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Archaeologist Talks About Oregon's Early Natives
The World Link ^ | 4-12-2004 | Daniel Schreiber

Posted on 04/13/2004 4:52:32 PM PDT by blam

Page Updated: Monday, April 12, 2004 1:28 PM PDT

Archaeologist talks about Oregon's early natives

Dr. Dennis Jenkins believes the entire Sumner Lake Basin was once filled with water up to state Highway 31. Contributed Photo

By Daniel Schreiber, Staff Writer

Were humans present 12,000 years ago in the Great Basin region of Oregon when buffalo, non-Spanish horses and even camels roamed the landscape?

This, the central question of University of Oregon archaeologist Dennis Jenkins' series of digs, is what researchers have been trying to determine since the 1930s.

In 1938, Luther Cressman, the first to explore the region, discovered preserved 9,000-year-old shredded sage sandals at Fort Rock Cave in south central Oregon. Until radiocarbon dating verified his find, his belief was that humans had occupied the area a maximum of 4,000 years ago.

On the heels of that research, Jenkins has uncovered evidence from Paisley Caves, a 5-mile ridge near the Summer Lake Basin about 100 miles from Cressman's sandal discovery, suggesting humans existed even earlier in the region. According to Jenkins, this prehistoric community used complex hunting and domestic tools to establish sustainable living.

He presented his findings Saturday in the Myrtlewood Room of the Coos Bay Public Library, where 25 people turned up to hear him state his case.

"Cressman believed to death that whoever lived out in the Oregon desert were basket weavers," Jenkins said. "He thought that they could not live there without this technology to transport water and food."

According to Jenkins, this technology existed no more than 3,000 to 4,000 years ago, hence Cressman's belief. But because Crater Lake and probably other water basins were formed by the eruption of Mount Mazama 5,000 to 10,000 years ago, and archaeological digs have revealed evidence of human life below that distinct level of ash strata, Jenkins believes that humans could have survived in an earlier climate, with large grazing mammals and lush vegetation.

Jenkins believes that the caves were formed after the water level of Summer Lake gradually dropped and wave action formed the remaining Paisley Caves, consisting primarily of basalt after the waves drew softer rock away from the ridge. In these caves, Jenkins found both human artifacts and animal bones radiocarbon dated to the same time period, 12,000 to 14,000 years ago.

Jenkins also found evidence of hearths, holes for fire, in the caves. He found evidence of hearth smoke in a strata level below the Mount Mazama ash level.

"This tells me that no hearth existed after the volcanic eruption," he said.

Jenkins theorizes there was a wet period in the Great Basin 12,000 years ago and this is what allowed human and animal life to flourish in the region. But what was the interaction between humans and animals?

Jenkins said his research suggests the animal species became extinct abruptly and that was a result of the cave dwellers' hunting. Bones with sharp slaughter marks were found in the caves near human artifacts.

"With our (human) brains and adaptability, we would eat anything that doesn't kill us," he said.

Further evidence of an advanced human species came on a 2003 dig when one of Jenkins' team found a small piece of string with separated fibers twisted back together. The string, made of what Jenkins believes to be Indian hemp, was radiocarbon dated to 12,750 years ago and remains the oldest artifact ever to be found in the Great Basin.

"It looks like it could have been made right here in town," Jenkins said.

Jenkins' findings tend to prove his theories of prehistoric life in Oregon but he is still searching for further evidence with help from DNA analysis at Oxford University in England.

"I need to find a camel who was stabbed in the eye, survived, and the bone grew around the weapon, leaving no question that man and these animals existed here simultaneously," he said.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: archaeologist; early; godsgravesglyphs; natives; oregons; talks
Probably relatives of Kennewick Man and Spirit Cave Man.
1 posted on 04/13/2004 4:52:33 PM PDT by blam
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To: farmfriend
Ping.
2 posted on 04/13/2004 4:53:10 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
"I need to find a camel who was stabbed in the eye, survived, and the bone grew around the weapon, leaving no question that man and these animals existed here simultaneously," he said.

What an odd image.

3 posted on 04/13/2004 4:59:35 PM PDT by EggsAckley (......."Can't ya see what's happening...?" James Stewart, "It's a Wonderful Life"........)
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To: blam; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; A.J.Armitage; abner; adam_az; AdmSmith; Alas Babylon!; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.
Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.
4 posted on 04/13/2004 5:21:09 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: EggsAckley
"What an odd image."

Kennewick Man had an arrow head stuck in his hip bone that had bone growing around it. It would have been ulcerated and oozing all the time, ugh.

5 posted on 04/13/2004 6:04:13 PM PDT by blam
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To: EggsAckley
I hope that the picture caption about the water level coming up to the road is a reporters idea and not the speakers. The old wave cut terraces are way above the highway which finally crosses them at the top of the picture (north) as the road climbs to Picture Rock Pass.
6 posted on 04/13/2004 6:07:43 PM PDT by lobo59
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To: blam
Ah, I didn't know that. Thanks.
7 posted on 04/13/2004 6:15:12 PM PDT by EggsAckley (......."Can't ya see what's happening...?" James Stewart, "It's a Wonderful Life"........)
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To: blam
...and they were Caucasuian, had Red Hair, Green eys and wore Tartans!
8 posted on 04/19/2004 12:15:04 PM PDT by Henchman (I Hench, therefore I am!)
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To: Henchman
"...and they were Caucasuian, had Red Hair, Green eys and wore Tartans!"

Who Knows, could be

Who Were The Si-Te-Cah?

9 posted on 04/19/2004 12:24:14 PM PDT by blam
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To: blam
Came across this the other day in a different FR thread. Wonder what the deal was with Leo Weiner and his 1920 book? Muslims sure seem to be latching onto it. Pre-Columbian Muslim Americas
10 posted on 04/19/2004 1:16:59 PM PDT by fso301
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To: fso301
Don't know. I would not bet suprised at all if the Muslims weren't in the Americas, early. Looks like just about everyone else was.
I saw an interesting article the other day claiming Hindus were in South America also. That wouldn't suprise me either.
There's a Roman era ship wreck off the coast of Brazil. Roman amphora hsa been recovered from the wreck.
11 posted on 04/19/2004 6:56:02 PM PDT by blam
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Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
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12 posted on 04/25/2008 8:19:33 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_____________________Profile updated Saturday, March 29, 2008)
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To: SunkenCiv

Hmmmm. 2008 bump?


13 posted on 04/25/2008 8:35:11 PM PDT by blam (Secure the border and enforce the law)
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To: blam

:’) Renfield sent a new link to a update to another topic mentioning Dennis what’s his name. :’) Found this with Google, and noticed there wasn’t anything current.


14 posted on 04/25/2008 9:04:55 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/_____________________Profile updated Saturday, March 29, 2008)
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