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15 August 2003
10,000-year-old weapons found in Canada

The discovery in the Lac Mégantic region (Canada) of three fragments of spearheads, believed to be more than 10,000 years old, is being hailed as a major find. The artifacts are said to be the first evidence of human habitation in Quebec after glaciers receded and the ice age ended some 12,000 years ago. They are from fluted spearheads typical of weapons used in the early Paleo-Indian period, which existed from 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.
     The fragments are of the Clovis style, which was characteristic of weapons and tools of that era in several parts of North America. They were unearthed by an archeological team led by anthropology professor Claude Chapdelaine, of the Université de Montréal, on a wooded lot near Lac des Araignées, southeast of Lac Mégantic, 250 kilometres east of Montreal.
     He identified the site eight years ago as a promising area because it had been an old exit for melting water during deglaciation toward the Atlantic seaboard, making it ideal for caribou herds after the stabilization of the water levels. The herds usually attracted human hunters. This is the first such discovery in Quebec, although similar findings have occurred in Maine, New Hampshire, Nova Scotia and Ontario.
     Chapdelaine expects the find will encourage other Quebec archeologists to explore more promising sites in the province. Photographer Robert Galbraith, an amateur archeologist who has been searching for Paleo-Indian sites during 20 years of collecting artifacts, was thrilled at the find. "At that time, this was a tundra-arctic environment, and you'd have the caribou and the arctic wolf, boreal and tundra-type species that native people would hunt with spears," Galbraith said. "This is a pre-bow-and-arrow era - a time when people used spears and rocks. Thrilling."

Source: Montreal Gazette (14 August 2003)

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