Skip to comments.Mammoth remains discovered near Castroville
Posted on 03/25/2011 4:00:12 AM PDT by csvset
The bones of a juvenile Ice Age Columbian mammoth have been found in a field near Castroville, the first discovery of its kind in Monterey County.
The remains were uncovered by earthmoving equipment in December, said Mark Hylkema, Santa Cruz District archaeologist for the state Department of Parks.
The precise location of the find is being kept under wraps to discourage souvenir hunters from damaging, looting or contaminating the site.
Hylkema has specialized in the study of Native American culture on the Central Coast.
He is recommending that a controlled excavation of the site be done "with a particular goal of looking for evidence of archaic Native American butchering or burning" in the event that the elephant-like creature was brought down by Ice Age hunters.
The equipment operator, Martin Jefferson, was clearing land to expand a field for agricultural tillage when his tractor blade scraped against what appeared to be a large tusk, Hylkema said, and recognized the bones as similar to that of a mammoth.
Other bone and ivory fragments included a large molar-like tooth which Jefferson removed from the clay, Hylkema said, and he then notified the property owners who called state parks Ranger Nel Lyons, who in turn reported the find to Hylkema.
Hylkema, along with field assistants Dawn Johnson and Jorge Aguilar, visited the site Dec. 14 and found more remains. Hylkema described teeth, tusks and bones as still porous and in good condition.
"There were three types of bone conditions noted," Hylkema reported. "Fragments of ivory tusk, regular looking bone fragments and some that were discolored as though charred or lithified."
If the bones are charred, he said, it could indicate human association with the remains. Some bone fragments were taken for radiometric tests to determine how old they are.
Ancient Native Americans had specialized tools heavy spears tipped with points designed to penetrate and bleed out large mammals and f inding such an artifact would indicate the Castroville mammoth was hunted and killed for food. So far, he said, no human artifacts have been found at the site.
The soil level and composition in which they were found indicates that the mammoth died 10,000 to 25,000 years ago, Hylkema said.
Many such finds are discovered on privately owned farmland when soil is worked, he said, and archaeologists depend on the generosity and hospitality of farmers for access to the sites.
Mammoths roamed North America for more than 1 million years and died out about 10,000 years ago, Hylkema said, about the time the first humans began populating the continent.
Meanwhile, he said, "the mystery is bigger than the reality" at the site. There is no complete skeleton to see, just scattered pieces of bone, tooth and tusk. The dig is an unfunded, volunteer effort in "one of the most challenging expeditions I've ever done,"
Says it's a tooth. Looks like bacon strips.
Break out the Helen Thomas pics....
The last thing one wants to do when encountering such a find is contact any government mechanism.
At least until you are done and gone from the site.
No one knows about that site to this day, except me and Bo.
We took several broken points and a wood hook.
It was a trash heap of oyster shells 6 foot deep covering a hundred square yards. It was three feet down, so we considered it colonial era.
The Mayor of Castroville was quoted as saying "You bet! Once we discover a mammoth around here, it REMAINS discovered!"
“The bones of a juvenile Ice Age Columbian mammoth..”
So how do they know what country he was from? Did they find drugs too?
Shell middens have been found all along the east coast. It could represent the spot where for many years (centuries?) an Indian tribe made their winter camp. Cool find.
I always went for the BBQ at the Texan.
How long before it is undiscovered?
“...about 10,000 years ago, Hylkema said, about the time the first humans began populating the continent.”
There is abundant evidence that humans had been populating the continent long before 10,000 years ago. The Cactus Hill site in Virginia might be twice as old as Clovis. Generally accepted theories today regarding the peopling of North America is where geology was in the 1950s - before the commonly accepted concepts of plate tectonics and continental drift.
“Mammoth remains discovered near Castroville”
Michael Moore’s ancestral home?