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Cooper’s Ferry Archeological Dig

By Harvey Hughett 

Here are photos of the Cooper’s Ferry Archeological Dig, on the Salmon River, 13 miles from Cottonwood, ID. Last week, I taught archeologists some flint knapping skills and left them 100 lbs of obsidian to practice with. Their hope is to break the record for early discovery (as all archeologists dream of doing). They’re at 13,500 BP currently and much, much more dirt to move. The site is at the mouth of a canyon that leads to a large and popular camas bulb digging area. They have a chance at success as it’s 20 miles either direction around cliffs to other “travel chutes” that lead to the traditional summer digging/hunting areas. Mastodon bones have been found nearby but not (yet) associated with humans. It’s amazing the technology that they’re using in the dig (they’ve been working the area for several years). They have two full time videographers/photographers and two computer people on the dig team and about 20 people on the dig itself. The top layer yielded relatively modern arrow points and now they’re uncovering atlatl points. In that many thousands of years, much soft evidence has deteriorated. The problem of finding the earliest Americans is that, in the very early times, the peoples were sparse and it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack to find their camps. This site also is just 1/8th mile from a popular salmon fishery (constriction in the river, Pine Bar Rapids). Interesting stuff./font>


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