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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, 10:21:13 pm »

“The subalpine meadows, if you were interested in eating in the summer, they were the place to be,” Burtchard said.

The site also is near ridges that lead up and around the mountain. The ridges served as streets for Indians, allowing them to move up and around the mountain to hunt for elk, mountain beaver, bear, grouse, mountain goats and marmots.

“The ridges made it easy to carry animals back to the site,” Burtchard said. “This was possibly a base camp, maybe a mixed age- and gender-group setting, based on the volume and type of tools we found.”

Not every site was a base camp. Burtchard believes a site near Sunrise was used to process game, because they have found more tools for cutting and scrapping rather than projectile points.

“At a base camp setting you would expect a wider variety of tools,” he said.

As he traces the site’s evolution, Burtchard said it is likely the earliest Indians, those living in the area 10,000 to about 4,500 years ago, were more nomadic rather than settling along the mountain’s salmon-bearing rivers.

“They didn’t need to because they didn’t have that many people to feed. So they could travel around the region, moving as the resources allowed,” he said. “Later, when populations get high, they had to look for food sources that could be mass harvested, which is salmon.”

Even then, Buck Lake was used by generations of Indians.

“At Buck Lake, we have the early use,” Burtchard said, “but at 4,500 years ago that use increased until populations were reduced in the 1700s because of European diseases like smallpox, measles, whooping cough.”
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