New Graduate M.Ed. students visit Newhalem’s ancient Rock Shelter

The latest cohort of graduate students in our Graduate M.Ed. Residency have arrived and are spending their first month getting to know their new home with extensive field excursions throughout the North Cascades and Skagit watershed ~ welcome!

Last week, they met up with retired park archaeologist Bob Mierendorf at the Rock Shelter in Newhalem. Mierendorf and his team surveyed this unique site and determined, through radiocarbon dating, that it had been extensively utilized by the original indigenous inhabitants for more than 1,500 years. The Rock Shelter was a place for traditional hunting and processing activities, evidenced by charred and split mountain goat bones — the greatest concentration anywhere in North America. Mierendorf and the National Park Service worked in collaboration with Upper Skagit elders, who helped decipher the artifacts that were uncovered, and created public access and interpretive panels so more people could learn about these ancient lifeways.

Find a selection of Bob Mierendorf’s work on the Cultural History section of our website, including essays, a cultural history timeline that stretches back 24,000 years, a bibliography of titles related to indigenous history and archaeology of the Upper Skagit, an archeology survey of the Little Beaver Watershed and a checklist of native plants:

Learn more about archaeology in North Cascades National Park here.


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