A team of researchers from the Texas A&M University have found the oldest bone projectile point in the Americas.
The projectile point is made from bone and dates from 13,900-years-ago, predating other projectile points found to be associated with the Clovis people by 900 years.
The team were studying bone fragments embedded in a mastodon rib bone, previously excavated by archaeologists at the Manis site in Washington state from between 1977 to 1979.
A study, published in the journal Science Advances, conducted a CT scan and 3D models on the bone fragments, revealing the tip of a projectile point made from the bone of a Mastodon from the extinct genus Mammut.
Image Credit : Centre for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University
Mastodons inhabited North and Central America during the late Miocene or late Pliocene, until their extinction at the end of the Pleistocene 10,000 to 11,000 years ago. Modern reconstructions based on partial and skeletal remains suggest that mastodons were very similar in appearance to elephants and, to a lesser degree, mammoths, though not closely related to either one.
Dr. Michael Waters, Director of Texas A&M’s Centre for the Study of First Americans said: “We isolated the bone fragments, printed them out and assembled them,” Waters said. “This clearly showed this was the tip of a bone projectile point. This is this the oldest bone projectile point in the Americas and represents the oldest direct evidence of mastodon hunting in the Americas.”
“What is important about Manis is that it’s the first and only bone tool that dates older than Clovis. At the other pre-Clovis site, only stone tools are found. This shows that the First Americans made and used bone weapons and likely other types of bone tools,” added Waters.
The projectile point is made from a mastodon’s leg bone and was intentionally shaped into a projectile point form. When it was thrown, the hunter’s intention was to get between the ribs and impair lung function, however, the hunter missed and it became lodged in the mastodon’s rib.
Not much is known about the people who used the Manis spear point other than they were some of the first Indigenous people to enter the Americas.
“It is looking like the first people that came to the Americas arrived by boat,” said Waters. “They took a coastal route along the North Pacific and moved south. They eventually got past the ice sheets that covered Canada and made landfall in the Pacific Northwest.”
“It is interesting to note that in Idaho there is the 16,000-years-old Coopers Ferry site, in Oregon is the 14,100-year-old site of Paisley Caves. And here we report on the 13,900-year-old Manis site. So there appears to be a cluster of early sites in the Northwestern part of the United States that date from 16,000 to 14,000 years ago that predate Clovis. These sites likely represent the first people and their descendants that entered the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age.”
Header Image Credit : Centre for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University
This content was originally published on www.heritagedaily.com – © 2023 – HeritageDaily
Early medieval carved stone of a warrior figure found in Glasgow
Archaeologists excavating the grounds of Govan Old Church in Glasgow, England, have discovered an early medieval carved stone figure dubbed the “Govan Warrior”.
Govan Old Church is the home of the Govan Stone Museum, a collection of early medieval and Viking-Age sculptures found in the grounds, including 30 sculptures from a lost kingdom of Old Welsh-speaking Britons known as the Ystrad Clud who dominated the Clyde valley from the 5th to 11th centuries AD.
Excavations have been conducted by the University of Glasgow and Clyde Archaeology, in which a carved stone of a warrior was uncovered during a community fun day organised as part of the Glasgow Doors Open Days Festival.
The carved stone depicts a man standing side on and carrying a round shield and a shaft. According to the researchers, the discovery dates from around 1,000-years-ago and is unlike any of the other carved stones found at Govan Old.
According to a press statement by the University of Glasgow: “The Govan Warrior is unique within the existing collection due to its stylistic characteristics, which has drawn parallels with Pictish art and carvings from the Isle of Man. Unlike the other stones in the Govan collection, whose chunky style of carving is so distinctive that it has been described as a school of carving in its own right (the ‘Govan School’), the Govan Warrior is lightly incised, which may bring parallels with famous Pictish stones like the Rhynie Man from Aberdeenshire.”
Professor Stephen Driscoll said: “It’s a style that makes us think both about the Pictish world and also about the Isle of Man and it’s interesting that we are halfway between these two places. Govan is the ideal place for these two artistic traditions or styles to come together.”
Header Image Credit : Govan Heritage Trust
Iron Age port discovered on Baltic Sea island of Gotska Sandön
An excavation project, in collaboration with archaeologists from Södertörn University, Uppsala University’s Campus Gotland, Gotland Museum, and the Swedish National Heritage Board, has led to the discovery of an Iron Age port on Gotska Sandön.
Gotska Sandön is an island and national park in Sweden’s Gotland County, situated 24 miles north of Faro in the Baltic Sea.
Earlier in 2023, archaeologists found two 2,000-year-old Roman coins on one of the island’s beaches. Both coins are made of silver, with one coin dating from AD 98-117 during the reign of Emperor Trajan, and the other coin dating from AD 138-161 during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius
In the latest excavations, archaeologists have now discovered evidence of twenty hearths on the same beach as the Roman coins discovery.
According to Johan Rönnby, a professor of marine archaeology at Södertörn University, the site is an Iron Age port, not in the sense of quays we imply in the modern era, but instead a place where Iron Age people regularly landed their boats and formed an encampment.
Although the purpose of the encampment is speculated, the researchers suggest that it may have been linked to an emerging seal hunting industry.
“Seal hunters may have come from the island of Gotland and landed on Sandön to boil seal blubber. This could have been what the hearths were used for, but we don’t yet know – there may be other reasons why the site looks like it does, such as it being a trading post,” said Rönnby.
Excavations and carbon-14 dating of one of the hearths has indicated that they also date from 2,000-years-ago, suggesting a possible link between the encampment and the Roman coins.
Header Image Credit : idw
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