Lenore and Hasotino History


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 nimí·pu· (Nez Perce) 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.

A grassy hillside on a sunny day.
The Hasotino Village Site is located in Hells Gate State Park.

National Park Service

Hasotino Village Site

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.

Last updated: February 10, 2018

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Mailing Address:

Nez Perce National Historical Park
39063 US Hwy 95

Lapwai, ID 83540-9715


(208) 843-7009

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