Monthly Archives: March 2015

Ozette: Excavating a Makah Whaling Village

Ruth Kirk’s Ozette: Excavating a Makah Whaling Village presents a detailed account of a world-famous archaeological site on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Full-scale excavations from 1966 to 1981 revealed houses and their contents—including ordinarily perishable wood and basketry objects that had been buried in a mudflow well before the arrival of Europeans in the region. Led by Richard Daugherty, with a team of graduate and undergraduate students and Makah tribal members, the work culminated in the creation of the Makah Museum in Neah Bay, where more than 55,000 Ozette artifacts are curated and displayed. Ruth Kirk was present—documenting the archaeological work from its beginning—and her firsthand knowledge of the people and efforts involved enrich her compelling story of discovery and fieldwork, and deepen our understanding of a complex and storied culture.

Here, we feature an excerpt from Ozette in which Ruth Kirk describes the location of the long-occupied coastal village and the earliest stages of the world-famous archaeological excavation of the site.

(Scroll to the bottom of this post to learn about upcoming opportunities to hear Ruth Kirk discuss Ozette).

The year was 1947. Richard Daugherty, a student at the University of Washington, was hiking the state’s wilderness Pacific coast, recording archaeological sites. World War II had ended, and with it his service as a navy blimp pilot flying patrols on the lookout for submarines. He had returned to his studies and in connection with them was making this survey of more than two hundred miles of coastline, from the mouth of the Columbia River to Cape Flattery. Not far from the cape, he had reached Ozette, the site of a Makah whaling village. A broad terrace bordered the beach for a half mile or more, and on it the walls of a few houses lay fallen into the grass and nettles, along with rotten roof boards covered with moss. Families had lived there until the 1920s, when they moved to Neah Bay, sixteen miles north.The federal government had ordered their children to be in school, yet had provided none at Ozette. They had no choice but to move.


The main Ozette village stretched for about three-quarters of a mile along the beach, connected to Ch’kknow acht Island by a low-tide sandspit.

That exodus accounted for the end of the long human continuity at Ozette, but what were the beginnings? Midden—refuse—exposed in the sea bank edging the beach belonged to those earlier chapters. Lots of midden, and deep. Daugherty noted layer on layer of broken mussel and clam shells, whale bones, charcoal, and rocks cracked and split by the heat of a fire. This clearly was the premier site of the more than fifty he had recorded along the entire coast. He was seeing archaeological material that amounted to a cultural jigsaw puzzle belonging to the Makah people—and although he could not know it at the time, he was also looking at what eventually would provide the high point of his professional career.

Now the year was 1966. Daugherty had completed his PhD and joined the faculty at Washington State University, in Pullman. He had worked with other archaeologists in Egypt and Sudan, gathering evidence of the human past along the Nile River before it would be lost owing to construction of the Aswan Dam. He had consulted on Peace River archaeology in British Columbia and directed investigations in eastern Washington along the Snake and Columbia Rivers. But he kept wanting to get back to Ozette, and he found a way to do it. The National Science Foundation approved funds for research, and Daugherty recruited thirty archaeology students from across the United States and Canada to come and learn field techniques while helping unlock the story of Ozette’s past. The Makah Tribal Council had approved the undertaking.

Richard Daugherty (left) and Ed Claplanhoo assessed the sea-bank erosion caused by winter's storm-driven waves.

Richard Daugherty (left) and Ed Claplanhoo assessed the sea-bank erosion caused by winter’s storm-driven waves.

Ed Claplanhoo, a young councilman at the time, was a graduate of Washington State College (now University), and he knew Professor Daugherty. Consequently the council asked his opinion of Daugherty’s proposal. Years earlier they had declined a University of Washington request for permission to excavate at Ozette, but they could see merit in the current proposal as a way of strengthening the tribe’s tie to Ozette and they trusted Claplanhoo’s assessment. The federal government was considering “surplusing” the land at Ozette as vacant and no longer eligible for status as an Indian reservation. However, several Neah Bay elders had lived there as children, and they cared deeply about those roots.

Hamilton Greene, one of the elders, remembered “a solid line of houses facing the water, and canoes on the beach. My grandfather used to say that Ozette had been a big village. The word he used to describe it means ‘a whole bunch.’ More [houses] than you’d care to count.” Daugherty’s proposal seemed like a way to augment such memories with a new kind of knowledge. The tribe and the professor would work together.

The beach served as lunchroom for the 1966 archaeology crew.

The beach served as lunchroom for the 1966 archaeology crew.

