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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, 10:22:26 pm »


It takes a practiced eye to realize the value of the items found at Buck Lake and other archaeological sites on the mountain. The vast majority of the nearly 20,000 Buck Lake artifacts are not flashy museum pieces. Most is debitage, the rocky chips and flakes left over when creating stone tools.

“The problem is when people see the Christmas tree shaped stone of an arrow point, it goes into their pocket 99 out of 100 times,” Burtchard said.

While it might not look like much, that debris still tells an important story.

“That tells us how the stone tools were made, where the stone was coming from. That tells us how far they moved around or who they traded with,” Andrews said. He studied the Buck Lake artifacts with the PLU team for three years. Andrews is trying to detect any changes in technology over time.

“That will help tell us how these people changed over time. Societies are never static. We can see that in our own society. Things changed in the past, albeit much slower,” Andrews said.

One thing that has surprised Andrews about the Buck Lake site has been the sheer volume of material discovered. He has been to two other sites on the mountain, and they contain maybe 5 percent of what has been found at Buck Lake.

Andrews has focused his research on projectile points, including atlatl, or spear-throwers, and arrow points, plus two-edged tools used for chopping, tools used for scraping hides and processing plant foods. They are made from material such as flint and obsidian.
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