The Biderbost baskets began their lives nearly 2,000 years ago along the banks of the Snoqualmie River in Washington. Used for collecting and storing fish, shellfish, and berries, these artifacts help us trace the long tradition of basket weaving in the Northwest. They tell stories about life, technology, trade, and artistic invention.

For nearly 2,000 years, baskets, woven mats, fishhooks, and net weights wrapped in cherry bark were preserved in water-saturated soil on the banks of the Snoqualmie River. This archaeological site, now known as the Biderbost site (site number 45SN100), was discovered in 1959 after the Snoqualmie flooded, and revealed many basketry fragments, fishhooks, net weights, projectile points, adzes, chisels, choppers, scrapers, and knives.

The collection of artifacts was donated to the Burke Museum in autumn 2006 by archaeologist Dr. Astrida Blukis Onat. Since then, museum staff and students have worked to ensure the safety of these objects and their long-term preservation.

This exhibit will examine the basketry objects more closely by looking at their origins on the Snoqualmie River, their excavation, weaving techniques, and the newest chapter in their lives as part of the archaeology collections at the Burke Museum.

Biderbost field crew member Dr. David Rice discusses the history of the site
Video by Allison Deep

nwc map
Map of some archaeological wet sites discovered in the Pacific Northwest