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Noted archeologist to speak at museum

A member of Oregon Archaeological Society

The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum board and staff announce the July speaker is a life member of the Oregon Archaeological Society.

Harvey Steele has been creating and compiling history of archaeology in the Columbia Basin region since he did his first field work at the Merrybell site in 1971. The site, arguably the most important on the Columbia River, has cultural materials dating from before 1000 BC, with continuous occupation right up to the Hudson's Bay contact period of 1825 to 1860. He also has been widely published in professional archaeological journals and remains very active in the field.

Steele will speak at the museum at 2 p.m. July 17, the latest installment in the museum's monthly series, "Sundays on the Gorge."

"We are delighted that Harvey has agreed to speak," said the museum's executive director Sharon Tiffany. "He has been a long-time supporter of the museum and a big help when we needed him. He's a wonderful speaker and is so passionate about archeology that time with him just flies by."

Steele's talk is titled, "Columbia River Prehistory and the Roles of the Oregon Archaeological Society (OAS) and the Interpretive Center."

"The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center is the only research center on the planet with cultural material from the Merrybell site and all of the other diagnostic sites on the great river," said Steele.

The interpretive center is home to the extensive collection of early amateur archeologist, Emory Strong. "It is no secret why Emory Strong's Stone Age on the Columbia, which was recently reprinted, is still used as a rough guide to the developing lifestyles and material culture of our area. The Strong Collection, with some assistance from other holdings, is a unique window on our prehistoric past."

Steele will show selected diagnostic artifacts from the Strong Collection, as well as some from other collections that will include sites such as Lady Island, Bachelor Island, Wakemap Mound, Lone Pine Island and others.

Steele was editor of Screenings, the OAS newsletter, for more than two decades, from 1974 to 2000. He still contributes articles to that publication

Among his many accomplishments as an archeologist and historian, he wrote contract site reports for the National Park Service on the first retail store in the Northwest (the Fort Vancouver Sale Shop) and the first jail in the Oregon Territory ( at Fort Vancouver.) He is a retired appraiser of imported goods for the US Customs Service.

"Sundays on the Gorge" programs are presented monthly in the DeGroote Theatre at the interpretive center museum.

Attendance is free with paid admission to the museum.


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