A bone projectile point
found in a mastodon rib discovered in S’Klallam’s
historical territory in 1977 has been confirmed to
be 13,800 years old – 800 years older than stone
tools associated with people archeologists believed
to be the earliest documented inhabitants of the
“The implications are
enormous,” University of Victoria anthropologist
Quentin Mackie blogged on Northwest Coast
Archaeology. “It’s a major game-changer in how we
think about the first peopling of the Americas and
about the roots of Northwest Coast archaeology and
the ancient presence of First Nations people in the
In addition, a bison
skull found in 2003 on an island about 35 miles
north of the mastodon site has been confirmed to be
14,000 years old.
Manis found mastodon tusks and other remains on his
property in Sequim, Washington in 1977 while
excavating for a pond. At the time, Washington State
University professor Carl Gustafson used radiocarbon
dating to estimate the remains were 14,000 years
old. The remains included a mastodon rib with a
projectile tip embedded in it. Bones showed signs
that the mastodon had been butchered.
Researchers led by
Michael Waters of the Center for the Study of the
First Americans at Texas A&M University recently
used more than a dozen accelerator mass spectrometry
readings to date the mastodon rib and tusks. Their
findings confirmed Gustafson’s earlier dating.
finding is one of several made in the U.S. in the
last 30 years. “We’re getting mounting evidence for
pre-Clovis dates and sites from all over the
continent,” said Andrew Duff, chairman of the WSU
Department of Anthropology, who teaches about Clovis
and pre-Clovis people in his undergraduate courses.
“Clovis” is a reference
to the type of tools found in Clovis, New Mexico in
1936-38; at the time, archeologists believed those
tools to be evidence of the oldest culture in
America, but other finds have been dated as older
using newer technology.
“We’re at the point of
overturning previously held ideas,” Davis said.
“They’re gaining increasing acceptance, especially
as evidence is accumulating from over the past
decade or so.”
The findings are reported