The archaeology camp was set up just back from the beach, where a splashing creek furnished water for drinking and for icy showers. On days when it was not raining, the crew ate out on the beach, sitting on drift logs. On drizzly days, they gathered in a large, floorless tent designated as mess hall and classroom. A Coast Guard helicopter had brought in the big tent and smaller sleeping tents, a cookstove, groceries, shovels, surveyor’s transits, and field notebooks and laboratory catalogs with blank pages to be filled with information day-by-day as the excavation progressed. It was a onetime delivery. From then on, supplies had to be backpacked four miles through the forest and along the beach or flown in by a small plane twenty-four miles from the logging town of Forks. Often it was too foggy for the plane to land, and, for the same reason, travel often was unsafe by boat from Neah Bay, sixteen miles north, or La Push, eighteen miles south.

A trail through the forest leads from road's end to the beach.

A trail through the forest leads from road’s end to the beach.

By modern standards Ozette is isolated and remote, but it was quite the contrary during its long years as a village approached from the sea. Sixteen houses stood there in 1834, according to the report of three shipwrecked Japanese seamen who had drifted for more than a year across the Pacific Ocean before finally being washed ashore and captured by Ozette Indians. They were subsequently rescued by the Hudson’s Bay Company and eventually taken to Macao, a trade center on the southeast coast of China. A half century later, the 1889 Pacific Coast Pilot also mentioned Ozette, with a reporter stating: “Passed close outside [Ozette] and had a fine view of it. The village has over 20 houses and is not bulkheaded to prevent the inroads of the sea.”

There could scarcely have been a better setting for Northwest Coast human life. Several offshore islands and a wide rocky reef at the village doorstep broke the force of swells and incoming waves, thereby easing the landing of canoes. The reef, exposed at low tide, hosted year-round edibles such as mussels, clams, sea urchins, snails, chitons, limpets, crabs, and octopus. About twelve miles west, nutrient-rich water welled up from the edge of the continental shelf and concentrated the plankton; fish fed on the plankton, and fur seals fed on the fish. That abundance of food brought migrating seals closer to shore at Ozette than anywhere else along the entire coast from Northern California to Alaska. Sea lions hauled out on the rocky points and beaches of the islands. Kelp beds furnished ideal habitat for sea otters. Red snapper and lingcod—bottom fish—thrived close to the village. Halibut banks were a short paddle away, and salmon came to the Ozette River a little over a mile to the north. Red cedars in the forest behind the village supplied planks for houses and bark for baskets, and they also could be made into dugout canoes. Deer and elk roamed the forest, which was interspersed by treeless prairies where villagers could gather a variety of plant foods and medicines.

Kirk, Ruth_credit Mary Randlett

Ruth Kirk, photo by Mary Randlett.

Ruth Kirk, writer and photographer, is the author or coauthor of numerous books, including Archaeology in Washington, with her husband Richard D. Daugherty; Sunrise to Paradise: The Story of Mount Rainier National Park; and Exploring Washington’s Past: A Road Guide to History, with Carmela Alexander. Her writing has earned her many accolades, including the John Burroughs Medal for Natural History Writing and a National Book Award nomination. Kirk also has received recognition for her writing from both the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Library Association.

Meet Ruth Kirk and pick up a signed copy of Ozette at these upcoming events:

Announcing the Global South Asia Series and New Books in Asian Studies

The Association for Asian Studies heads to Chicago this week and we’ve got an exciting line-up of books to unveil there. We’ll also be promoting our new Global South Asia series. This series—edited by Padma Kaimal, Kalyanakrishnan (Shivi) Sivaramakrishnan, and Anand A. Yang—places primary focus on modern and contemporary periods, but also with interest in earlier eras, will draw on humanities and social sciences as well as interdisciplinary approaches to examine the ways in which South Asia is and has been global and shaping the world. Read more about the series here.

If you’re attending the meeting, stop by the University of Washington Press booth in the exhibit hall (#510) to peruse all our new books and to meet Executive Editor Lorri Hagman, Editor in Chief, Larin McLaughlin, and Exhibits, Advertising, and Direct Mail Manager, Katherine Tacke.

We feature a few of our new Asian studies titles here, but encourage you to check out additional Asian art history titles in a previous post and our program ad to see a complete listing of new and forthcoming books.

Chang’an 26 BCE: An Augustan Age in China
Edited by Michael Nylan and Griet Vankeerberghen

“A model of the way future research in the field should be done. All scholars who study early China, particularly those with an interest in the Han dynasty, will welcome this book as a major contribution to the field.”—Stephen W. Durrant, University of Oregon

Although thousands of studies document imperial Rome’s glory, until now no book-length work in a Western language has been devoted to Han Chang’an, the reign of Emperor Chengdi (whose accomplishments rival those of Augustus and Hadrian), or the city’s impressive library project (26-6 BCE), which ultimately produced the first state-sponsored versions of many of the classics and masterworks that we hold in our hands today.

