|15 September 2011
Prehistoric clay disks found in Alaska
Four decorated clay disks have been discovered at a site in Alaska (USA), apparently the first artefacts of their type discovered in the state. The disks were found during a summer expedition in Noatak National Preserve, at a site where archeologists have for decades been studying lakefront pit dwellings that date back 1,000 years.
The disks are etched, and two of them have holes in the center. They were discovered when a team from the University of Alaska Museum at Fairbanks and the National Park Service traveled to the site in northwestern Alaska to make records of previously discovered prehistoric petroglyphs on boulders. Such prehistoric rock art is extremely rare in interior and northern Alaska, though common in the southwestern part of the United States and other regions.
The accidental discovery of the disks may lead to more such finds, said Scott Shirar, a research archeologist at the museum. "One of the exciting things is that we've only opened up a really small amount of ground at the site. So the fact that we've ... found four of these items, that indicates that there's probably a lot more there and there's something really significant happening at the site," Shirar says.
The age of the disks has yet to be determined and the site is located about 160 km northeast of the Inupiat Eskimo community of Kotzebue. Despite its harsh climate, the area has been inhabited for 11,000 years.
Edited from artDaily.org (13 September 2011)
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