Mark Bodily, a Brigham Young University (BYU) graduate student, excavates a Paleoarchaic level at North Creek Shelter, an archaeological site located in Utah's Escalante Valley. Researchers removed their shoes when working to avoid contaminating the old dirt with the new.
Bodily was part of a research team led by BYU anthropologist Joel Janetski, who was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) (grant BCS 08-18971) to "get to the bottom" (i.e., excavate) of the North Creek site, which has been occupied on and off for the past 11,000 years, according to multiple radiocarbon estimates. (The 2008 field season at this site, as well as much of the follow-up analysis, was supported by NSF.) The site, which is located at the base of a sheer sandstone cliff, is the oldest known site occupied by humans in the southern half of Utah and one of only three such archaeological sites state-wide that date back so far in time.
The team published a study describing their findings, which included stone tools used to grind sage, salt bush and grass seeds into flour. Prior to the appearance of grinding stones, the diet included duck, beaver and turkey. Sheep became more common later on and deer was a staple at all levels of the dig.
To learn more about this research, see the BYU news release What the locals ate 10,000 years ago. (Date of Image: 2007-08) [Image 3 of 8 related images. See Image 4.]