"Bertha" Tunnel Machine Confronts Native History In Seattle


The world’s largest tunnel boring machine, nicknamed “Bertha”, has been stalled for weeks due to mechanical issues. Before it can be restarted, “new” cultural issues must also be resolved. Ancient Native American artifacts could lie in the shaft contractors need to dig to repair the broken machine that is digging the highway tunnel under the waterfront area of downtown Seattle. The Washington State Department of Transportation's cultural resources manager says workers have started using exploratory probes to determine if archaeological work is needed. The shaft will be dug through an area along the Seattle waterfront, which is part of the ancestral lands of local Native American Tribes. The Department's deputy administrator says contractors hope to have a plan soon for the 120-foot shaft, and how any archaeological finds will be handled.

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