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The Dalles in Wasco County, Oregon — The American West (Northwest)
 

Archaeology of Lewis & Clark

 
 
Archaeology of Lewis & Clark Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 13, 2020
1. Archaeology of Lewis & Clark Marker
Inscription.  Determining the exact location of the campsite used by the Lewis and Clark expedition is not as easy as it may seem. Archaeological evidence of the Lower Portage Camp below the Great Falls of the Missouri was announced by Ken Karsmirki in 1994. In 2003, Daniel Hall reported discovery of archaeological evidence of Travelers' Rest campsite south of Missoula, Montana. No other expedition camps have yielded conclusive archaeological evidence and both the Lower Portage and Travelers' Rest have their critics.
Analysis of the maps produced by the expedition cartographer William Clark offers many clues to campsite locations. Multiple maps were often produced for a single area. However, comparison of three maps of the Dalles drawn by Clark illustrates discrepancies that fuel debate and offers little reassurance regarding exact camp locations.
Courses and distances were recorded by Clark for each leg of the expedition. On October 25th, 1805, Clark reported the expedition passed through the Long Narrows and on to Rock Fort following the route S 34º W for 3 miles S 20º W for 2 miles; N 60º W 1 mile; and finally S 60º W for 4 miles. Clark's route
Archaeology of Lewis & Clark Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 13, 2020
2. Archaeology of Lewis & Clark Marker
is an approximation that totals 10 river miles. Based on a 1934 USGS map (pre-Dalles Dam) the route was actually only 3 5/8 miles.
At third approach is to use the results of the celestial observations of the expedition to determine latitude and longitude. On October 26th, 1805, Clark wrote in his journal that he made observations of the sun, moon and the star Fomalhaut and determined the latitude at Rock Fort to be 45º 0' North latitude. This is 41.5 miles due south of where you are standing.
Collaboration between the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum and NASA's Stennis Space Center is providing additional analysis. A detail of the most accurate of Clark's maps in superimposed on a 2002 IKONOS satellite image. Clark appears to mark the campsite location with an ink spot and symbol that looks like a musical note. This also gives an approximation, but logic dictates that the actual campsite would be closer to the river's edge.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & ArchaeologyExplorationForts and Castles.
 
Location. 45° 36.409′ N, 121° 11.265′ W. Marker is in The Dalles, Oregon, in Wasco County. Marker can be reached from West 1st Street near Union Street, on the right when traveling west. This marker is located
Rock Fort image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, August 13, 2020
3. Rock Fort
in Rock Fort. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 801 West 1st Street, The Dalles OR 97058, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Establishing Rock Fort (here, next to this marker); Rumor of Attack (a few steps from this marker); The Lewis & Clark Expedition (a few steps from this marker); Trade Center for 10000 Years (a few steps from this marker); The White Man Legend (a few steps from this marker); Importance of Salmon (a few steps from this marker); The Mill Creek Tunnel (within shouting distance of this marker); St. Peter's Church (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The Dalles.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 22, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 22, 2020, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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Mar. 3, 2021