The Sharpening Stone - Kettle Falls, WA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member T0SHEA
N 48° 37.827 W 118° 06.468
11U E 418375 N 5386969
Near the site of the old St. Paul's Mission along the Columbia River one will find a very unusual artefact, a reminder of civilizations past.
Waymark Code: WMWYQ0
Location: Washington, United States
Date Posted: 10/31/2017
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member fisnjack
Views: 5

The artefact in question is a large conveniently located boulder left by glaciers alongside the Columbia river at Kettle Falls ten to twelve thousand years ago. Kettle Falls was considered one of the very best salmon fishing spots on the river by the natives, who have fished at the falls for 9,000 years or more, making this one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in North America.

A non-local stone of amphibolite, the boulder was found to be an excellent stone on which to sharpen spears and knives in preparation for fishing. It may have been used by hundreds of generations of native fishermen. The long straight grooves left in the boulder by the action of drawing knives and spears over it are still clearly visible. It was quite serendipitous that the boulder should happen to have been deposited here, right next to the falls.

Unfortunately, there is no longer a "Kettle Falls". When the Grand Coulee Dam was built in the 1930s & '40s 100 miles or so downstream the river impounded behind it became Roosevelt Lake, a 150 mile long lake stretching from the dam at Grand Coulee to the Canadian Border. The resultant lake now covers the falls.

Following are texts from two of the historical markers near the Sharpening Stone. To find the stone, first get yourself to St. Paul's Mission on the eastern bank of the Columbia, west of the town of Kettle Falls, then follow the walking trail northwest toward the river. A sign on the north side of Highway 20/395 points out the road/trail leading in to the mission. The Mission, incidentally, is a National Historic Site, established near the Fort Colville Hudson's Bay Trading Post in 1830. This was the first non-native settlement in this area.
The Sharpening Stone
This grooved boulder was a favorite whetstone used by generations of Indians who camped at the south end of the fishery. Left there by the last glacier, it is made of amphibolite, more fine-grained than the local bedrock.

The stone has been placed here in the same position in which it was used to sharpen the spear points, knives and other implements used to harvest the salmon.

Kettle Falls
Called Shonitkwu, "roaring or noisy waters," by resident Shwayip Indians, Kettle Falls was considered the second largest salmon fishery on the Columbia River. Falling 33 feet in less than a half-mile, its roar could be heard for miles. It has been estimated that a good day's catch during historic runs in late June and in August produced over 2000 salmon weighing sixteen pounds or more.

Recent archeological findings show that native populations have occupied the site for at least 9000 years, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in the northwest.

Low lake levels in the spring provide faint visions of the past as portions of the islands and channels of the falls appear.
Trailhead: N 48° 37.716 W 118° 06.405

Type: Yoni Rock

How did you find this "Ancient Evidence": Other

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