Interesting News from Idaho

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Interesting News from Idaho

Postby uniface » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:25 am

Eric Barker, The Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune wrote:COOPERS FERRY, Idaho (AP) – Archaeological digs along the lower Salmon and North Fork Clearwater rivers are expanding what scientists know about the prehistory of the Pacific Northwest and may help revolutionize what is known about the first people to inhabit North America.

To a large extent, that revolution already is under way. Recently published discoveries at Paisley Caves in south-central Oregon knocked holes into a long-held theory about the peopling of the New World.
And an excavation at Coopers Ferry, near Cottonwood along the lower Salmon River, and another dig near the confluence of Kelly Creek with the North Fork Clearwater River, may bolster a competing theory about who the first Americans were and teach us about the way they lived.

In 1997, Oregon State University archaeologist Loren Davis discovered a cache of stone tools at Coopers Ferry that, according to radio carbon dating, are more than 13,000 years old.

This summer, and in future years, he and his students are expanding the site, which probably was a seasonal village, and looking for more artifacts. As they slowly work their way down through time and layers of earth, they hope to confirm the site holds clues that are among the oldest evidence of humans on the continent.

Items in the cache included projectile points, tools for making stone points and raw materials for making the tools.

“Sometimes, we talk about it in terms of ... an equipment locker somebody basically put in the ground, and they could come back and open it up and use it,” Davis said. “To be able to envision the use of the landscape from this place through the kinds of tools and features we see in the ground, that is exciting.

“If ultimately, the bottom part of the site ends up being 13,000 calendar years old or older, it will be as important as Paisley, if not more important because Paisley Caves doesn’t have a lot of artifacts. It’s pretty lean on artifacts,” he said.

But Paisley has proved to be rich in important data. Davis is part of a team that meticulously documented human use at the site dating back more than 14,000 years.

They discovered fossilized human feces known as coprolites more than 14,300 years old and a different style of projectile points, known as Western stemmed points, that are nearly 13,000 years old. The dates are important because the coprolites are older than any Clovis points found on the continent. While the stone points are not as old, they represent a different technology than Clovis points.

A debated theory says the Clovis people crossed a land bridge between northeastern Asia and North America, and proceeded south from present-day Yukon to Alberta, Canada, and into Montana through a corridor between ice fields.

They made distinctive projectile points, which were first discovered near Clovis, N.M., and have since been found in many places east of the Rockies. According to the “Clovis First” theory, these people were the first on the continent, and the ancestors of all Native Americans.

Under that theory, all other styles of stone points descended from the Clovis tradition. But the evidence at Paisley, where Western stemmed points were discovered and no Clovis points were found, indicates otherwise.

“We keep digging holes in the landscape down to the time period that should contain Clovis and we can’t find any, so the question is where are they?” Davis asked. “Maybe we already found them and they are not Clovis peoples. They are Western stemmed peoples and they truly represent a different but contemporaneous tradition.”

Western stemmed points have been found throughout the Northwest and the style correlates closely but not exactly to a style of weapons made by early people in northeastern Asia. Dating them to 13,000 years ago represents another problem for the Clovis theory, Davis said. At that time, ice sheets would have blocked the theorized route of the Clovis, but the West Coast of the continent would have been free of ice.

“Clovis people may have indeed come down through the ice-free corridor, but later, and they may have encountered a population in the West that was already established and holding down ground.”

At Kelly Creek, University of Idaho archaeologist Lee Sappington unearthed stone tools ranging from 12,000 to just a few hundred years old.

“Where we got deep, we get dates in the range of (8,000, 10,000), 11,000 years and right down to contact with the gravel where the river used to be, right around 12,000 (years),” he said. “In the whole Clearwater drainage, the heart of Nez Perce country, the absolute oldest site is right there at the casino at Hatwai and – give or take 100 years – this is just as old, and it might be a little older.”

Artifacts uncovered include projectile points, stone knives and scrapers, fishing weights and tools called shaft abraders, which were used to make arrows and darts. The site probably was more of a camp than a village, but it was used over and over again for many generations.

“Based on our dates and the types of tools we are finding, people have been going to the site for the last 10,000 years, hunting and working on their tools,” said Laura Longstaff, a graduate student who worked on the dig and is writing a thesis about it. “We have a lot of debris that is left over from when they were flaking their tools, so they spent a lot of time there just working on their tools and making them.”

