Winter 2019

By Brooke Cohen
March 18, 2019

The end of winter is coming! Yes, it is. The Plateau crew is looking forward to conducting fieldwork again soon. . . Any day now. . .

Palouse Habitat for Humanity

By Brooke Cohen
July 29, 2018

Andrew, Adam, Tiffany, Brandon, Sam, Brooke, Terry, and Lauren

One Saturday this summer, the Plateau crew had the opportunity to help at the Palouse Habitat for Humanity construction site.  After a brief orientation and safety training, we worked along with a few members of the Habitat staff, the future homeowner, and several other volunteers.  The archaeologists traded their shovels for hammers and paint rollers as they prepared the walls for trusses and painted siding a nice gray/blue color. Many hands made the work light, fun, and fast. 

The goal of Habitat for Humanity is to help families improve and build affordable housing. Volunteers and donations are always needed and welcome. The Palouse Habitat for Humanity has a surplus store at 304 N. Main Street in Moscow where people can donate new and used building materials and household items.  We purchased some nice electrical cover plates for the office there!

Food for Thought

April 26, 2017
The Guardian article: Could history of humans in North America be rewritten by broken bones?

Plateau on the Road: Cooper’s Ferry Prehistoric Site

By Justin Hopt
July 8, 2016

Cooper'sFerryGroupOn Friday, July 8th,, the Plateau team (and associated family members) decided to leave the office behind and make the two-hour trek to the lower Salmon River Canyon and the Cooper’s Ferry prehistoric site (10IH73).

Cooper’s Ferry is located 12 miles south of the town of Cottonwood along the Salmon River in west-central Idaho. The site was originally excavated by B. Robert Butler in the 1960s. In 1997, Dr. Loren Davis excavated one 2×2 m test pit inside the site, finding evidence of an extremely early occupation in the form of Western Stemmed projectile points. These projectile points obtained associated radiocarbon dates of 11,370 and 11,410 radiocarbon years BP. This makes the Cooper’s Ferry site one of the oldest sites in North America! As with any groundbreaking research, this proved to be controversial, so Dr. Davis returned to the Cooper’s Ferry site in 2009 to excavate a much larger portion of the site. Since then, Cooper’s Ferry has acted as an archaeological field school for hundreds of students.

Arriving at around 10 am, the Plateau team was given a grand tour of all the current happenings at the site as well as an explanation of site formation processes by Dr. Davis. After a quick lunch stop at Pine Bar Recreation Site, the team headed back to Pullman having enjoyed the learning opportunity and time away from the office.

Boy Scouts ~ Chief Kamiaken District

By Matt Marino
May 1, 2016

The Palouse Hills Award

The Palouse Hills Award

In April, the Chief Kamiaken District of the Inland Northwest Council of the Boy Scouts of America held their annual Volunteer Awards Dinner.  At the dinner, District representatives honored Plateau Archaeological Investigations with the Palouse Hills Award.  The award was created in 2001, and is awarded annually to a non-scouter group or business that has done an outstanding job in supporting Scouting at the district level.

The Chief Kamiaken District representatives acknowledged both David and Jenny, not only for the time and exceptional service they have devoted to Troops 444 and 460, but also for loaning Plateau tools, vehicles, and equipment to scouts and leaders for various projects and outings.

In addition to the Palouse Hills Awards, Jenny was presented with the Extra Miler Award for “going the extra mile” in helping scouts prosper in Troop 460.


Habitat for Humanity ~ Genesee

By Matt Marino
October 14, 2014

habitat build 2014The Plateau crew geared up for Habitat for Humanity again, and headed to Genesee, Idaho on Saturday, September 27th. Anticipating that we were good at digging, the Codger Crew immediately assigned some of us to dig holes for the construction of a front porch. Digging in the unfamiliar key of “inches” proved difficult, but we managed. Precise measurement and placement of holes and careful digging through the compact sediment took some time. Thankfully it only took a few minutes to determine how misaligned our holes were, and judicious wall chopping resulted in the proper alignment. We were not allowed to screen the sediment, but Michelle determined it to be a 10YR4/4 (dark yellowish brown), culturally-sterile sediment. Construction efforts pressed on. After a promotion for good behavior and not being afraid of heights, Matt joined David on the roof for weather-proofing, shingling, and generally throwing things around. We were fortunate to work alongside the future homeowner, who has been volunteering at the job site every weekend since construction began. The Plateau crew highly recommends the rewarding experience of contributing to a Habitat for Humanity project, and the delicious lunch that accompanies it.

