Island’s distant past revealed

Dr. Julie Stein, left, and crew sift through soil for clues about the San Juan’s earliest inhabitants.   - Contributed photo / NPS
Dr. Julie Stein, left, and crew sift through soil for clues about the San Juan’s earliest inhabitants.
— image credit: Contributed photo / NPS

Travel back in time with the University of Washington’s Dr. Julie Stein and find out what life was really like for the very first settlers on the westside of San Juan Island… we’re talking like 8,000 years ago.

Stein, director of the Burke Museum, opens a window into the island’s past to discuss archaeological investigations of ancient cultures in the area of American Camp and South Beach as part of a guided walk, Saturday, June 7, at 10 a.m.

The walk traverses portion of the prairie above the beach; comfortable yet sturdy shoes are recommended.

Dr. Julie SteinStein will focus on ancient life at South Beach, which included hunting, gathering, camping and several forms of fishing, as well as the cultivation of camas and other root foods. She will also spend some time talking about middens, or trash mounds, located in several areas along the beach, which holds many clues to the life and activities of the islands first inhabitants, and which have remained remarkably in tact over time.

According to Stein, the middens reveal a picture of life at American Camp that goes back as far as 8,000 years.

The guided walk and presentation by Stein are among 13 “special” and 11 weekly programs presented this year by San Juan Island National Historical Park.

For more information about Parks programs visit,


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