Monday, July 14, 2008

RIP Nothing really to do with archaeology, but I just learned of the recent passing of the actor Don S. Davis. Well, he was on the various Stargate series' which is kind of archaeology-based. But he was on a number of other series which I really liked, notably Twin Peaks. In fact, he was supposed to make an appearance at the Twin Peaks Fest nearby here up in North Bend in a couple of weeks. Me and the ArchaeoWife were thinking of going until we found out the cost of tickets.

He seemed to always play the same basic character: a military officer. He apparently was one IRL in the 1970s so he fit the part, I guess. That was the first time I remember seeing him, on Twin Peaks. I actually did some archaeology work up in the Cedar River watershed shortly before TP was made and I think I went to the ranger station that was dressed up to be the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Office. Back then, North Bend (and Snoqualmie) was still a true small town with one street light in the center of town (can't remember the intersection that was named for it in the series offhand though. . .something and 21?). That, apparently was a big deal when it went in; nowadays the same intersection has a full-blown set of lights with left-turn-only lanes and what-not.

North Bend and Snoqualmie both have had development as exurbs of the Seattle-metro area. They still have their small-town feel left though. The old Mar-T Cafe, portrayed as the Double-R Diner, is still there, but it has new owners and has changed its name to Twede's. We don't go there anymore; after it changed hands, the service kinda went downhill. It used to be a really. . .ummmm. . ."quaint" place and the pies were as excellent as the show implied. They had a fire and remodeled so it looks nicer now, but we haven't been there in years. Instead we go up the street to the North Bend Bar & Grill. Just your typical diner food; simple, well-prepared, with good, friendly service (cue Agent Dale Cooper voice there. Heh).

They filmed most of the series up there -- though the fictional geography seems to have placed Twin Peaks in the northeast corner of Washington near the Idaho and Canadian borders -- and many of the landmarks are still there. North Bend/Snoqualmie is actually 40-ish miles east of Seattle in the Cascade foothills. Some of the actors were locals, notably the Log Lady. We made the mistake of going up there on the Memorial Day weekend the day after the season finale aired unmasking the real killer of Laura Palmer; what a zoo. These days you still get a decent number of people day-tripping up there, and a lot of tourists check out Snoqualmie Falls.

The project I worked on went for about a month. The first two weeks was done to do some test excavations in the woods immediately adjacent to the lake (Chester Morse Lake). I don't remember if we were looking for anything in particular, but we didn't find anything. We did test out some ground-penetrating radar and those results were interesting. We had a couple of hits, but they turned out to be non-artificial. The one I recall was a small mound of clay about a foot down; natural, but it showed up on the radar as an anomaly. It was a low-water year so we also did some surveying down near the then-current shoreline to see if there were any features, artifacts, whatever. We found what could have been a few hearths, but nothing much more. After that, we (with another group) dug some trenches in the beach. Worst.Week.Ever. It was Octo/Nov and it rained. Hard. All.Day. I was soaked and freezing. ANd sifting through useless sand. Then I had to go in the stupid trench and draw a profile -- after it dried out and got windy so sand was blowing all over the place. Next morning about a cup of junk came out of my eyes. Sheesh.

So anyway, have a cup of coffee and a donut or slice of pie in memorium. Just don't allow any "fish in the percolator"!