Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site History
Large bones were discovered along the western edge of Coyote Canyon during quarrying operations in 1999. Excavation of the area was halted and the site avoided once it was realized they were Mammtoth bones .
When the land went up for sale in 2007, the archeology department at Central Washington State University (CWU) was contacted to investigate this find and in May 2008, a survey conducted by CWU and Kamiakin High School students found evidence of additional remains. The prospect of a nearly complete Mammoth skeleton in Ice Age flood deposits inspired community volunteers to protect the site in order to allow it to be studied further.
Formal excavation of the site began in September, 2010. By the end of the 2016 dig season, a total of 97 mammoth bones and bone fragments had been recovered from the site. Radiocarbon dating of two samples suggest the mammoth is from about 17,450 years ago. Efforts are underway to clean, preserve, reassemble, and document the many mammoth bones.
Kadlec Regional Medical Center volunteers have created digital images of a number of the bones using CT scanners. This has allowed development of 3D computer models and the printing of 3D replicas of the mammoth bones that can be used for hands-on education.
Excavation of the site continues two weekends per month from March through October.
MCBONES Research Center Foundation
In September 2008, volunteers established the Mid-Columbia Basin Old Natural Education Sciences (MCBONES) Research Center Foundation as a non-profit corporation. The foundation is the product of a synergistic public-private-academic collaboration.
The overarching goal of the MCBONES Research Center Foundation is to see the Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site developed into a regional paleoenvironmental research center for K‐12 students, teachers, and community volunteers to actively participate in laboratory and field-based research in paleontology, geology, paleoecology, and other natural sciences.
The “Dig House”, which houses the MCBONES Research Center, contains an office, a multipurpose classroom, a laboratory, and a display area. Half of the building has also been transformed into the residence for the on-site caretaker.
The Dig House is also used for giving presentations of Dig Site history, research, and analytical results during Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site tours. The exhibit area has a number of specimens from the MCBONES comparative collection as well as posters and scientific articles about the research being conducted.
The MCBONES Dig House and Coyote Canyon Mammoth Site are generally open the second and third weekends of each month from March Through October, depending on weather and volunteer commitments.
The general public, school groups, civic groups, clubs, etc. may also visit the site on a scheduled tour. While there is no charge for scheduled tours, tax deductible donations are welcome and encouraged.
- Head north towards S. Clodfelter Rd. for about 0.5 miles.
- Turn right to head north on S. Clodfelter Rd. and proceed about 3 miles to the tee intersection with Bob Olson Parkway.
- Turn left on Bob Olson Parkway and proceed about a quarter mile to the roundabout where the road becomes S. Steptoe St.
- Proceed north for half a mile on S. Steptoe St. until you reach W. Clearwater Ave.
- At W. Clearwater Ave. turn right and in less than a quarter mile, Mid-Columbia Insurance will be on your right.
- Enter the parking entrance just beyond the office building and turn right to park in front of the building.