|10 January 2004
Dig finds in Kansas could be thousands of years old
Discarded mussel shells and charcoal chunks uncovered this fall by scientists working near Dexterís Grouse Creek (Kansas, U.S.A.) could prove to be thousands of years old, according to a state archaeologist. "The experts thought that the site was fairly old, from the Archaic Period ó a few thousand years BCE,Ē said Martha King, archaeologist for the Kansas Department of Transportationís environmental services section.
In October about a dozen archaeologists from the Marion, Iowa-based Louis Berger Group dug two meters (about six feet) deep in a corn field north of Dexter. Soil samples they recovered from the site ó located about 100 yards from the banks of Grouse Creek ó turned up shell middens (small refuse pockets), burnt rock and charcoal from ancient hearths, biface tools and bone. Biface tools are fashioned out of stone and worked on both sides. No human remains were uncovered, but the team did find what they think are deer, bison, fish, turtle, rabbit bones. Post molds which could have held wooden posts for prehistoric houses were also found.
Archaeologists believe that because of the depth at which many of the items were discovered, this land could be the site of homes for Archaic populations, people who lived 4,000 years ago. They also speculate that later tribes lived there, too. "In the Archaic period, we donít really know who those people wer. Once you get back a certain time period, it is hard to know who was related to whom,Ē King said.
Although fascinating, itís unlikely the Dexter site will be preserved or formally listed on the Kansas State Historical Register. The site will be documented so that scientists and students will have access to the information that was found. Because the archaeological findings were of a small nature, itís also doubtful the artifacts will end up in a museum for public view.
Source: Winfield Courier (2 January 2004)
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