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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

Oregon / Washington

The Nials Site

Archaeological site

The Nials Site at Harney Lake was occupied about 8,700 years ago. It is located atop what used to be a shoreline of the lake when it was much higher than today. We know it was situated on a gravel beach because aritifacts were found on top and slightly above the gravels. A large shallow water marsh was near the site at the time it was a living area for prehistoric people.

Marsh environments are rich is important plants such as tule, cattails and, possibly, edible seeds such as wada. They are known for their abundance of waterfowl such as ducks, geese and shorebirds. In addition, they attract small animal such as rabbits and big game animals such as deer and antelope. All of these factors make marsh edges highly desirable for human occupation throughout prehistoric time.

Scientific excavation can help us to understand the interaction between humans and the environment they live in. This type of scientific study is, by its nature, destructive. An excavation must be well planned and care must be taken to document everything removed from the site. In this way, the site can be re-created in reports and exhibits like this one.