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Archaeo News 

21 September 2010
Site in Utah indicates 9,000 years of habitation

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 BCE, placing it in the Paleoarchaic era, and thousands of years earlier than the site was thought to have been inhabited. Later layers gave evidence of artifacts from other time periods and groups, including the Anasazi, Fremont and Paiute peoples.
     Joel Janetski, a retired 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 alos discovered. Interestingly, it was found that these ancient Utahns 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 sherds 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.
     Another intriguing find was that of a small human figurine, probably thousands of years old, now on display in the lobby of the Slot Canyons Inn. The inn shares the property with the site, which also has petroglypha and pictographs, to the fascination of guests and visitors.  Inn owner Joette Marie Rex claims she is just the most recent human to use the site, stating: "I'm one in a long line of people who has done cooking here."

Edited from The Salt Lake Tribune (6 September 2010)

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