Lenore and Hasotino
Archeology allows scientists to peer into the past, drawing conclusions on the evidence that is uncovered from the deep past, Along the major river corridors, the Nimiipuu established permanent village sites. In the approximate location of the Lenore rest area on Hwy 12 was a Nez Perce village site.
When archeologists explored Lenore in the 1960s, they found remains of pit houses. As the name suggests, these were large pits that were covered with a log superstructure and then covered with soil. This method of construction kept the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. In some pit houses, there were areas to store food stuffs to sustain the occupants through the winter months.
National Park Service
For the past 50 years, archaeologists working in Nez Perce country have uncovered evidence that the Nez Perce have, in fact, been here a long time, perhaps close to 11,000 years. The river valleys that bisect Nez Perce country provided all of the necessities needed to survive - food, shelter, and water. As late as the 1870s, many of these sites continued to see activity with the coming and going of the seasons. The establishment of permanent villages, therefore, tended to be along river corridors. One of the largest villages on the Snake River was Hesutiin or Hasotino. The village was located near to an important Lamprey fishery which was considered a delicacy among the Nez Perce.
Today the site is managed by the Corps of Engineers and is accessible through Hells Gate State Park. There are trails that crisscross the area.
Did You Know?
The Nez Perce often travelled great distances to fish with family and friends. They fished as far away as present day Willamette Falls, near Oregon City as well as Celilo and Kettle Falls to the north.