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Washington State University
Museum of Anthropology Major Archaeological Sites


View of 45GA61 from the hill; 1969 before excavation (Source: 1969 Field Season Photo Archive). The Snake River is in the background.
View of 45GA61 from the hill; 1969 before excavation (Source: 1969 Field Season Photo Archive)


Wexpusnime, or Rattlesnake’s Place, (45GA61) is located on the now-inundated Offield Bar, three miles downstream from Wawawai on the Lower Snake River. The Offield Bar was a high terrace on the south side of the Snake River, within the construction area for the Lower Granite Dam in Garfield County, Washington. Offield Bar, located in USGS 7.5’ Almota Quadrangle, was inundated by Lower Granite Lake after completion of the dam. and is currently inaccessible.

The site was recorded during a 1966 survey of the Lower Granite Reservoir Area and tested by a team led by Frank Leonhardy of Washington State University (WSU) in 1968. Excavation was begun during the summer of 1969 and completed in the fall of 1970 under the auspices of the National Park Service Interagency Salvage Program. Leonhardy directed excavations in 1969, with Gerald Schroedl as foreman. In 1970, Schroedl took over as director, with David Brauner and Alan Marshall as foremen. Crew members for both field seasons consisted of WSU field school students plus volunteers. A preliminary report (Leonhardy et al. 1971) was published as part of the Washington State University Reports of Investigation Series.

The artifacts from the site have been classified on four separate occasions.The first classification was completed for the 1971 Preliminary Report (Leonhardy et al. 1971). Frank Leonhard classified the artifacts from Area A and Judith Bense classified the artifacts from Area B. In 1975 Leonhardy did further analysis including reclassification and computerization. The third classification was conducted by the Center for Northwest Anthropology, under the direction of William A. Andrefsky for the NAGPRA inventory (Collins and Andrefsky 1995). Finally, Lyle Nakonechny analyzed the artifacts and features from Area A for his Master’s thesis at Washington State University (Nakonechny 1998). His classification scheme is explained in further detail below.