고대 발사체 포인트

Cooper’s Ferry 현장, Space B의 구덩이 내부 및 외부에 묻혀 있는 돌 발사체 지점이 발견되었습니다. 출처: Courtesy Loren Davis

오리건주립대학교 고고학자들은 이전에 아메리카 대륙에서 발견된 어떤 것보다 수천 년 더 오래된 발사체 지점을 발견하여 아이다호에서 역사적인 발견을 했으며, 초기 인간 제작 및 석기 무기 사용의 역사를 밝힙니다.

고고학자들은 0.5인치에서 2인치 범위의 면도날처럼 날카로운 13개의 완전하고 파편화된 발사체 지점을 발견했습니다. 대략 15,700년 전으로 탄소 연대가 측정된 이 지점은 북미 전역에서 발견된 클로비스 홈이 파인 지점보다 3,000년 앞서고 이전에 아이다호의 Cooper’s Ferry 사이트에서 발견된 지점보다 2,300년 더 앞선 것입니다.

연구 결과는 최근 저널에 게재되었습니다. Overview of the Area B Excavations at the Cooper’s Ferry Site

Overview of the Area B excavations at the Cooper’s Ferry site in 2017. Credit: Courtesy Loren Davis

“From a scientific point of view, these discoveries add very important details about what the archaeological record of the earliest peoples of the Americas looks like,” said Loren Davis, an anthropology professor at OSU and head of the group that found the points. “It’s one thing to say, ‘We think that people were here in the Americas 16,000 years ago;’ it’s another thing to measure it by finding well-made artifacts they left behind.”

Previously, Davis and other researchers working the Cooper’s Ferry site had found simple flakes and pieces of bone that indicated human presence about 16,000 years ago. But the discovery of projectile points reveals new insights into the way the first Americans expressed complex thoughts through technology at that time, Davis said.

Stratigraphic Map of Cooper’s Ferry Site

Stratigraphic model of the Cooper’s Ferry site, showing the distribution of cultural features (e.g., fire hearths, pits), radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence ages, sediment layers, and buried soils as exposed by excavations in Area A and Area B. Credit: Courtesy Loren Davis

The Salmon River site where the points were found is on traditional Nez Perce land, known to the tribe as the ancient village of Nipéhe. The land is currently held in public ownership by the federal Bureau of Land Management.

The points are revelatory not just in their age, but in their similarity to projectile points found in Hokkaido, Japan, dating to 16,000-20,000 years ago, Davis said. Their presence in Idaho adds more detail to the hypothesis that there are early genetic and cultural connections between the ice age peoples of Northeast Asia and North America.

Cooper’s Ferry Locality

Overview of the Cooper’s Ferry site in the lower Salmon River canyon of western Idaho, USA. Credit: Courtesy Loren Davis

“The earliest peoples of North America possessed cultural knowledge that they used to survive and thrive over time. Some of this knowledge can be seen in the way people made stone tools, such as the projectile points found at the Cooper’s Ferry site,” Davis said. “By comparing these points with other sites of the same age and older, we can infer the spatial extents of social networks where this technological knowledge was shared between peoples.”

These slender projectile points are characterized by two distinct ends, one sharpened and one stemmed, as well as a symmetrical beveled shape if looked at head-on. They were likely attached to darts, rather than arrows or spears, and despite the small size, they were deadly weapons, Davis said.

Cooper’s Ferry Site Map

(A) map showing the location of the Cooper’s Ferry site in the context of Pacific Northwest environments at 16,000 years ago; (B) aerial image (from Google Earth) showing the Cooper’s Ferry excavations; (C) site map showing the locations of excavation Area A and Area B. Credit: Courtesy Loren Davis

“There’s an assumption that early projectile points had to be big to kill large game; however, smaller projectile points mounted on darts will penetrate deeply and cause tremendous internal damage,” he said. “You can hunt any animal we know about with weapons like these.”

These discoveries add to the emerging picture of early human life in the Pacific Northwest, Davis said. “Finding a site where people made pits and stored complete and broken projectile points nearly 16,000 years ago gives us valuable details about the lives of our region’s earliest inhabitants.”

Excavator at Work Recording Artifacts Excavated From a Pit Feature at the Cooper’s Ferry Site

Excavator at work recording artifacts excavated from a pit feature at the Cooper’s Ferry site. Credit: Courtesy Loren Davis

The newly discovered pits are part of the larger Cooper’s Ferry record, where Davis and colleagues have previously reported a 14,200-year-old fire pit and a food-processing area containing the remains of an extinct horse. All told, they found and mapped more than 65,000 items, recording their locations to the millimeter for precise documentation.

Overview of Pit Feature 78

Overview of pit feature 78 during the process of excavation. Credit: Courtesy Loren Davis

The projectile points were uncovered over multiple summers between 2012 and 2017, with work supported by a funding partnership held between OSU and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). All excavation work has been completed and the site is now covered. The BLM installed interpretive panels and a kiosk at the site to describe the work.

Reference: “Dating of a large tool assemblage at the Cooper’s Ferry site (Idaho, USA) to ~15,785 cal yr B.P. extends the age of stemmed points in the Americas” by Loren G. Davis, David B. Madsen, David A. Sisson, Lorena Becerra-Valdivia, Thomas Higham, Daniel Stueber, Daniel W. Bean, Alexander J. Nyers, Amanda Carroll, Christina Ryder, Matt Sponheimer, Masami Izuho, Fumie Iizuka, Guoqiang Li, Clinton W. Epps and F. Kirk Halford, 23 December 2022, Science Advances.
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.ade1248

Davis has been studying the Cooper’s Ferry site since the 1990s when he was an archaeologist with the BLM. Now, he partners with the BLM to bring undergraduate and graduate students from OSU to work the site in the summer. The team also works closely with the Nez Perce tribe to provide field opportunities for tribal youth and to communicate all findings.

The study was funded by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Bernice Peltier Huber Charitable Trust, the Keystone Archaeological Research Fund, the National Geographic Society, and Oregon State University.