Current topics in archaeology, cultural heritage & historic preservation

Friday, November 6, 2009

America's Oldest Artifact: Another First for Paisley Cave

Dr. Dennis Jenkins and the team working at Paisley Cave in Oregon can now claim to have found the oldest known artifact in the Americas.

The tool is a bone scrapper that has been definitively radiocarbon dated at 14, 230 years, significantly older than previously found Clovis artifacts (12,900-12,400 years BP).

In an article published by Nature News Kevin Smith, who actually found the tool, says, "We had bumped into a lot of extinct horse, bison and camel bone – then I heard and felt the familiar ring and feel when trowel hits bone". Smith now a master's student at California State University, Los Angeles went on to say, "I switched to a brush. Soon this huge bone emerged, then I saw the serrated edge. I stepped back and said: 'Hey everybody — we got something here."

Is this the final nail in the Clovis First coffin... or were these people Clovis themselves?...only time and more research will tell.

To be fair, other sites including Monte Verde, Cactus Hill, Meadowcroft, and Topper might also lay claim to the "oldest artifact" title.

Read more about the Paisley Cave discovery at:
Nature News
Little About

More about other very ancient sites in the Americas:
Monte Verde
Cactus Hill

(photo courtesy of

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