Ozette has given us the clearest picture of ancient Makah life and has illustrated the Makah's in-depth knowledge of their environment, knowledge gained through thousands of years of living in that area.
A catastrophic mudslide buried and preserved the ancient village of Ozette in the early 1700s. With the consent of the Makah tribe, Richard Dougherty of Washington State University excavated archaeological test pits in 1966 and 1967 at Ozette near the mudslide. In winter 1970 high tides washed artifacts from their resting places and tribal officials were alerted. In 1970, the Ozette archaeological was begun. Until excavation concluded in 1981, the Makah and Washington State University students, directed by teams of archaeologists, used pressurized ocean water to slowly remove the mud from buried houses and the exterior midden where household items were discarded. More than 55,000 artifacts have been excavated, cleaned, identified with Makah names, cataloged, preserved and stored or displayed. The site is recognized as one of the richest archaeological resources in the world and has inspired a cultural renaissance for the Makah
Artifacts from all aspects of ancient tribal life were unearthed, among them, beautifully carved house boards, an elaborate whale saddle or dorsal fin, inlaid with seven hundred sea otter teeth, numerous styles and sizes of baskets, boxes, clothing, cradle boards, mats, hats, looms and toys, fishing, sealing and whaling equipment, ceremonial gear, and metal tools. It is speculated that the metal came from shipwrecks or trade networks. Ancestral remains were reinterred out of respect for respect for these people and in keeping with cultural beliefs about death.
Information from the book Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula