The oral history wasn't a myth. Tsunamis hit this tribal village five times, new study shows

Northwest Public Radio

A legend about a great flood has been passed down through the centuries among the Klallam people on the north side of Washington's Olympic Peninsula. As re-told by Klallam elder Ed Sampson on a recording preserved by a University of North Texas linguist, the people noticed the fresh water turning salty -- a detail from which we infer a tsunami. 

In the story, a wise man warned the people to get ready. They scrambled into canoes provisioned with food and water. The survivors rode out the flood by tying cedar ropes to the tops of the tallest mountains of the nearby Olympic Range.

Lower Elwha Klallam tribal chairwoman Frances Charles said now there's proof this story "is not a myth."

A team of researchers from Portland State University, Western Washington University and the University of Rhode Island found evidence that as many as five tsunamis hit an ancient Klallam village at present-day Port Angeles harbor. The research papers, funded by the National Science Foundation, were published in a special issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019 - 12:58pm