Philmont Scout Ranch

By David Harder
July 7, 2014

PhilmontJust to set the record straight, and so that our readers don’t think I was simply goofing off for the last three weeks, I was privileged to help accompany six Boy Scouts to the Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico.  If you are not familiar with Philmont, it is 214 square miles of wilderness that was gifted to the BSA to provide outdoor opportunities for the Boy Scouts, Venturers, and others with 34 staffed camps, 55 trail camps, hiking, climbing, fishing, wildlife, and clean air.  This year Philmont is set to welcome its one-millionth visitor.  Although the Pacific Northwest provides ample opportunities for our Scouts to participate in outdoor activities, it was nice to see the high adventure base that provides such a rich variety of scouting activities and challenges for Scouts and Venturers nationwide.  We completed a trek that covered over 55 miles and stayed in themed camps representing a Mexican homestead, a trappers camp, a miners camp, and the hunting and fishing lodges that were built by Waite Phillips (who donated much of the property to the BSA).

While on our journey, the other adult adviser on the trip, Thom Allen, blogged our activities.  You can see more pictures and information about the trek his journal pages (Journal 1 and Journal 2).

Inner Demon Motorsports

By David Harder
January 13, 2014


Last year we had two inventory projects in Stevens County.  Not only did the area blossom with mining features, but the terrain offered mostly steep overgrown hillsides broken only by old, narrow logging and mining roads that had been partly reclaimed by nature, or narrow drainages that had been claimed by moose.  Meanwhile, the weather fluctuated randomly as if the cable channel forecasters had some sway in its range of hot to cold and dry to rainy.  Our crew handled themselves admirably with the conditions…in spite of a dearth of enticing regional cuisine.

Between the two projects we put the Yamaha Rhino in the capable hands of Brian at Inner Demon Motorsports.  He set us up with a roll cage, a rear seat, four point harnesses, doors, and high intensity headlights.  The Rhino became a full-on crew transport.  It saved many miles of walking up steep, overgrown roads.  Cruising along the forest roads in the morning helped reconcile the crew to the day’s weather in a high speed manner.  And at the end of the day, the Rhino provided a welcome sight to the survey weary crew.  Somehow, being whipped by foliage on the ride out at the end of the day wasn’t nearly as insulting as reaching the end of a long transect to realize you still needed to hike out to the pickup.   Thank you Brian!

Check them out at:


Plateau on the Road: Congratulations to Louis and Lauren Fortin

Louis and Lauren

Plateau offers congratulations and best wishes for the future adventures of Louis and Lauren Fortin! Your July 19th wedding at Arbor Crest Winery in Spokane was lovely, you both were absolutely glowing with happiness, and of course, being Plateau peeps, we really enjoyed the delicious food!

“Uncle Lou” is one of our favorite team members (The man bug bombed a field vehicle!) and we REALLY relish visiting Lauren at Spokane’s Total Wine and More!


Plateau on the Road: Taqueria Ranchito in Grand Coulee

Taqueria Ranchito Grand Coulee
Ah, the loveliness that is the site of a Taco Wagon! David, John, and Doug enjoy Taqueria Ranchito while taking a work break in Grand Coulee, Washington.

Plateau on the Road: Columbia River Flood Basalt in the American Museum of Natural History

By Jenny Harder
May 06, 2013

Museum of Natural History Columbia Basalt

I recently had a chance to visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. While perusing the Rose Center for Earth and Space, I glanced across the exhibit and saw something comfortingly familiar. Of all the amazing geological specimens, from all over the world, Columnar Basalt Pillars of the Columbia River were featured! These particular specimens of basalt columns were from the Pomona Flow of the Columbia River flood basalt.

The Pomona Flow is one of the longest known flood basalt plains on the planet. The Pomona started in lava vents near the Washington-Idaho border and flowed nearly 600 kilometers down the Snake and Columbia river drainages until reaching the Pacific Ocean.  The Columbia River flood basalt province, which covers 200,000 square kilometers of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, is actually one of the smallest, but best known, basalt provinces.

