195; Figure 74).

House 4

 

House 4 is the deepest in the stratigraphic sequence. The rim is 70 cm below ground surface. It was probably circular to oval in shape, 65-70 cm deep, with walls sloped at an angle of 40 to 50 degrees. There are no structural remains or post holes for House 4. Excavators found multiple living floors, each with a small quantity of artifacts. There is a great deal of FMR and unmodified angular rocks from nearby talus slopes. An elk antler wedge was found embedded in one living floor. A piece of burned wood found within the house dated 1050±100 BP (WSU #4996).

Washington State University