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22 August 2011
Stone shelter in Colorado is probably 8,000 year-old

Archaeologists may have discovered evidence of people living in Colorado's Grand Valley 8,000 years ago. During a recent dig, researchers with the Dominguez Anthropological Research Group (DARG) uncovered a prehistoric stone shelter, north of Grand Junction, near the Bookcliffs (Colorado, USA).
     After nearly two years of background work and two months of in-ground work, DARG researchers say they made quite the find. "We found fire pits and storage features," said James Miller, research director for DARG. "We also collected all the lithic artifacts, or stone tools." The group says it also found remnants of posts where a wall would have gone. "The oldest one is about 8,000 years old," Miller said.
     The small stone shelter was likely built by a culture called the Foothills-Mountain people, who lived in North America 8,000 to 10,000 years ago. "Between the geology and the artifacts, we have a good idea of the age of the deposits right now," Miller said. Crews had to dig about 10 feet into the ground to uncover most of the artifacts they collected.
     Based on those items, experts believe the site was just a temporary shelter rather than a permanent home. "It was a place where smaller task groups, just a small segment of the population would go and stay for a few days or a week," Miller said. "In most cases, they'd collect vegetable foods and process them before transporting them back to the base camp."
     The group says it has sent about a dozen samples away for radiocarbon dating, and is doing further analysis to support their findings.

Edited from KPLCtv.com (20 August 2011)

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