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Finding and Dating Cathlapotle
Archaeology in Washington
  • Kenneth M. Ames, Portland State University
  • Elizabeth A. Sobel, Missouri State University
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  • Chinook Indians -- Dwellings -- Washington (State) -- Cathlapotle
The people of the Cathlapotle town played a significant role in the fur trade era history of the Lower Columbia River, including Lewis and Clark’s visit on March 29th, 1806. Archaeologists and others have sought the town’s location for years. Long-term research has established that archaeological site 45CL1 on the US Fish and Wildlife Refuge near Ridgefield, Washington is Cathlapotle. This determination is based on the close match between site details with various ethnohistoric accounts of Cathlapotle. The site was occupied by ca. AD 1450 and probably moved there from another nearby location. It was abandoned sometime in the 1830s or 1840s. This chronology is based on 54 radiocarbon dates, historic trade goods including glass beads and ceramics, and documentary accounts.

This article was originally published in Archaeology in Washington. Archived here with author and publisher permission.

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2009 Kenneth Ames with Elizabeth Sobel, Finding and Dating Cathlapotle. Archaeology in Washington 15: 9 - 32.