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May 13, 2009

Ancient Basketry and Seattle’s Changing Shorelines are Featured in Two New Online Burke Exhibits

The Burke Museum announces the launch of two new online exhibits that explore Seattle history: Waterlines and Rediscovering Ancient Basketry From the Biderbost Site.

Waterlines examines a history of Seattle through a focus on its shorelines. Concentrating on Seattle's central waterfront district, the site of a major Native village before American settlement, visitors to the Waterlines Web site can interact with maps, video, and text that demonstrate how the landscape was radically transformed by people and natural forces over the past 15,000 years. Developed through the collective leadership of Burke archaeology curator Peter Lape, researching artist Donald Fels, and Puget Sound River History Project member Amir Sheikh, this Web site represents the first stage in a long-term project that will include physical exhibits in downtown Seattle and electronic broadcasts to handheld devices. Visit the Burke Web site to view this exhibit at www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/waterlines/

According to Lape, the Waterlines Web site is just the first of several projects that will help the general public visualize Seattle's past landscapes. "We are currently planning physical exhibits downtown that will allow people moving through Seattle cityscapes to see what those places were like 100 or 10,000 years ago," he said. "We also plan to install a series of actual lines through the city to mark its past shorelines that will serve as a trail marker for pedestrians."

Launched at the same time, Rediscovering Ancient Basketry From the Biderbost Site, gives Web site visitors a rare peek into the art and technology of basketry that is over 2,000 years old. Discovered along the banks of the Snoqualmie River, Biderbost is an archaeological site revealed in 1959 after the Snoqualmie River flooded. Basketry was preserved beneath layers of water-saturated soil which inhibited natural decay, providing present-day people with the unique opportunity to view baskets woven long ago. Site visitors can view videos, detailed photos, and text explaining how the baskets are preserved and what we can learn from them. Site creation was led by Allison Deep, archaeology collections assistant at the Burke Museum. View Rediscovering Ancient Basketry at www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/biderbost/

Waterlines and Rediscovering Ancient Basketry are the newest addition to the Burke's online education center. In 2009, two innovative Web exhibits received industry awards, Burke Kids, viewable at http://www.burkemuseum.org and The Enduring Power of Totem Poles, viewable at www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/totempoles/

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