She will try to interpret the artifacts, when and where they were found, to paint a picture about the people who left them and how they lived. The dig uncovered tools made from a wide variety of sources, almost none of it local, which may speak to the distances people traveled to get there.

“We have sources from Montana, Oregon and southern Idaho, so it was definitely a known stopping place for people,” Longstaff said. “They communicated it to their children or to their friends or other bands or tribes, so it was kind of a place that was on the map.”

Many of the points and scraping tools have tested positive for animal protein, indicating they were used to kill or process game. Lab work indicates the people hunted small game like rabbits and large animals such as moose and bison.

The site is near the Kelly Forks Work Center, and the dig was funded by the U.S. Forest Service. Sappington said it’s unique because it is remote, most of it hasn’t been disturbed by past development and it is not going to be destroyed by something like a highway or a road.

Many times, development leads to archaeological discoveries and the sites are excavated quickly before the artifacts are destroyed. In this case, Sappington said what wasn’t uncovered will be preserved.

“We are trying to get as much as we can out of it,” he said. “It’s the oldest site on the North Fork, the artifact styles are the oldest, the radio carbon dates are the oldest, it’s way remote, so it’s an area we don’t know much about.”

http://durangoherald.com/article/201208 ... 99912/-1/s

Bill McAmus wrote:the author intentionally stated they haven’t seen Clovis at all among stemmed points that were Clovis age. Clovis just wasn’t there and it should have been among artifacts that were Clovis age. This has been obvious for quite a while to the Clovis Archaeologists.

Without doubt, Clovis is a much rarer in the West than it is in the South East. I don’t believe this is due to anything more than the reality that Clovis was an Eastern thing.

I had the privilege of talking to Dr. Dennis Stanford at least twenty years ago and we talked at length about Clovis origins and Eastern Clovis origins. I think it was right after he returned from studying Solutrean sites and artifacts in France. This must have been when he and Dr. Bruce Bradley began formulating their hypotheses which became Across Atlantic Ice.

Dr. Thom Stafford obtained a TSL date from The Topper Clovis level (on the hill above the PreClovis site) of 13,500 years ago. The archy-babe wrote about the Topper Clovis level in part of her dissertation. This isn’t the only one because there have been Tennessee Clovis sites that have also have produced 13,000 RCYBP dates.

I don’t believe you will only find 10,000 year old and younger Clovis dates in South America. Clovis headed that way late and I believe because there was no where to else to go by then. The North Eastern Asians were coming here in large numbers and were filling up the land fast.

I just don’t see a flow back anywhere because of the influx of the Northeastern Asians; there was no where else to go by then.

The density of Eastern Clovis points and sites in the East means everything and explains Clovis in North America.

The data and the archaeology points to the fact this is where Clovis happened because this is where the Solutreans settled. Clovis is actually a Solutrean and an Eastern thing.

http://www.prosbb.com/forum/index.php?topic=11056.0
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Re: Interesting News from Idaho

Postby E.P. Grondine » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:17 am

Hi uniface -

The "Clovis First" paradigm is dyng hard. And now we have a Spanish solutrean connection being put forth.

I just want to restate my opinion that Solutrean went to Africa, and from there to South America, where Clovis tech proper developed, and radiated north from there.

What I've learned is that it will take from 10 to 20 years for others to accept this.
Usually people believe what they want to believe until reality intrudes.
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Re: Interesting News from Idaho

Postby Minimalist » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:33 pm

The "Clovis First" paradigm is dyng hard.


One funeral at a time, as the late, lamented, Digit used to say.

Still, Stafford's hypothesis of an along the ice sheet crossing seems more reasonable than a detour to Africa but if the evidence ends up pointing that way the theory will have to change. That's science.

What I found refreshing was the matter-of-fact statement that Clovis was an Eastern thing not a western thing.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

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Re: Interesting News from Idaho

Postby Farpoint » Wed Sep 05, 2012 2:46 am

...more than 13,000 years old...


That would be calender years or approximately 10.9 RCYBP, the beginning of the YDC, the end of Clovis time, and a thousand years after Monte Verde, Swan Point, and Meadowcroft. Of course, the vague "more than" is what is of great interest, Paisley Cave and Manis sites. The Bolling-Allerod was a busy time. News reports generally will use calender years if they want to indicate older, BC if they want to indicate younger, and strangely BC years are roughly equal to RCYBP. Ahh well, it gives me something to do while reading.