Daughter of Good Fortune: A Twentieth-Century Chinese Peasant Memoir
By Chen Huiqin / With Shehong Chen / Introduction by Delia Davin

“Illustrates the immense changes rural people have experienced since the founding of the PRC through today. It really is a worthy sequel to the classic account of peasant life in pre-communist China, Daughter of Han.”—Jeremy Brown, author of City Versus Countryside in Mao’s China

Daughter of Good Fortune tells the story of Chen Huiqin and her family through the tumultuous 20th century in China. She witnessed the Japanese occupation during World War II, the Communist Revolution in 1949 and its ensuing Land Reform, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and the Reform Era. Chen was born into a subsistence farming family, became a factory worker, and lived through her village’s relocation to make way for economic development. Her family’s story of urbanization is representative of hundreds of millions of rural Chinese.

Literati Storytelling in Late Medieval China
By Manling Luo

“A book of startling originality, which studies an area of late medieval Chinese culture that has been scanted for too long . . . one of the most enjoyable and enlightening books I have read in years. It will reshape much of the received picture of late medieval literature and history.”—Paul W. Kroll, University of Colorado

Scholar-officials of late medieval China were not only enthusiastic in amateur storytelling, but also showed unprecedented interest in recording stories on different aspects of literati life. These stories appeared in diverse forms, including narrative poems, “tales of the marvelous,” “records of the strange,” historical miscellanies, and transformation texts. Through storytelling, literati explored their own changing place in a society that was making its final transition from hereditary aristocracy to a meritocracy ostensibly open to all. Literati Storytelling shows how these writings offer crucial insights into the reconfiguration of the Chinese elite, which monopolized literacy, social prestige, and political participation in imperial China.

Educating the Chinese Individual: Life in a Rural Boarding School
By Mette Halskov Hansen

“An outstanding and original contribution to the anthropology of education and a penetrating and vivid analytical picture of how contemporary Chinese society is changing and why.”—Peter Cave, University of Manchester

In 21st-century China, socialist educational traditions have given way to practices that increasingly emphasize the individual. This volume investigates that trend, drawing on fieldwork in a rural high school in Zhejiang where students, teachers, and officials of different generations, genders, and social backgrounds form what is essentially a miniature version of Chinese society. Hansen paints a complex picture of the emerging “neo-socialist” educational system and shows how individualization of students both challenges and reinforces state control of society.

Behind the Covers: Bike Battles

In Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road, James Longhurst, a historian and avid cyclist, traces contentious debates between American bicyclists, motorists, and pedestrians over the shared road, from the nineteenth century to the current day. Here, designer Dustin Kilgore walks (or pedals?) us through the various design concepts that eventually brought him to the book’s final cover.

Bike Battles is such an evocative book title and it hits close to home for me. As a daily bike commuter, I felt added pressure to do this book justice. Since everyone uses street signs, the “sharing the road” reference seemed like a natural way to speak to the cultural history the book investigates, as well as both sides of the bike/car divide.

bike-battles-image-research (3)

Image research for the cover of “Bike Battles”

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Announcing a New Partnership with the Art Gallery of New South Wales

The University of Washington Press is pleased to announce the distribution of both forthcoming and backlist titles from the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW) in North America, effective April 1, 2015.

The first two books we will distribute for them—Theatre of Dreams, Theatre of Play: No and Kyogen in Japan by Khanh Trinh and Drawing Out: Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial 2014 by Anne Ryan—will be announced in our Fall 2015 catalog.

From “Drawing Out”: John Wolseley “A Clarence Galaxia in the Ancient Sphagnum Bogs – Skullbone Plains, Tasmania 2013” (detail), watercolor, graphite on paper, 140 × 300 cm. Collection of the artist, courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.

Established in Sydney in 1871, AGNSW is proud to present fine international and Australian art. Originally named the Academy of Art and given “the purposes of promoting fine arts through lecture, art classes, and regular exhibitions,” the Gallery quickly began acquiring art work and became the National Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1883. Currently publishing between five to ten titles a year, their catalog also includes a strong backlist. Their collection of publications has been distributed by Yale and, most recently, Prestel before moving to the University of Washington Press.

The University of Washington Press distributes a variety of publishers, including other key Australian art publishers, National Gallery of Australia and Power Publications. Established in 1915, the University of Washington Press is recognized as the leading publisher of scholarly books and distinguished works of regional nonfiction in the Pacific Northwest.

