In the summer of 1977, while operating a backhoe to dig a front yard pond, Sequim resident Emanuel Manis literally uncovered one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in history. There, in his would-be pond, lay the skeletal remains of a mastodon that roamed this area some 13,800 years ago.
In addition to two large mastodon tusks and other bones, the Manis Mastodon site in Happy Valley presented archaeologists with direct evidence and momentous clues about the time period. Such finds include several artifacts that suggest the Northern Olympic Peninsula was inhabited by people at least 4,000 years earlier than previously thought and, what's more, that they hunted mastodons.
Now some 30-plus years and numerous professionally-orchestrated archaeological digs later, the Manis Mastodon site remains a highly valuable resource. Having been entered into the National Register of Historic Places on March 21, 1978, the property was donated by Clare Manis to the Archaeological Conservancy in Emanuel's memory in August 2002.
Visit the MAC Exhibit Center to see actual bones from the Manis Mastodon and to learn more about Emanuel Manis and his historic discovery. Visitors can also watch a video about the Manis archaeological digs that is narrated by him.
Visit our Online Gallery to see photographs of the Manis Mastodon archaeological digs, taken by Clare Manis. Photos are also on exhibit at the Exhibit Center.
For information about fossil exhibits at other museums and educational insitutions throughout Washington state, explore the Burke Museum's Cruisin' the Fossil Freeway traveling exhibit website by clicking on the map below.
Sources: The Manis Mastodon Site: An Adventure in Prehistory by Carl E. Gustafson, Ph.D., with Clare Manis (©2003).