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10,000-Year-Old Stone Tools Unearthed in Seattle: What These Reveal About Ancient Humans

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Archaeologists, who were originally assigned on a salmon-restoration mission, were able to unearth stone tools near Seattle that are said to be about 10,000 years old.

Through these discoveries in the Bear Creek site located in Redmond, Washington, more details about humans' inhabitancy, survival and technology in the ancient times, particularly during the latter part of the Pleistocene Holocene changeover, may be revealed.

The period when the stone tools were developed is probably during the last stages of the Ice Age, when mammoths and ancient bison were still wandering around the modern western Washington of today.

This suggests that the shores around the creek may have been occupied by small assemblies of people, who were then creating and fixing stone tools, said Robert Kopperl, leader of the investigation, from the SWCA Environmental Consultants.

In the 1960s, excavation projects had also been performed in the south part of the Bear Creek, which is now known as the Marymoor Park. Findings of the analysis revealed that it had been inhabited by humans some 5,000 years ago.

As a matter of fact, the bodies of water in the area appear to have been used by the early Native American settlers in a manner similar to how it is being utlilized at present, said Allyson Brooks, from the Washington State Historic Preservation Office. These discoveries, from different periods, show that the very landscapes used by the people in the past are still the same locations that people of today use.

Experts performed a chemical analysis of one of the stone tools recovered and found it to have traces of food, which the ancient humans may have eaten. These include traces of salmon, deer, bison, sheep and bear.

"This was a very good place to have a camp," Kopperl said. According to him, this area may have been used as a primary location for fishing and hunting activities, as well as for collating and creating stone tools.

Experts also found a piece of salmon bone, which proves that the emblematic fish of the northwest was able to find its way to the local waters for about 10,000 years. Since the project was originally driven by a salmon-restoration objective, the efforts came full circle, commented Kopperl.

Discoveries about ancient technology were also highlighted in the project. One of the interesting finds is the construction details of the bottom of two spear points. Experts found that, instead of the typical Clovis technique of toolmaking, the early crafters used concave bases, which are quite rare. With this, Kopperl suggested that the people may have used a toolmaking method that was not yet well understood.

After the analysis, experts will be handing the artifacts to the Muckleshoot Tribe for validation. As for public display efforts, no immediate plans have been raised yet.

Photo: The Turducken | Flickr

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