Posted by: wadahp | April 5, 2011


VANCOUVER, WA –  Dr. Douglas Wilson is the 2011 recipient of the John L.
Cotter Award for Excellence in National Park Service Archeology. Dr. Wilson
is an archaeologist for the Pacific West Regional Office of the National
Park Service, based at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in Vancouver,

Dr. Wilson was nominated for his work on the Station Camp/Middle Village
archaeological site, a part of Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.
The archaeology was initiated as a result of a proposed realignment of
Highway 101 to create an interpretive park area commemorating the
encampment of the Lewis and Clark expedition during November 1805, the
history of the indigenous Chinook Indians, and the salmon cannery town
established by P.J. McGowan. Dr. Wilson, as the principal investigator,
brought together an impressive multidisciplinary team to ensure a fuller
understanding of the site; there were eleven contributors to the final
report. In addition, Dr. Wilson incorporated a battery of scientific
techniques into the research design in order to establish the site’s
chronology and tease additional data from the artifacts, including
Carbon-14 dating, ground penetrating radar, magnetometry, and isotope

The research will be the basis for park interpretive developments at
Station Camp / Middle Village.  The $2 million project – a partnership
between the Chinook Nation, the State of Washington, and the National Park
Service – is scheduled for completion in 2011.  Doug has served as the
principle cultural resource advisor on the project.

According to David Szymanski, Superintendent of Lewis and Clark National
Historical Park, “It is hard to overstate the impact of Doug’s work at
Middle Village.  It has and will change the way people think of the Lower
Columbia.  Since the release of his report in 2009, both the press and
local people have become fascinated with the sophisticated, wealthy, and
populous Chinookan culture that controlled the lower river.”

As Director of the Northwest Cultural Resources Institute, a research and
stewardship consortium based at Fort Vancouver, Dr. Wilson has been a
strong advocate for including students in archaeological work and ensuring
that information is disseminated to the public. Undergraduate and graduate
students from Portland State University and Washington State University
assisted on the project, both in the field and with lab work. Dr. Wilson
has taken every opportunity to share his knowledge of the site with the
local community and the greater region, through numerous newspaper
articles, television appearances, talks at professional conferences, and
public lectures. Through all aspects of the project, Dr. Wilson has been
the main liaison with the Native American tribes who have ancestral claims
to the site.

“Doug is the consummate professional, and I knew he would lend his
extraordinary talents to scientifically studying this highly significant
site and disseminating the results,” said Stephanie Toothman, Associate
Director of Cultural Resources for the National Park Service.

Dr. Wilson has exemplified the tradition of responsible, scientific
archaeology as espoused by John Cotter, resulting in an incredibly rich
view of a significant site.

John Cotter is considered one of the founding fathers of historical
archaeology in the United States. During his career he excavated such
well-known sites as Bynum Mounds, Emerald Mound, and Jamestown, Virginia
(Louis Caywood, the archaeologist who rediscovered Fort Vancouver in 1947,
worked with Cotter at Jamestown). Dr. Cotter worked for the National Park
Service from 1940 to 1977, retiring as the senior archaeologist for the
agency. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of
Pennsylvania and, while working for the NPS, also served as an adjunct
associate professor there. In 1961, he taught the nation’s first course in
American historical archaeology.  Later, he helped to establish the Society
for Historical Archaeology and served as its first president. The National
Park Service award was established to honor Dr. Cotter’s distinguished
career and his pioneering contributions to professional archaeology within
the National Park System. The peer recognition is designed to encourage and
inspire archaeologists by highlighting an exemplary local archaeological

Please note that Dr. Wilson will be speaking about his experiences working
on the Gulf Oil Spill cleanup efforts this Thursday, 4:00 pm, at Portland
State University – for more information call the PSU Anthropology
Department at (503) 725-3081.

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