Apparently the American Museum of Natural History in New York realizes that Columnar Basalt Pillars ROCK!!


Plateau on the Road: NWAC Silent Auction Basket

By Jenny Harder
March 25, 2013

Michelle, Kristin, Kelly, and Doug are getting ready to head to the Northwest Anthropological Conference (NWAC) in Portland, Oregon this weekend and we couldn’t send them away without a silent auction basket from Plateau.  The team quite enjoys coffee and beer so of course that’s what we had to put in our basket. If you are attending the NWAC this weekend, you could be the winner of this tasty beverage treat of Plateau’s own blend of Scott Bros Coffee and a split sixer of Rogue Mocha Porter and Dick’s Cream Stout. We’re pretty pleased with the regional flair: Scott Bros Coffee Roasters located in Curlew, Washington, Rogue, of Oregon Brewing Company, bottles and brews in Newport, Oregon, and Dick’s Brewing Company hails from Centralia, Washington.  Cheers to the winner of this basket!


Plateau on the Road: Deda Auto Repair

By Jenny Harder
March 5, 2013

Remember the TV show “Cheers”? Everyone yelled “NORM” whenever he would enter the bar and they’d slide him a pint of foamy beer. It was a happy, friendly place where everybody knew your name. (As referenced by the theme song.) Well, Deda Auto Repair, located in Pullman, Washington, is sort of like that. You can be sure that Jorg, the owner, will holler out your name in a friendly greeting. While Jorg might not slide us a pint, be it of beer or oil, we generally are looking for an oil change, brake work, or regular maintenance. Jorg specializes in working on import cars, however, he’s been known to help folks out with domestic types as well.

Jenny first took her 1972 Bug to Deda back in the wee days of 1990 when Jorg’s father was still working on cars. That’s a significantly lengthy history of confidence and satisfaction in Deda Auto Repair’s skills. With Plateau’s five main field vehicles, as well as the team’s personal rides, Jorg tells us we have a standing appointment. Which is really appreciated since it would be disturbing to send our crew out into the wild, lonely, and infrequently cell covered project areas without properly maintained transportation. Thanks for keeping Plateau on the Road, Jorg!


Plateau on the Road: NRS Strap Field Fix!

By Jenny Harder
February 25, 2013

Working out in the field, which is to say, working in often times remote locations, can be tricky when something goes wrong with a vehicle.  Our most recent equipment malfunction occurred with our Rhino trailer. Louis and Doug were returning from a long day out in the field when the trailer they were pulling suddenly wasn’t pulling any longer. The leaf spring on the trailer had snapped. Luckily they were only 20 miles from Pullman, and within cell coverage. They called David, who drove out to see what he could do to get them back on the road. David used a tie down strap from Northwest River Supply (aka a NRS strap) to connect the spring mount and the axle. They used the winch on the Rhino to help pull the axle back into position, and once the NRS strap was cinched up tight, they released the winch. They cut off the excess strap so it wouldn’t wrap around the wheel. FIELD FIX! Louis and Doug were able to drive back to Pullman, towing the trailer and Rhino, for a more official leaf spring replacement.

Amazingly, this is not the first time David has used a NRS strap to fix a vehicle. Back when Washington State University still had a CRM company, David and his crew were driving a WSU Suburban in remote Oregon with extremely bad “roads.” The vehicle vibrated so badly that the bolts to the transmission snapped off. The crew used a NRS strap to cinch the transmission back in place. FIELD FIX!

Needless to say, we’ll be heading over to Moscow, Idaho to pick up some additional NRS straps from Northwest River Supply!


Plateau on the Road: Field Vehicles and New Pairs of Shoes

By Jenny Harder
February 12, 2013

Plateau spends a great deal of time on the road, driving to projects both near and far, on road and off, and we put significant wear on tires as well as the vehicles themselves.  With our fleet of trusty field vehicles it seems one of them is always in need of a new set of tires (Baby needs a new pair of shoes!), an oil change, new tabs, or let’s be honest, an air freshener. We’d feel guilty about all this driving, however, there really aren’t any rapid transit services or buses to ANY of the places we go. Our clients are not as eager to include the hours needed to bicycle to a project into their budget. (Huh, you don’t say?) It does feel a bit silly to be working on projects to meet environmental reviews while driving hundreds and hundreds of miles to get there. But there you go. That’s what we do.

