Archaeological Discoveries

Image of The First People
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The First People
By Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, CA, 2007

Archaic Period (11,500 – 1,100 BP)

Early Archaic deposits (11,500 – 7,000 BP) are quite rare in the Sierra Nevada foothills, identified locally at two sites, both discovered in buried stratigraphic contexts. They include abundant Wide-Stem and Large Stemmed Dart points, hundreds of handstones and millingstones, as well as a variety of cobble-core tools, large percussion-flaked “greenstone” bifaces, and comparatively high frequencies of obsidian from the Bodie Hills source. Plant macrofossil assemblages are dominated by grey pine and acorn nutshell, but include few if any small seeds or other spring- and summer-ripening plant foods (e.g., manzanita). This indicates a pattern of repeated occupation, suggesting that land use in the western Sierra was seasonally structured. This is supported by an almost exclusive use of local toolstone for the manufacture of bifaces and projectile points.

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Stone Basins May Be Miwok Salt ‘Factory’
San Francisco Chronicle, 30 Dec 2009

(12-30) 14:57 PST SAN FRANCISCO — Somewhere in the Sierra Nevada, a granite terrace the size of a football field holds hundreds of mysterious stone basins representing what geologists believe is one of the earliest known “factories” created and used by ancient Miwok Indians to make tons of salt to trade with tribes up and down California.

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