In 1970, tidal erosion unearthed old Ozette homes that had been destroyed by a mud slide some 500 years earlier. The slide entombed and preserved the material, and 11 years of excavations by archaeologists from Washington State University unearthed one of the richest finds in North America.
Find thousands of these artifacts at the Makah Museum (Hwy. 112 & Bay View Ave., 360/645-2711, www.makah.com, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. daily Memorial Day–September 15; closed the rest of the year, $5 adults, $4 seniors and students) at Neah Bay. Makah Museum has the finest collection of Northwest Coast Native American artifacts from pre-contact times, with an extraordinary range of material, including beautifully carved seal clubs, spears, bentwood boxes, combs, paddles, bows and arrows, clothing, woven baskets, whale bones, and much more.
Not on display—it is too fragile—but visible in photos is an intricate plaid blanket woven from woodpecker feathers, dog hair, cattail fluff, and cedar bark. A re-created 15th-century longhouse is the Makah Museum’s centerpiece, showing how the people lived in the abundance of the land. Outside, a modern longhouse is sometimes used for basketry and carving demonstrations.
An hour-long video about Neah Bay and the archaeological dig is shown at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. The small gift shop sells local baskets and beadwork. You can also obtain local information here.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition