Fort Vancouver slates archaeology lecture series

Theme focuses on technology, manufacturing at site

By Tom Vogt, Columbian science, military & history reporter

Published:

 

Technology and manufacturing will provide a fitting theme for this year's lecture series, said Doug Wilson, archaeologist at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

"It's an important part of history and archaeology here," Wilson said. "We have an incredible history of technology and industrial production, going back to the Hudson's Bay Company."

If you go

• What: Fort Vancouver archaeology lecture series.

■ When: June 27; July 11; July 18; July 25; Aug. 1 (all 7 p.m.).

■ Where: Pearson Air Museum, 1115 E. Fifth St., Vancouver.

■ Cost: Free.

That heritage includes a series of maritime milestones, starting almost two centuries ago when the Hudson's Bay Company pioneered the region's shipyard industry .

"A boat works facility was part of the waterfront complex," Wilson said.

The now-forgotten Standifer shipyards, built during World War I, were followed by Kaiser's Vancouver shipyard -- a big part of America's WWII industrial mobilization.

A string of aviation milestones started more than a century ago at one of the nation's oldest continuously used airports, now known as Pearson Field. During WWI, that area became the center of a Northwest logging and milling program that turned out a million board feet of aviation-quality spruce a day. Between the two world wars, Vancouver was a link in some record-setting flights.

Two of the Thursday presentations will focus on aspects of Vancouver history.

The schedule:

• June 27 — World War II Military Aircraft Accidents in National Park Service sites:More than 7,000 military aircraft crashed in the U.S. during WWII, resulting in the loss of more than 15,000 lives. Adrian Hunt, now executive director of the Flying Heritage Collection in Everett, will focus on the

preservation of wreck sites in 20 areas administered by the Park Service.

• July 11 — Kaiser Shipyard Archaeological Investigations: Bill R. Roulette, president and founder of Applied Archaeological Research in Portland, will discuss an unusual archaeological investigation performed in conjunction with an environmental remediation project at the site of the Kaiser Vancouver shipyard. Monitoring excavation of a landfill, combined with analysis of artifacts and historical research, offered insights into the lives of shipyard workers. It also provides a more nuanced version of historical events that run counter to the master narratives developed to explain and interpret America's WWII experience.

• July 18 — The Brimstone Hill Fortress, St. Kitts, West Indies:Gerald F. Schroedl, professor of anthropology at the University of Tennessee, will discuss Brimstone Hill Fortress, a British Colonial era (1690-1854) fortification on the northwest coast of St. Kitts in the eastern Caribbean. The 40-acre fort protected against foreign enemies and provided domestic security from the threat of slave revolts.

• July 25 — Sharing Archaeological Findings With Mobile Technology:Brett Oppegaard, an assistant professor of communication at Washington State University Vancouver, coordinates the mobile storytelling apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices used at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The apps, which include re-enactor portrayals, interpretive material and links to archives, are the first of their kind in the Park Service.

• Aug. 1 — New Research in Underwater Archaeology:Bert Ho is an underwater specialist for the Park Service's Submerged Resources Center. He will discuss the preservation of natural and cultural resources beyond the borders and coastlines of the U.S., including recent research on sunken WWII aircraft from the Battle of Midway, the search for Captain Morgan's shipwrecks in Panama, and a possible slave wreck in South Africa.