BELLINGHAM, Wash. – Three summers ago the company that wants to build the largest coal export terminal in North America failed to obtain the environmental permits it needed before bulldozing more than four miles of roads and clearing more than nine acres of land, including some wetlands.
Pacific International Terminals also failed to meet a requirement to consult first with local Native American tribes, the Lummi and Nooksack tribes, about the potential archaeological impacts of the work. Sidestepping tribal consultation meant avoiding potential delays and roadblocks for the project’s development.
It also led to the disturbance of a site from which 3,000-year-old human remains had previously been removed — and where archeologists and tribal members suspect more are buried. Read more.
One thousand years ago, on a floodplain of the Mississippi River near modern-day St. Louis, the massive Native American city known today as Cahokia sprang suddenly into existence. Three hundred years later it was virtually deserted.
The reasons for Cahokia’s quick emergence and precipitous decline have been among the greatest mysteries in American prehistory, but new research suggests a possible cause of the city’s demise: a catastrophic flood.
A team led by Samuel E. Munoz, a doctoral student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, reported at the 2013 conference of the Geological Society of America that their study of sediment cores from a lake adjacent to the site of Cahokia reveals calamitous flooding of the area around 1200 C.E., just as the city was reaching its apex of population and power. Read more.
SOCORRO, Texas (AP) — As Indiana Jones once said, “X never, ever marks the spot.”
That is what is making things difficult for an archaeology team as it examines the original Socorro Mission site for the remains of a Native American village, a lost cemetery or anything else that “belongs in a museum.”
The Texas Historical Commission sent the team this week to Socorro to see if the old Socorro Mission site can be expanded, and protected, by any discovery the team can make.
Tiffany Osburn, regional archaeologist for the commission, said the investigation began Tuesday and is confined to 16 acres of land where the original Socorro Mission was built in 1691. Read more.
Archaeologists have been back on the grounds of the Missouri National Guard’s training site at Jefferson City studying the site of a 1,200 year-old Native American village there. They were looking for signs that the site might not be a seasonal camp as been believed, but a more permanent site.
Archaeologist Joe Harl with the Archaeological Research Center says they found some in the form of pit structures.
“Pits are features or remains of house structures or storage pits, cooking pits, fire hearths, those kinds of things. What we found are the remnants of three posts that probably are related to a house or some other activity.” Read more.
University students working on an archaeology dig at the Stewart Indian School carefully sifted years of dirt away from their finds Monday as they sought to add more insight into this culturally important national landmark.
Sarah Cowie, an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Nevada, Reno, who is directing the excavations, said the discoveries, from old nails to buttons to historic toys, have no monetary value.
But they are precious to archaeology students looking to help piece together the history of the school, which generates both positive and negative memories for many of the Native American alumni who attended the institution, she said. Read more.
WISHRAM — All he was looking for was a little retirement property. But Robert Zornes, a Forks RV-park owner, wound up with quite a lot more.
“I kept seeing this property, 122 acres on more than a mile of the Columbia River for a quarter-million dollars, then it’s lowered to $100,000. And I am thinking, ‘This has to be a practical joke,’” Zornes said. So he bought it, right off a real estate website, without ever talking to the property owner.
Then came the big surprise: He had purchased one of the most historically and archaeologically sensitive pieces of property in the state.
Home to a campsite and portage route on the Lewis and Clark Trail. A cave, with prehistoric Indian rock art. Indian burials, petroglyphs and story stones. Read more.
Yuma, Ariz. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Colorado River District Yuma Field Office is investigating the vandalism of an archaeological site north of Blythe, California. The site is rich in Native American petroglyphs and was recently vandalized with blue spray paint. Some of the more identifiable spray paint images include a horse or unicorn head, several smiley faces, and what appears to be a marijuana leaf. “Sosa,” “B+C,” and the number “625” were also spray painted at the site.
Many archaeological remains left by prehistoric peoples are visible at the site, but the most predominant are the petroglyphs. Petroglyphs are designs or figures which have been pecked or scratched into rock surfaces. Other features at the site include sleeping circles, geoglyphs, and rock alignments. Read more.
PARIS — In a chaotic auction repeatedly interrupted by protests, dozens of Native American tribal masks were sold Friday after a French court rejected the objections of the Hopi tribe and the U.S. government.
The total tally was 931,000 euros ($1.2 million), with the most expensive, the “Mother Crow” mask, selling for 160,000 euros ($209,000) — more than three times the pre-sale estimate.
Of the 70 masks up for sale, one was bought by an association to give back to the Hopis, the Drouot auction house said.
Advocates for the Hopi tribe had argued in court the masks have special status and are not art — they represent their dead ancestors’ spirits. The Hopis, a Native American tribe whose territory is surrounded by Arizona, nurture the masks as if they are the living dead. Read more.