Saltville Research Paper

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Home to a large Pleistocene fossil site, Saltville, Virginia has revolutionized modern archeology. The locality is especially significant because of unique interactions that took place between animals and humans 15,000 years ago. There has been recent evidence uncovered that Paleo-humans and the mammals in the surrounding Appalachian region interacted and the humans relied on the animals for survival. The deep history preserved in the land of Saltville reveals a past ecosystem that drew megafauna to its locality. The region, rich with life, is the second oldest known Pre-Clovis site in the Americas, marking its significance in history and archeology. The site possesses signs of humans who hunted megafauna for spiritual and resourceful purposes.…show more content…
Mastodon fossils have been found early in the excavation. In 1917, a report was published on a fragment of right maxilla where the author, Peterson, claimed that the Mastodon remains are “‘by far the most common in the Saltville deposit’” (Ray 616). A sample of Mammut Americanum fossils found before 1967 are deeply worn molars, cheek teeth, and multiple mandibular tusks ranging in size from 130 millimeters in length to about 1.5 meters in length. The largest and most recent Mammut tusk recovered is 2.13 meters in length (Moxley). In addition to the many dental fossils excavated, large femurs, rib fragments, thoracic vertebrae, scapula fragments, and cranial fragments were unearthed. The contrast in sizes, especially when observing the mandibular tusks of Mammut, represent the wide range of age and size present in the Saltville area. Saltville drew all mammals, but the Mastodon is by far the most significant and prominent fauna in the area, having the most representation through body fossils. The Mastodon quickly became famous in the local when fossils remains were found in such a configuration that it is hypothesized that Paleo-humans interacted with Mammut, killing the animal and using its meat, bones, skin, and fat reserves for their own survival…show more content…
Weapons made from stone, bone, and wood were presumed to have been kept in woven baskets and wrapped in a leather “wallet” for safety. The earliest Virginian’s lived in the lowlands of Shenandoah Valley and hunted smaller mammals and gathered wild fruit (“Paleo-Indians”). As the mountains became a less hostile environment over time, Paleo-Indians settled higher up in the Appalachians. The abundance of animals and natural resources drew the Paleo-Indians to Saltville where there was larger game (“Woodland Indians”). There is a vast amount of evidence that Paleo-Indians hunted large mammals such as Mammoths and Mastodons, but not as a primary food sources. It is hypothesized that when fauna was killed by the Paleo-Indians the event was ceremonious, with social and symbolic significance in the family units (“Paleo-Indians”). Though, with more recent discoveries, it is thought that the Pre-Clovis communities were responsible for the extinction of megfauna in the area. This implies that paleo-humans hunted more frequently than for just ceremoniously. Research also suggests through the concept of uniformitarianism, that there were likely different roles for women and men in the community. Women would have gathered and taken care of the homestead whereas men would have hunted for food and guarded the area

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