Thursday, March 06, 2008

Shell mound dilemma: Dig it up or let it erode
"There's a great debate on whether Spanish Mount is a ring or a midden,"

Judge says. It's an important distinction because middens appear to be little more than trash heaps, while rings show an architectural element that signifies something greater than simply a dumping site.

"The question becomes is this garbage, or are they building their midden from nearby middens?" Judge asks. "Is the landfill being utilized for architectural material?"

Today, only a small portion of Spanish Mount remains. The rest has eroded into Scott Creek.

Money seems to be the issue regarding whether to excavate or not. On San Juan Island, we were told that the U- or horseshoe-shaped middens were supposedly piled up that way around a house structure that would provide a certain amount of insulation. Instead of dumping it somewhere else, remains would be piled up around the house. Seems an awfully smelly way to insulate one's house though.