When terrain permits, we take our faithful Jetta TDI, which makes us all warm and fuzzy to achieve 48 miles to the gallon. The grouchy looks from people who actually get a whiff of our diesel fumes tend to give us a complex. However, with over 300,000 miles and counting, they can huff and puff all they want.  These days we’ve got the “Yeti” all kited out for winter in snow tires, which have come in pretty handy this season.

There really is nothing quite like a compact four wheel drive truck on some of these pseudo not-quite-logging roads that climb up, up, up through the trees. Being able to get over exposed roots, washboards (something akin to a heard of washing machines just laying in the road), across washed out “roads”, and streams is more than essential. It’s part of the necessary daily commute. “Little Green”, a Tacoma and our first official trusty badged field vehicle, recently was pampered with a new set of four burly all weather mud and snow tires. Perhaps the Waffle Stomper of Les Schwab’s many racks of tires.

Our most drastic and irrefutable need for new tires occurred when two tires blew out on “Big Green” (aka the Green Sequoia) during a project in Asotin County. While the pictures might indicate being shot up by bad guys, Michelle reassured us CRM in Eastern Washington isn’t so Indiana Jones-esque. Her working theory was that “Big Green” ran through some non-cultural pointed rocks via the freshly graded road. With only one spare tire, and a long way to town, what to do, what to do? Quite handily, Plateau was working with two vehicles that day. John wrestled with the jack and tire iron and loaded the wheels and shredded tires into the other vehicle.  The rest of the team, crammed in with all the equipment and tires, were dropped off at the project area. Michelle continued into town to visit our Tire Heroes at  Les Schwab who hooked her up with new tires. Just one more new pair of shoes….


Plateau on the Road: Mmmmm, Fresh Salsa & Pupusa

By Jenny Harder
January 28, 2013

 We are spicy food fiends and one of the best ways to get some heat is at one of the many Mexican restaurants around eastern Washington. Nuevo Amanecer, a Mexican-Salvadorean  restaurant, in Pasco, Washington offers a whole table of freshly made salsas in a wide range of styles and heat. Meals are easy to order a with numbered photo menu board, affordable  prices, and freshly made once you’ve placed your order.  We’ve become quite enamored with Salvadorean Pupusas, which are hand formed masa dough balls filled with queso fresco, then flattened and grilled. (Pupusas have been described as thick quesadillas, but they are SO MUCH MORE!) Perhaps the most difficult realization is that your stomach is not going to be able to eat everything on the menu, let alone one meal, in a sitting. David and John’s families request  pupusas, cabbage curtido, and salsa  verde from Nuevo Amanecer whenever they are passing through the Tri-Cities.



Plateau on the Road: Queen of Sheba

By Jenny Harder
January 22, 2013

Whenever we are in Spokane our team likes to indulge in Ethiopian food. The Queen of Sheba, located in the Flour Mill, offers food that you really can “dig” your hands into. While sipping on aromatic Ethiopian spiced tea and house roasted Ethiopian coffee we took advantage of the offered towelettes. Almaz, the owner, suggested ordering a lunch special, which was a great way to try out four of the vegetarian selections, as well as Yebeg Alich’A, a savory lamb dish. Arriving in a colorful, large, round basket, our food was arranged in delicious little mounds on top of a giant, spongy pancake called Injera. Several other smaller pancakes were rolled up on the edges to use as pinching scoops. A tiny spoon was tucked along side of the basket for those whose talent does not lend to eating with only hands. (Or in case Mr. Monk was inadvertently invited to dine. Not that we have anything against Mr. Monk, it just would be an uncomfortable eating style for anyone with hand touching “issues”…or people who don’t like to share food.)

Almaz was wonderfully attentive and told us all about the natural ingredients that she selects to create Queen of Sheba’s amazing dishes. Had we been able to manage dessert, we would have jumped on the Baklava…or at least brought some back for the office.



