Approximate location of 45KT28 beneath the Wanapum Reservoir.
Drawdown Gallery

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  Sunset Creek
    by C M Nelson
    by Jay Miller

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The following images were taken in June of 2014, when Mark DeLeon, Jay Miller, David Rice and Charles Nelson conducted a brief assessment of the exposure and condition of 45KT28. Two house pits at the northern-most end of the site were exposed and in good condition, but enough surface erosion had taken place to expose substantial amounts of cultural debris, particularly on the outside of the pits. Bone, teeth and antler were well preserved.

Looking SE across the Columbia River. Cultural debris field begins in lower left quadrant and continues to the north. Photo by David Rice.

45KT28 looking NE in September, 2014. Timing is important. In June, we could see the ground, but by September nature had run riot. Photo by Jay Miller.


Table of Contents
Figures & Tables
Cultural Record
 Vantage Phase
 Cold Springs
 Frenchman Spring
Quilomene Bar
 Cayuse Phase
  Cayuse I
  Cayuse II
  Cayuse III
Models for

Stone Artifacts
  Flaked Stone
  Ground Stone
Bone/Antler Tools
Shell Artifacts
Metal Artifacts
Raw Materials
References Cited


Left Looking north and a little east from about the place where the first photo was taken. A cultural debris field begins in lower left quadrant and continues to the north.
Above Detail showing the boat parked beyond the house pit at the base of the cut bank and the Sunset Creek alluvial fan in the background.

The debris field includes House Depression 9, 10 and 3 (south to north) as shown in Figure 4 of the Report (Nelson 1969:269). If these exposed house depressions are correctly identified, as seems likely, then some 80 feet of the Cayuse Phase Component VII has been eroded away. Continued inundation will almost certainly lead to the loss of the rest of this component. Photo by David Rice.


Left Partial map of 45KT28 showing the four structures found in our inspection of the site during the drawdown, the approximate position of the drawdown cut bank, the original position of the riverbank, and the intervening area that has been eroded away. Modified from Nelson (1969:266).

Sonja Solland extensively tested House Pit 11 in the course of her thesis work. Nothing was visible to indicate the excavation.


Left Mark DeLeon and Charles Nelson examine the margin of the exposed part of 45KT28 at it's northern end. One of the pit house depressions is in the left foreground. Photo by David Rice.


Left David Rice photographs Mark DeLeon and Charles Nelson as they examine the margin of the exposed part of 45KT28 at it's northern end. David and Mark stand on the opposite edges of one of the surviving Cayuse III house depressions. Photo by Jay Miller.


Left House depression 9, looking across the Columbia River to the Southeast. The light band of silt may mark a old trench or it may simply be a plume of material deposited in the lee of of the inner lip of the depression. Photo by David Rice.


Left House depressions 10 and 3 as photographed from the interior of house depression 9.

Below Light silty plume inside the northern lip of house depression 10 with sage branches aligned in the direction of current flow. Photo by David Rice.




Above A sagebrush stump juts from a small hollow created by turbulence as the current passed around it. The mud-cracked surface with mussels in situ is more or less the original surface prior to drawdown. The depth of the hollow and the degree to which the southern (right) branch of the stump is buried suggest that 5 cm. to 10 cm. of silty clay were deposited over the five decades during which 45KT28 was beneath the reservoir. Photo by David Rice.

Left The condition of sagebrush stumps is an indicator of superficial erosion. Local variations in the micro-topography of the submerged land surface and distance from the central channel of the Columbia River create the conditions in which small-scale erosion or deposition occurs. The base of this photo shows the bottom of a house depression where a small amount of deposition has occurred and sage stumps still stand upright.

Above this, the inner flank of the house depression has been scoured where the current has intensified as the water column was compressed, leaving an armor of shells, fire-cracked rock and other debris where the pre-inundation land surface has been slightly eroded. Beyond this, at the rim of the house depression, is a zone where most sage stumps have been toppled and their broken branches moved and oriented with the direction fo flow. There is less superficial erosion in this zone. Further from the river channel and the cut bank are broad expanses where many sage stumps survive and the mud deposited over the years of inundation has not be removed by erosion as the reservoir was drawn down. Photo by C M Nelson.






Left Looking out over the outer region where sagebrush stumps appear to mark part of the rim of a house depression. This appears to be in the correct position for House Depression 11, which was the one furthest from the riverbank. Photo by David Rice.



Left Mark DeLeon discusses the condition of the site. Photo by C M Nelson.



Left Base of the skull and associated vertebrae just in the process of disarticulation. Photo by David Rice.



Left A well-preserved antler. Photo by C M Nelson.



Left Friable fragment of deer mandible, flake of silica, and molar in excellent condition. Photo by David Rice.



Left Bifacially flaked, ax-like tool made from a spall of talus. Photo by David Rice.




Left Another view of the ax-like tool with a close-up (above) of its working edge. Photo by CM Nelson.



Left Pestle. Photo by David Rice.



Left Hopper mortar base. Photo by David Rice.



Left Fragmentary point of silica, missing the stem and one barb. Photo by David Rice.