University of Washington Press Director Nicole Mitchell commented, “We’re very happy to welcome the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Their high quality publications on Australian and Asian-Pacific art are a wonderful complement to our books and we’re delighted to represent them in the North American markets.”


American Society for Environmental History Conference Preview

The American Society for Environmental History convenes in Washington, D.C. this week and we’re looking forward to participating in what promises to be another excellent and thought-provoking conference. Senior Acquisitions Editor Regan Huff, Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series editor Paul Sutter, and Marketing and Sales Director Rachael Levay will be representing the Press—be sure to stop by our booth to say hello and to check out our latest environmental history offerings.

We include here our book signing schedule as well as recent praise these titles have received.

Thursday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m.

Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books / New in Paperback
By Dawn Day Biehler

“[This] exemplary work of interdisciplinary history . . . demonstrates how the ecologies of these pests and the efforts to eliminate them were intertwined with social tensions and political struggles throughout the twentieth century.” —Joanna Dyl, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“In her meticulous and thoughtful analysis of urban environmental injustice, Biehler deftly illustrates how these pests continue to undermine aspirations for modern and healthy living conditions for all.” —Frederick R. Davis, Science

Wilderburbs: Communities on Nature’s Edge
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
By Lincoln Bramwell
Finalist for the Western Writers of America 2015 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western Nonfiction

“A cautionary tale of the ecological challenges in transplanting urban sensibilities in the American West.” —Choice

Wilderburbs builds on the idea that human culture inherently shaped residents’ interactions with their environment. Examining this phenomena and communities in detail uncovers the profound environmental consequences for our desire to live in the wilderness.” —USDA Blog

Tangled Roots: The Appalachian Trail and American Environmental Politics
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books / New in Paperback
By Sarah Mittlefehldt

“Essential reading for anyone seeking to create public designation for hiking or biking trails, or waterways…the book [also] offers a primer on U.S. environmental politics from Progressive Era conservation to 1960s environmentalism and to conservative backlash in the 1980s. It would work for an environmental studies or environmental history or environmental policy class that hopes to decipher these politics.” –Margaret L. Brown, Environmental History, January 2015

“Tangled Roots is a singular achievement—a work of layered, engaging depth likely to stand as the definitive treatment of the Appalachian Trail, one of the most important and overlooked stories in the history of U.S. environmental politics.” –Jerry J. Frank, Journal of American History, January 2015

“Deftly avoiding the traps of both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ history, Sarah Mittlefehldt’s study of the decades-long struggle to create the Appalachian Trail explores the intersection of private activism with public policy at local, regional, and national levels…a welcome addition to the history of U.S. environmental policy and politics.” –Sarah T. Phillips, American Historical Review, October 2014

 Friday, March 20 at 10:00 a.m.

Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road
By James Longhurst

Bike Battles offers a significant contribution to both the growing literature on the history of American bicycling and the immense, well-established literature on urban policymaking. It is scholarship written by a sophisticated historian who draws on sources ranging from the traditional to the wonderfully unusual in order to shed light on the changing history of bicycling’s place in American cities.”–Christopher Wells, author of Car Country

“James Longhurst gives us a whole range of new ways to look at those moments of confusion, uncertainty, and rage experienced by anyone who has spent much time on roads shared by cars and bicycles. Bike Battles is academically rigorous but easy and fun to read. This is really my kind of nerdiness. I recommend it for anyone who feels stuck in polarized conversations about how we use our roads.” –Elly Blue, author of Bikenomics

Saturday, March 21 at 10:00 a.m.

Vacationland: Tourism and Environment in the Colorado High Country
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books / New in Paperback
By William Philpott
Winner of the Western Writers of America 2014 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western Nonfiction

“The best book yet published on an array of critical topics in Colorado history. . . . what’s more, Vacationland is far and away the most illuminating book yet written on postwar Colorado. Philpott’s research is exhaustive, his prose is elegant but crystal-clear, and his interpretations are almost uniformly persuasive. Vacationland seems bound to earn vociferous praise from scholars. Yet this is also a book that merits widespread attention from general readers. If I were asked to recommend just one work to citizens or visitors seeking to orient themselves to the origins of the contemporary Colorado landscape, this would be it.” –Thomas Andrews, Center for Colorado and the West

Car Country: An Environmental History
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books / New in Paperback
By Christopher W. Wells

“Relatively few academic geographers have focused their research and publishing directly on the automobile and its geographical implications for life in the United States. Yet nothing over the past century has had a greater effect on America’s geography than the public’s evolving dependence on the motor car, and, as well, the motor truck. . . . Christopher Wells’ opus will excite more geographers to focus on automobility as a fundamental factor underlying the American experience.”–John A. Jackle, The AAG Review of Books

“For students and inhabitants of car country, Wells offers a terrific excavation of the sprawlscape that still drives our days.”–Human Ecology

Tattoo Traditions of Native North America

For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples of North America have produced astonishingly rich and diverse forms of tattooing. Long neglected by anthropologists and art historians, tattooing was a time-honored practice that expressed the patterns of tribal social organization and religion, while also channeling worlds inhabited by deities, spirits, and the ancestors.

