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27 July 2015
4,000-year-old structure found in Ohio

A team led by Brian Redmond of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History is excavating a 4,000-year-old site in northeastern Ohio.
     So far, they have uncovered a 75-millimetre-thick floor made from layers of yellow clay that was carried to the site. A basin was built into the floor, along with cooking pits and storage holes that held hickory nuts. Post holes show where hickory saplings were placed and then tied together to create a framework covered with cat-tail (marsh reed) mats.
     Redmond thinks people migrated to the area from the southeast to spend the autumn and winter for a period of some 200 to 300 years. "There's nothing like this anywhere in Ohio. It's very significant, a much more significant site than we previously thought. These are house structures. This was like a village site."
     The builders lived in what archaeologists classify as the Late Archaic period in North America, so far back that they don't have a tribal name. "We have no idea what they called themselves or what language they spoke," Redmond says. "The only reason we know anything about them is archaeology."
     They were hunters and gatherers who lived before the advent of pottery or farming, and 2,000 years before mound-building. They ate fish from the nearby Black River and Lake Erie, small game such as squirrels and muskrat, and they specialised in deer. "We find a lot of butchered deer bones," Redmond reveals.
     Farmers ploughed up arrowheads and other artefacts on the land over the years, and smaller digs explored the site as far back as 1971.

Edited from Cleveland.com, Archaeology Magazine (14 July 2015)

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