Cultural Artifacts found during Seahurst Park Beach restoration
As workers were doing demolition during the Seahurst Park Beach restoration recently, they discovered cultural artifacts called “Shell Middens” along the shoreline.
According to Michael Lafreniere, Executive Director of Burien Parks:
Shell middens are found throughout the world within coastal zones, in tidewater flats or along streams, wherever some variety of shellfish are found. A shell midden is a heap of clam, oyster or mussel shells that is associated with past human activity, usually found below the ground surface, in contrast to mounds of shells created by wind or tides.
So the findings were of a sort of “scrap heap,” or dumping grounds of shells left by humans long ago.
“As is the protocol for when artifacts are found, local tribes, as well as the Department of Fish & Wildlife, were called in,” Lafreniere told The B-Town Blog. “This was done in this case and following those consultations, the decision was made to make some minor design changes so as to avoid any disturbance in the area.”
Lafreniere added that the shell midden was found as a result of small probes, and the initial scrape by equipment was covered up and they were left intact.
Here’s a photo, courtesy the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, showing what Shell Middens look like:
Work on the beach restoration is expected to be completed this Spring.