Tattoo Traditions of Native North America explores the many facets of indelible Indigenous body marking across every cultural region of North America. As the first book on the subject, it breaks new ground on one of the least-known mediums of Native American expressive culture that nearly disappeared from view in the twentieth century, until it was reborn in recent decades. In the following excerpted photos and text, we learn about three tattoo traditions still in practice today, as well as a glimpse into their significance for the people who practice them. 


Facial tattoos of Anna Aghtuqaayak of Gambell, St. Lawrence Island, 1997. Photographer Lars Krutak.

On St. Lawrence Island, Alaska, Anna Aghtuqaayak (Qayaghhaq), one of the last completely tattooed St. Lawrence Islanders said of tattooing: “We did it to be beautiful, so that we would not look like men. We wanted precious pictures of the afterlife.” Most of Aghtuqaayak’s tattoos dated to the 1920s and she noted that the circular and branching elements on the cheek near her ears were called qilak, or “heavens.”


Sage LaPena photographed in Santa Rosa, California, 2012. Photographer Lars Krutak.

Sage LaPena (Wintu herbalist, ethnobotanist, and teacher): “When I was growing up, I learned about the boarding school era and these difficulties, and the genocide perpetuated against us. I was surrounded by my elders, other Native peoples, and ceremony, and to me all these things were natural and a regular part of my life. And I also went through the shortened  version of our puberty ceremony–although back then we didn’t have as much information about these rituals as we do now because they have been restored. I participated in all the dances, then had children and became an herbalist. [The tattoo] was one more step, it is my birthright to who I am as a traditional Native woman. I would say it makes me a whole human being, that I might take my rightful place in my community. And instead of having to pull out my credentials, of who I am and what I represent, it is there on my face before I open my mouth. And when I talk about taking care of the earth, living with the environment, herbalism, TEK (traditional ecological knowledge), the words that I speak are the truth and come from my elders, my ancestors, from Mother Earth. So that is what is embodied in that tattoo; that is what it represents as a human being living where I do, in Northern California.”


Tlingit tattoo artist Nahaan, 2012. Photographer Lars Krutak.

Nahaan (Tlingit tattoo artist): “Tattooing has always been part of Pacific Rim cultures. Be it a sign of wealth, genealogy, roots, ancestry, traits, talents, or history, it has been a part of who we have been since time began. It is an act of sovereignty, a practice of tradition, to ceremonially give and receive tattoos, and it always will be a part of who we are as Tlingit people.”

Preview additional images from the book here.

Tattoo Traditions of Native North America is distributed for LM Publishers and is available for purchase on the UW Press website, as well as through other bookstores and online retail outlets.

“Simply put, this book is beautiful. [It] presents [tattoo] traditions with levity, generosity, and respect, and most importantly, not as a dying or vanishing art form but one which is re-emerging, giving voice to the people to whom these traditions belong.” —Analisa Tripp, News from Native California, February 2015

Lars Krutak is a cultural anthropologist, photographer, and writer who has traveled the Indigenous world for over fifteen years documenting the traditions of tribal body modification. He is a Research Associate at the National Museum of Natural History. He is the author of The Tattooing Arts of Tribal Women; Kalinga Tattoo: Ancient and Modern Expressions of the Tribal; and Magical Tattoos and Scarification: Spiritual Skin. Wisdom. Healing. Shamanic Power. Protection.

Behind the Covers: “Temple Grove”

Temple GroveScott Elliott‘s novel Temple Grove is a gripping tale of suspense that explores the traditions that tie people to a powerful landscape and the conflicts that run deep among them. The book—which was recently released in paperback—won an AAUP design award in 2014. In this guest post, UW Press Senior Designer Thomas Eykemans walks us through his creative process in designing the book’s cover.

A book designer rarely has an opportunity to work on the cover of a book set in a place as dear to me as that of Scott Elliott’s Temple Grove. As a native of Port Angeles, Washington I was irresistibly drawn to Elliott’s dramatic story set on the familiar Olympic Peninsula. Densely rich with natural imagery and atmospheric nuances, the setting almost becomes its own character.

Image research for the cover of "Temple Grove"

Image research for the cover of “Temple Grove”

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