Plateau on the Road: The Breadline Cafe

By Jenny Harder
January 14, 2013


Mmmm, The Breadline Café in Omak, Washington is one of the reasons Plateau crew originally started thumb wrestling over projects.  Omak is  home of the Omak Stampede and World Famous Suicide Race.  Fittingly, the Breadline offers their own zippy “Suicide Sauce” bottled in Omak’s original bottling plant, which also houses the restaurant.  Belly satisfying fare includes Portobello Neptune, Taj Mahal Salad, sirloin steak stuffed with bleu cheese, Florentine Crepes, burgers, house made breads, and desserts. Thirst quenchers cover the gamut from Cowgirl Lemonade, Suicide Marys, or Stallion Margaritas, in addition to excellent espresso and a variety of healthful juiced up fruits and veggies.  Those of us who have made personal trips to Omak have enjoyed the Breadline’s amazing Saturday Brunch.  The Breadline Café boasts “buckin’ good food”, and we fully agree!



Doctor Kelly Derr, Ph.D!

Congratulations are in order for Kelly Derr.  This fall she completed and defended her dissertation, and was presented with her diploma in December.   Her dissertation–Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction of the Gulf Islands, Southwestern British Columbia–characterized the plant communities and ecological change during the last 6,000 years on the Gulf Islands of Southwestern British Columbia, Canada.  She used lake sediment core samples and analyzed fossil pollen and charcoal to create a baseline regional environmental history.  Her research placed particular emphasis on human-plant interactions among pre-contact Coast Salish peoples to understand how people used and managed plants.




Plateau on the Road: Scott Bros Coffee

By Jenny Harder
November 26, 2012

One of our favorite finds is Scott Bros Coffee Roasters located in Curlew, Washington.  They have this really cool home built FlashRoast machine that does amazing things to the flavor of the beans. We like the owners and their coffee so much that we not only mail order pounds and pounds of coffee, but we have our own “Plateau Blend”.  John, Plateau’s novice coffee roaster, worked with Rich Scott to choose the certified Fair Trade beans.  John, Kelly, and David styled our label.  The rest of us just lounge about in our bunny slippers enjoying tasty cups of the spicy and pungent, as well as smooth and chocolatey, results!






Veterans’ Day 2012

Today we are thankful to honor Veterans who have served our country. At Plateau we have our own favorite Veteran – John L. “Jack” McNassar III.  Thank you, Jack, for your courage, honor, ethics, and dedication to serving The United States of America. Jack served as a Medical Evacuation Non-Commissioned Officer in the US Army & Army National Guard from 1994-2005, a Combat Medic Specialist, 41st Infantry Brigade & 220th MP Brigade in Iraq from 2003-2004, and as a Security forces Medic, 41st Infantry Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, Saudi Arabia in 1999-2000. Today, Jack continues to reach out and support Veterans as they return to civilian life. Jack, you inspire us, and we are so proud to have you on the team.  Thank You!








Plateau on the Road: On the road again…

…and again…and again…

Little Green and Pupusas


   Dust and dirt keep unfurling,

   While vehicle wheels keep on turning,

   Miles keep the petrol burning,

   Map corners begin curling,

   Brains and stomachs initiate yearning.

By Jenny Harder
October 18, 2012

Plateau peeps spend a tremendous amount of time on the road. We’ve made some delightful discoveries along the way, that really, truly, have nothing to do with CRM (Cultural Resource Management) and everything to do with our quirky sense of humor, an eye for the scenic artistry of the regions we visit, and the gastrointestinal delicacies we crave.

When we get together during our M.O.M. (Meetings On Monday) we, of course, discuss the status of current projects. However, we balance the serious with drool worthy conversations covering the locations of newly discovered coffee shacks, taco wagons, exceptional breweries, and epicurean destinations.

Many thumb wars have been fought between crew over who will participate on projects with known good eats and nearby breweries, as well as craziest terrain and what wild life might be encountered. (*The best BEAR story wins!*)

CRM is about location. Where are we working? And, more importantly, where are we eating?




