Yaquina Head

Archaeological site

Jutting into the Pacific Ocean, Yaquina Head is battered and scoured by waves, wind and rain. The headland is a lava flow which originated 14 million years ago in eastern Washington and Oregon and spread 300 miles before reaching the ocean.

The lava then cooled to form basalt rock which refuses to be worn away as quickly as the surrounding sandstone and other rock. The bordering sandy beaches continue to recede, while Yaquina Head endures.

Yaquina Head was in use during the Middle Archaic Period (6000 to 2000 years ago). People were living in a permanent village on Yaquina Head on Oregon's central coast 4000 years ago.

Animal remains at the site indicate though mussels made up most of the peoples' diet a wide variety of mammals, fish and birds were eaten. These included seals, sea lions, deer, elk, herring, perch, albatross and cormorants.

Tools recovered from the site represent many different activities, and were frequently made of bones, antler and shell. Obsidian was rarely used because it had to be obtained from distant sources.

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