Our planet gets more intriguing each and every day, but its history may be even more interesting – and most of all, mysterious. Even though historians, archeologists and paleontologists do the best they can to unveil its secrets, Earth certainly keeps the most to herself. Only she knows the entire set of events which took place over the years, only she knows which secrets remain buried under the surface. Yet, as we said, a lot of people try to unveil our planet’s past and sometimes, they succeed. Which then results in awe-inspiring scenes.
We’re all acquainted with Pompeii. The ancient Roman city near Naples was covered with volcanic ash and pumice due to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Disastrous for the population then, of course, yet a true goldmine for history-minded people nowadays. Human bodies, buildings and everyday objects were entombed in the ash and often perfectly preserved, if not at least leaving voids for archeologists to observe and make plaster casts of. Even though careless excavations in the past did much damage to the site, it still gives us a glimpse into everyday life in Roman times we would’ve never had if it wasn’t for Pompeii.
Yet Pompeii certainly isn’t the only one of its kind. Across the world, multiple other traces of civilizations have been preserved thanks to (or because of) violent natural phenomena. One of them is the village Ozette in Washington.
The village, once inhabited by the Makah people, had become somewhat of a legend. Despite rumors about a settlement on the edge of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington’s most northwesterly corner, no one could give any details about the site until 1970, when a storm unveiled what people could not.
Buried under a 300 to 500 year-old mudslide, a stunning 50.000 wooden objects and a whole village containing six longhouses were waiting to be discovered. Because the mud created some kind of vacuum, the perishable items such as dog hair baskets and wooden utensils were still very well preserved.
They unveiled a settlement dating back to 200 BCE and gave a rare physical insight into the culture of the Makah, who usually rely on an almost exclusively oral tradition. The Makah Cultural and Research Center in Neah Bay has about 500 items, or 1% of the original findings, on show and provides a glimpse of pre-contact Makah life, giving you a rare opportunity to inform yourself on one of America’s native cultures.