Mt. Rainier Archaeology

Some artifacts from Mt. Rainier. Source: Tacoma News-Tribune.

The Tacoma News-Tribune has a nice story about high-altitude archaeology on the flanks of Mt. Rainier.  Sites date back to over 9,500 cal.BP (presumably cal. BP, that is) and some include microblade technology.  If I read the article right, the microblade component dates to about 7600 years ago.  There is an older report on Mt. Rainier archaeology here by Greg Burtchard, but it seems this recent work is what has produced the older dates.  It’s also very intriguing to see ancient “cooking pits” including some that the authors suggest were continuously used for the full 9,600 years of occupation:

The site has also produced other ash evidence, coming from cooking pits.

“They’re small and not elaborate, but pretty clearly they were cooking with hot stones. But I don’t know what they were cooking,” Mierendorf said. “That implies more than just traveling through the area.

“These are repeatedly used, including one individual pit used and reused for all 9,600 years. I’ve never seen anything like that in 40 years of professional archaeology.”

It’s good to see work done in the higher elevations, and is reminiscent of Rudy Reimer‘s more theoretically-driven  work in the highlands of Squamish territory. It will be great to see if there is a full report put out soon so I can see the microblades and the cooking pits – if it is put on the web like the earlier report, so much the better!

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