Thursday, May 01, 2008

Tse-whit-zen artifacts languish in storage

No one questions the discoveries — artifacts from a 2,700-year-old Native American village excavated from the Port Angeles waterfront amid great public interest — should be exhibited, analyzed and celebrated.

But the 900 boxes of artifacts — such things as spindle whorls carved from whale vertebrae, along with animal bones and shell fragments — remain hung up in a bureaucratic no man's land. Questions about who owns and controls access to the collection are still in dispute.

And there's also another all-too-familiar problem when the government gets involved: The money to study the collection evaporated.

My first thought was that someone ought to be applying for an NSF grant to look at the stuff and sure enough, someone is.