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Artifacts from the Cascades give scientists a window 9,600 years ago

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Author Topic: Artifacts from the Cascades give scientists a window 9,600 years ago  (Read 601 times)
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« on: November 16, 2009, 10:19:48 pm »

For years, people believed prehistoric Indians lived in lowland areas. The argument was that the elevation, unpredictable weather and rugged terrain made places such as Mount Rainier a poor option for food-gathering and settlement, Burtchard said.

But these sites are helping researchers refine theories on where, when and why Indians traveled through the mountains.

Among the discoveries at the two sites – both about 5,400 feet in elevation – are small stone blades used to make knives, sharp-edge stones used to scrape animal hides, projectile points, stones from fire rings, and animal bones and teeth.

“One of the big misconceptions is people don’t realize there were Native American populations moving around in the highlands,” said Bradford Andrews, visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Pacific Lutheran University. “Wherever there are people today, there were people in the past. Although today it’s more recreational, in the past they were more worried about finding food to eat.”

“It really broadens our understanding of human use of the mountain quite a bit,” Randy King, acting superintendent at Mount Rainier, said of the discoveries.

“I think there is a fundamental need to understand people have been part of this landscape for a long, long time,” King said. “You can go to when this park was started in 1899 and think that is the start of the human connection, but it isn’t.”
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