An Audience with the King

By Michelle Hannum
September 20, 2012

About a year ago there were whispers on the wind.  Rumors, really.  The boy king was touring the United States, and he was making an appearance in Seattle.  I became giddy with anticipation.  I made my sons watch every video he starred in.  And, no, I’m not referring to Justin Beiber.*  I’m referring to Tutankhamun.  He and a few select pharaohs are currently featured at the Pacific Science Center.

The exhibit features over 100 artifacts that help illustrate the role of family, religion, and power of thepharaohs during the Golden Age of Ancient Egypt.  Through exquistely carved figurines and statues, the audience is introduced to pharaohs, not as unpronounceable names in a yellowed text book, but as mothers, as fathers, and as children.  My sons excitedly led us through these galleries, fascinated by every artifact.

Their excitement was almost uncontainable as we neared King Tut’s tomb.  Entrance into the gallery is via a mock-up tent opening, and as you slip into the role, you become witness as Howard Carter proudly introduced the world to Tatankhamun.  The remaining galleries correspond to the four rooms within Tutankhamun’s tomb: the Antechamber, the Annex, the Treasury, and the Burial Chamber.  Tutankhamun’s mummy has never left Egypt, and again rests in the Valley of the Kings.  There is an exact replica, created through CT scans, on display at the Pacific Science Center, reminding us the important role modern technological advances have on archaeology and understanding material culture.

This is the last time this exhibit will be displayed in the United States, and Plateau encourages everyone to venture into Ancient Egypt and have an audience with The King.

Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs runs through January 6, 2013.  For more information, check out The Pacific Science Center website at

*For those of you seeking Justin Beiber tour dates, he’ll be touring the Northwest during the month of October (




A visit from Sam Reed, Washington’s Secretary of State

By David Harder
September 14, 2012

Jenny Harder, David Harder and Sam Reed

Plateau was honored by a visit from Sam Reed, the Washington Secretary of State.  The Secretary of State is most visibly responsible for election integrity, but the list of duties is much more extensive.  Some of the Secretary’s other functions include filing acts of legislature, registering trademarks, maintaining public records, and registering and licensing businesses, corporations and non-profit organizations.

Mr. Reed asked to visit us at Plateau because he knows that we conduct projects for state agencies, and wanted to inquire about the processes that we follow.  Plateau and Mr. Reed discussed the importance of state archival materials, and the usefulness of those materials for background research.  Mr. Reed told us that his tenure has focused not only on insuring the safety and security of more than 500 million documents, but that he is dedicated to making those documents and materials easily accessible to the public for historical, genealogical, and other types of research.

See the Secretary of State’s web page for more information about the official duties of Mr. Reed and his office.




Habitat for Humanity

By David Harder
July 16, 2012

Habitat for HumanityOn Saturday, July 7, Plateau crew volunteered to help on the Palouse Habitat for Humanity project in Uniontown on what felt to be the hottest day of the year.  The construction of this project is interesting in that the builders are pursuing a LEED certification.  The exterior walls of the structure were built with 2×4 construction.  Our crew helped to build interior 2×4 constructed walls that were raised and placed with a 3.75 inch gap from the exterior wall.  The walls will be insulated with vertical insulation in the studs and horizontal insulation in the space between the walls.  During the build, Chris Noll lead a team placing fire block at the ceiling between the interior and exterior walls.  Two of our team got to dig some dirt outside for the water service trench, and claim that no significant cultural resources were identified.  The rest of the crew were busy intermittently laying out walls, bending nails, trying to stay hydrated, and enjoying the Subway lunch provided.




Plateau Archaeological Investigations Unveils a New Website

By David Harder
May 31, 2012

Thank you for clicking-in to our newly updated web page.  We had received many positive comments about our previous website, but wanted to try to keep it fresh, make it easier to add new content, and provide some additional information to help people understand the world of cultural resource management.  We have had some excellent help putting this new website together and the Plateau team has been excited about showing a small sample of the projects we have completed.  We hope to keep this blog current with information about professional development, conferences attended, papers given, and posters presented.  We may even occasionally throw in some more personal items that help us showcase our personal goals.

You should be able to see a news feed to the side of this blog post.  This is a general archaeology news feed that is gleaned from the web.  If there is an interesting story or development about regional archaeology, or a news item that pertains to our professional or personal goals and interests, we will hope to memorialize those with a link and a quick description on this blog.