[Errata, Dennis Stanford]
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Re: Interesting News from Idaho

Postby Farpoint » Wed Sep 05, 2012 5:46 am

To set the scene in the Northwest U.S. when people may have been arriving in the area, consider that deglaciation was still ongoing, the Pinedale glaciation at Yellowstone; after 16.5 calybp concluding 14 calybp, Licciardi et. al. 2001. Lake Bonneville catastrophically emptied through Redrock into the Snake River Plain 15k RCYBP (roughly 17kcalbp); Carter et. al. 2006, Malde, 1968; O’Connor,1993. Lake Missoula scabland floods as reported by Baker, "The late Pleistocene phase of flooding is currently considered to have occurred over a period of a few thousand years, centered 17,500 to 14,500 calendar years before present" (Baker 2008, Waitt 1985, Atwater 1986). So, did people arrive shortly after all the ground shaking ended or did they get to see and feel these events? It would seem that the Yellowstone ecotone would have been a great place to set up camp, yet I do not know of any early archaeological sites there, before 13kcalybp (please enlighten me if you know of any).
I'm sorry, my responses are limited. You must ask the right question.

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Re: Interesting News from Idaho

Postby Farpoint » Wed Sep 05, 2012 7:46 am

Well, maybe they did see it:

From:The sequence and timing of large late Pleistocene floods from glacial Lake Missoula; M. A. Hanson, et. al. 2012

Abstract

Glacial Lake Missoula formed when the Purcell Trench lobe of the Cordilleran ice sheet dammed Clark Fork River in Montana during the Fraser Glaciation (marine oxygen isotope stage 2). Over a period of several thousand years, the lake repeatedly filled and drained through its ice dam, and floodwaters coursed across the landscape in eastern Washington. In this paper, we describe the stratigraphy and sedimentology of a significant new section of fine-grained glacial Lake Missoula sediment and compare this section to a similar, previously described sequence of sediments at Ninemile Creek, 26 km to the northwest. The new exposure, which we informally term the rail line section, is located near Missoula, Montana, and exposes 29 units, each of which consists of many silt and clay couplets that we interpret to be varves. The deposits are similar to other fine-grained sediments attributed to glacial Lake Missoula. Similar varved sediments overlie gravelly flood deposits elsewhere in the glacial Lake Missoula basin. Each of the 29 units represents a period when the lake was deepening, and all units show evidence for substantial draining of glacial Lake Missoula that repeatedly exposed the lake floor. The evidence includes erosion and deformation of glaciolacustrine sediment that we interpret happened during draining of the lake, desiccation cracks that formed during exposure of the lake bottom, and fluvial sand deposited as the lake began to refill.

The floods date to between approximately 21.4 and 13.4 cal ka ago based on regional chronological data. The total number of varves at the rail line and Ninemile sites are, respectively, 732 and 583. Depending on lake refilling times, each exposure probably records 1350–1500 years of time. We present three new optical ages from the rail line and Ninemile sites that further limit the age of the floods. These ages, in calendar years, are 15.1 ± 0.6 ka at the base of the Ninemile exposure, and 14.8 ± 0.7 and 12.6 ± 0.6 ka midway through the rail line exposure. The sediment at the two sections was deposited during later stages of glacial Lake Missoula, after the largest outburst events.


They might have seen the last floods, though smaller at 14.8 and 12.6 cal ybp, which is within the timing of human presence.
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Re: Interesting News from Idaho

Postby E.P. Grondine » Fri Sep 07, 2012 9:09 am

Hi Farpoint -

It is likely that western bison survived the Holocene Start Impact Event at the Yellowstone "ecotone", and that explains why the eastern long horn bison died off, while the western bison survived that ELE.

As far as the occupation sequence at Yellowstone, you have to remember that C mt DNA spread to the southern tip of South America, indicating a land crossing during the ca. 50,000- 40,000 BCE opening of the gap through the ice sheet (Date very approximate.)

Now place the annual animal migrations during that period, find their salt licks and mucks along those paths, and perhaps you can find some sites. (Hint: there should be ground density differences which whould show up in aerial images of ground cover under stress.)

There's much more I'd like to tell you about the later populations and sites at the time of the HSIE, but I won't be able to do that for a while yet. (Months).

Not with points fetching $1,000 per inch among collectors, and the attitudes of the archaeological community towards Native Americans.
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