Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Archaeologists have recently finished excavating one of the oldest inhabited sights in southern Utah (USA). The site, known as the North Creek Shelter Site, was first investigated in 2003. The dig commenced in earnest in 2004, under the auspices of Brigham Young University.

The lowest layer studied dated to 9,000 years BC, placing it in the Paleoarchaic era. Later layers gave evidence of artifacts from other time periods and groups, include the Anasazi, Fremont and Paiute peoples.

Joel Janetski, an emeritus archaeologist from BYU states that the site shows how the earliest Americans hunted such animals as elk, deer and bighorn sheep. There is also evidence for pottery making and agriculture. Metates (grinding stones) and other hand tools made from stone were also discovered. Interestingly, it was found that these ancients made a type of flour from the ground seeds of sagebrush and grasses.

North Creek Shelter Site also provided archaeologists with significant evidence of climate change around 10,000 years ago, as indicated by changes in the types of animal remains and plants. Pottery shards most likely indicate trade with the pre-Puebloan cultures of the 4 Corners area (the juncture of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado) to the east.

There are petroglyphs and pictographs at the site and a small human figurine has been found. The figurine is now on display in the lobby of the Slot Canyons Inn that shares the property with the site.

Edited from The Salt Lake Tribune (6 September 2010)
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