In Oregon, archaeologists have uncovered amazing evidence of North America’s oldest population. The Rimrock-Droe rock shelter outside of Riley, Oregon, turned out to be the site of human habitation more than 18,000 years ago. This find, made by the archaeological field school of the University of Oregon Museum of Natural and Cultural History, led by archaeologist Patrick O’Grady, is one of the most important in the history of the study of ancient civilizations.
Excavations at the Rimrock-Dro rock shelter began in 2011 under an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management. Since then, a team of archaeologists has uncovered many interesting artifacts, such as stone tools and tooth fragments from extinct Pleistocene mammals. Important finds were fragments of camel teeth, found under a layer of volcanic ash dating back more than 15,000 years ago. In addition, two elaborate orange agate scrapers were found, one of which preserved remains of bison blood.
The most surprising discovery, however, was the radiocarbon analysis of dental enamel by Dr. Thomas W. Stafford, Jr. and Dr. John Souton. The analysis showed that the evidence dated back 18,250 years, making Rimrock-Dro one of the oldest human habitation sites in North America.
For the archaeological community, these discoveries are extremely interesting. They expand our knowledge of human activity in North America and confirm that humans inhabited this part of the continent more than 18,000 years ago. It also underscores the importance of preserving and protecting archaeological sites on public lands.
Today, archaeological research continues at Rimrock-Droe. A team of archaeologists is working on other camel and bison tooth fragments and studying plant remains from campfires to learn more about the eating habits of the ancient inhabitants of the site.
Cooper’s Ferry Archaeological Site in western Idaho is considered the oldest known site in western North America. Evidence of human habitation more than 16,000 years ago has been found here. It confirms that ancient civilizations inhabited different parts of the continent and had complex social and cultural structures.
The history of mankind is still full of mysteries and riddles. Discoveries at the Rimrock-Droo rock shelter and other archaeological sites allow us to get closer to understanding our ancient ancestors and their lives. They show that people lived in North America long before the first colonists arrived and had advanced cultures and technologies.