Vehicular Archaeology II: Update and Additions
Once again we venture into the field (pun intended) of historical archaeology for some interesting automotive tidbits. This post gives some updates on the previous post as well as a couple of new items for your edification and amusement -- and hopefully some information input. That previous post proved quite valuable as many of the cars have been identified to a good series of years, giving us at least a baseline for the time that they were put there, always a valuable commodity for archaeologists. Also in the meantime I found out a bit more about the car dump along the river bank which I will pass along.
I also have a new site which, sadly, I had only a couple of minutes to snap a few photos of, so I am hoping for some reader input on the make, model, and year, although that might be tricky given the limited set of photographs.
And for the pièce de résistance one utterly Car Lustable example that will surely send certain auto-hearts to twitterpating.
Again, this is all from an unidentified area of eastern Washington state, although at least one photo and link will give the general location away.
And that's not all. The local community is well acquainted with the feature and at least one element of it that I found quite odd -- and a little intriguing -- had to do with this photograph:
Note the odd-shaped bit cut out of the hood. It was useful in that it allowed me to see that the engine was still in place, but it was obviously purposefully cut out, rather than some sort of natural rusting-out process. Well, if you look at it just right it is. . . . .
It is, in fact, in the shape of a fish; a salmon to be exact. A couple of local artists had cut salmon shapes out of some of the cars and sold them at a fundraiser for a local salmon recovery group. Hence, even many years later these vehicles are performing a useful function, apart from keeping the river at bay.
So, mystery largely solved. Technically, since these vehicles are all over 50 years old, in the state of Washington this qualifies them as an actual archaeological site. Ordinarily, an archaeologist would then have to do a full site report on it and have it logged in at the state's Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation office (most states have a similar department and requirements); however, it was outside of our survey area so we just noted it and moved on. But it made a nice little foray into historical archaeology and I thank Car Lust readers for their input.
I also took a few photos of another decrepit vehicle near one of our survey areas. This one is also known around the area to one degree or other, and consists of a single vehicle now rusting away in a field. According to a couple of locals, it was the power source for a small lumber mill on the site, with a homestead close by (which is no longer visible). Unfortunately, it too was outside of our survey area and I only had a minute or two to take a few photos before moving on.
The locals described it as a Model T, but it really could be anything from the early part of last century. It's got wood spoked wheels which were last used around 1931-32, so at least we can date it to between about 1908 to 1931/2 or so (if it's a T), I would guess toward the low end of that range. I'll just post a series of photos to see if any readers can identify it any further. The photo at the top of this post is this vehicle as well:
Finally, nothing really to do with archaeology, but a pure Car Lust special:
Yes, friends, that is a purple 1977-78 Pontiac Trans Am police cruiser. I have no idea what it is used for -- I presume it's something of a PR vehicle -- but it's got to be one of the coolest police cars in existence.
Credits: All photos mine.