Artifacts From a Submerged Prehistoric Site On the Coos Bay Estuary, Southern Oregon Coast
Artifacts recovered during channel dredging in the Coos Bay estuary include the first wooden fish clubs from an archaeological context on the Oregon coast. The clubs and other artifacts, shell debris, fire-cracked rock, and fish weir stakes recovered by the dredge point to the presence of a submerged archaeological site at the mouth of South Slough, a major arm of Coos Bay. The cultural deposits at 35CS135 may represent a submerged prehistoric component of an ethnographic village at the mouth of South Slough. Radiocarbon dates from the two wooden clubs suggest an age of about AD 1020- 1450 for the inferred period of site occupation represented by the dredged cultural deposits. Although great earthquakes and accompanying tsunamis have episodically devastated the Oregon coast over the past 5000 years, the cultural deposits at 35CS135 were more likely submerged gradually by a slow rise in sea level than by sudden, earthquake-induced, coastal subsidence.