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Makah

Ozette cover
Winter 2015

Ozette: Excavating a Makah Whaling Village

Ozette cover

Ruth Kirk

University of Washington Press: 2015

Although the professional literature is rich and extensive, not enough had been written for the public on the extraordinary archaeological exploration at Ozette, the ancient whaling village on the Olympic coast between Neah Bay and La Push. There is Hunters of the Whale, by Northwest chronicler Ruth Kirk, written for young readers in 1974 when the expedition was barely half finished. Archaeology in Washington, coauthored by Kirk and WSU … » More …

Fall 2010

Edward Claplanhoo ’56—Bah-duk-too-ah: August 8, 1928–March 14, 2010

Ed Claplanhoo ’56 was chairman of the Makah Tribe in Neah Bay when a winter storm in 1970 eroded the bank above the beach at Cape Alava on the Olympic Peninsula coast, revealing the village of Ozette. The village, ancestral home to many Makahs, had been buried in a mudslide in the 1700s.

Once he realized what the storm had exposed, Claplanhoo called Richard Daugherty, an archaeologist at WSU. Daugherty had been the freshman class advisor in the early 1950s, and Claplanhoo had been the class treasurer.

Claplanhoo and Daugherty worked closely together to explore and preserve what archaeological crews found in Ozette, … » More …

Ozette Art and the Makah Canoe

Many questions remain concerning the contents of the longhouses  excavated at Ozette. One of the most intriguing is the nature of its art, which was pervasive. More than 400 artifacts stored at the Makah Cultural Center might be considered art. Although a few pieces, such as the well-known carved whale saddle, are (presumably) ritualistic, most are everyday objects, combs, bowls, clubs, embellished with designs.

Jeff Mauger (PhD ’78), an archaeologist at Peninsula Community College in Port Angeles, earned his doctorate from WSU, analyzing the shed-roof style of the houses at Ozette and their relation to the style throughout the Northwest coast. Since then he … » More …

Summer 2008

A Dialogue with the Past

A fierce Pacific storm in February 1970 revealed early remains of Ozette, on the Olympic Coast between Cape Flattery and La Push. Worried about the site's vulnerability to looters and further storms, Makah tribal leader Ed Claplanhoo '56 called archaeologist Richard Daugherty at Washington State University, commencing an 11-year excavation of the site. The excavation yielded thousands of well-preserved artifacts and a wealth of clues to the history and culture of Makahs and other coastal tribes. » More ...
A new memorial in Neah Bay, built on land donated by Ed Claplanhoo '56, his wife Thelma, and two other Makah families, commemorates area veterans and the presence of Spain on the Northwest coast as early as 1774. Photo Zach Mazur
Fall 2008

A memorial and a blessing

At the western edge of the Makah Nation village of Neah Bay sits a tidy new park. It marks the spot where 216 years ago Spanish explorers built the first European settlement in the continental United States west of the Rockies and north of San Francisco.

Fort Núñez Gaona–Diah Veterans Park, dedicated in May, was built on property donated by Ed Claplanhoo ’56, his wife Thelma, and two other Makah families in a unique partnership amongst the Makahs, the state, and the Spanish government.

Claplanhoo, a former Makah Tribal chair, had known of the historic significance of his property for many years, even marking it … » More …