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Winchester Wasteway (45GR161)




This collection is somewhat problematic for the Bureau of Reclamation. The site form places the location of the site on land owned by the Bureau of Reclamation and leased to the Washington State Department of Game. The archaeological work performed at the site that resulted in the extant collection however, was not sponsored by the Bureau of Reclamation and may not have been authorized by the agency. Very little information exists about the site. The site is distinctive for having produced a surface find of a classic Clovis projectile point. 

Winchester Clovis Point


The point was found in 1970 by a Mr. Vodar who was a student at Highline Community College who found the point while hunting in the area. He gave the point to Brian Holmes who was an archaeology instructor at the school. Holmes in turn filed a site report and gave the point to the Washington Archaeological Research Center (WARC) at WSU in 1975. Ann Irwin, then associated with WSU, tested the site in 1976 (Avey ndp). Records of the 1976 work indicate the work probably consisted of a systematic surface collection of the site and at least five test trenches that were probably one meter squares as that was the most common test trench size of the time. The records indicate that in addition to the original Clovis find, a number of lithic items were removed from the site in 1976.


Condition of the Collection


All of the materials noted in the 1976 field forms as well as the Clovis point collected in 1970 are present in the extant collections. There are in addition a few flakes that were found in the box with the Clovis point–which appears to be the same box the point was delivered to WSU in–and were probably picked up and given to Brian Holmes along with the Clovis point. There are some discrepancies between how items were described in the field forms and how they were described in the inventory but the field numbers are all accounted for. There is a second, broken, large projectile point in the extant collection that is not discussed in any of the project records (item number 200). This point may not actually belong with the collection but has become associated with it by mistake at some time since the materials came to WSU. 

The associated project and site records for 45GR161 are problematic. There are field forms, prepared on triplicating carbon sheets, that record the location of each of the survey transects and test units on a Cartesian grid and what was found in each. There is however, no project proposal, correspondence, or report that identifies the location of datum or any background or summary of the work and personnel involved. The only information we found about this project was in an unpublished manuscript by Mike Avey which discusses Clovis finds in Washington State. This document discusses only the original find, not the later work done at the site. In 2000 we contacted Ann Irwin, whose name was mentioned on some of the site records, and she replied to us that there was some backhoe work as well as surface collecting at the site. The meager results of this work led them to abandon the project. They further considered that the original find may have been the result of someone recently dropping the Clovis find and that there may not be an actual site at 45GR161 at all.

View the Bibliography for the entire Columbia Basin

View Additional Artifact Images from the Winchester Wasteway Site

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