Wednesday, August 1, 2007

I'm Digging It!

Okay ... I am not personally digging it, but 11 archaeologists from the University of Vermont Consulting Archaeology Program have spent the last two weeks excavating an area at the entrance to Okemo's Jackson Gore and they have come to a conclusion that Paleoindian nomads who roamed the area 11,000 years ago, returned to this spot repeatedly over the course of a decade or more. In addition to thousands of pieces of spear tip fragments, the group found two in-tact spear points!

In the course of planning a new nine-hole golf course at Jackson Gore, Okemo Mountain Resort has underwritten excavation of an area, first identified as a Paleoindian artifact site in 1999.

Paleoindians were the first Native Americans to appear in North America about 500 years after the glaciers receded. They are thought to have been a nomadic people who traveled in small extended family groups. Evidence shows they were superb at stone tool manufacturing, but preferred to make their spear heads (this was prior to the invention of bows and arrows) of stone indigenous to areas now known as northern Maine and Pennsylvania.

The big mystery is - how did the stone from so far away end up at Jackson Gore - through trade or did the natives travel that extensively in their nomadic lifestyles?

Okemo’s Jackson Gore seems like an unlikely place to find evidence of a people who appear to have preferred high, sandy terraces and large river valleys, according to Project Supervisor Jess Robinson. “This must have been an exceptional place,” he said, “one of fine east/west access or perhaps an established travel corridor for game and hence, natives."

It was pretty cool to touch, and hold in my hands, stone tools crafted 11,000 years ago by people visiting this area. Cheers!

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