Frontiers | Human Occupation of the North American Colorado Plateau ∼37,000 Years Ago (Me: This is big!!!)

The more obvious features of the bone assemblage suggested this was a butchery site. However, six AMS 14C dates on the adult mammoth bone collagen yielded ages ranging from 38,900 to 32,300 cal BP (Table 1 and Figures 4, 5). These dates are far too old to be cultural according to prevailing archeological views (e.g., Meltzer, 2009; Waters, 2019). However, they lie within the time range hypothesized by genomic evidence, which projects a human presence in the Americas as early as 56,000 years ago (Wohns et al., 2022). The dates also suggest the lithic debris on the colluvial surface was most likely a time-averaged assemblage that accumulated long after the mammoth bones were broken and buried, leaving open the question of whether the mammoth bones reflected cultural activity. The only lithic evidence recovered from excavating the Hartley site consisted of six chert microflakes found in lower levels of the excavation. Although they preserve evidence of percussion flaking (below), taphonomic analysis of the bone assemblage and surrounding sediments soon became the primary basis for elucidating site formation.

Source: Frontiers | Human Occupation of the North American Colorado Plateau ∼37,000 Years Ago