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Compare YOUR Paleo-History with Oregon?

A Primer on Oregon’s Paleo-History Interpretation
By Dave Sandersfeld, 12/2008
Historical Review from OREGON ARCHEOLOGY The Studies…What, Why, How – by Oregon State Historical Preservation Office (Wash DC, REV.4-04), 8 pages.

1. Historic period ( 1550 A.D. to Present):
A. Present to 1968: may 18th, 1980 mt.st. Helens eruption. 1968 apollo 8 moon landing gave world a new view of our planet.
B. 1968 to 1900: age of automobile
C. 1900 to 1860: civil war aftermath
D. 1800 to 1860: trail blazer episode
In Oregon, routine written records commenced around 1820. Lewis & Clark Diary 1805-06.
E. 1750 to 1800: Birth of American Democracy.
Diagnostic dating Pictographs with smiling faces/GRIT TEETH (”SHE WHO WATCHES” OR “TSAGIGLALAL” near Dalles, OR) and humans with obvious ribs showing was a recent Long Narrows Style of a “Death Cult”. European diseases started decimating native tribes between 1700 to 1800s. By 1840s, 90% of local tribes died, (page 102) according to “INDIAN ROCK ART OF THE COLUMBIA PLATEAU”BY JAMES D. KEYSER.
F. 1550 to 1750:New World discoveries
Diagnostic dating Pictographs showing (rifles- 1840 or younger) horses probably were created after 1720 A.D. when horse arrived in PNW from Mexico’s Spaniard herds return in 1600s( Keyser page 115).
PICTOGRAPH=VISION QUESTS
“Like that of other Columbia Plateau areas, central Plateau rock art appears to have function in a religious context.
Many of the northern pictographs apparently record vision quests, in which adolescents (male & female) and adults sought supernatural power through a ritual of isolation, fasting, and prayer.
According to Salishan Indian informants from the region, pictographs commemorated the successful acquisition of a spiritual guide or helper, the rites associated with the vision, and the symbolic relationship between human and guardian.(Cline et al, 1938, Malhouf and White 1953). In fact, Indians thought that the act of painting assisted the transfer of the spiritual power.’ KEYSER PAGE 74
SOME ALSO DOCUMENT HISTORIC EVENTS or advertise a individual shamans power over beasts or what ever.

2. Pre-Historic or LATE ARCHAIC Period (2000 or 0 A.D. to 1550 A.D.):
Diagnostic dating Pictographs showing bow & arrow date BACK 2000 years ago or more recent!
Diagnostic dating Yakima Red& White pigment pictograph style commenced 2000 years ago.
BOW & ARROW COMMON HUNTING TOOL!
ARROWS NOT SPEARS.
DISTINCT PNW CULTURES – COASTAL-N. PLATEAU-GREAT BASIN-CALIFORNIA STYLES IN TOOLS, ART, HOUSING.
Tribes live longer in local villages trading for goods not locally available. Diversifying fishing & plant production/processing techniques.
1100 A.D. DOUBLE-NOTCHED STONE NET WEIGHT FOUND NEAR WASCO COUNTY ALONG COLUMBIA RIVER FOR SALMON HARVESTING.
Dalles-Celilo Falls along Columbia Gorge a Major Trade Center up river to Montana & north to south along Pacific Ocean coastal vallies & coastlines.

3. MIDDLE ARCHAIC PERIOD (2000 YEARS BACK TO 6000 YEARS AGO):
“The North Oregon Rectilinear paintings probably span a long period of time. Some Columbia River petroglyphs of rayed arcs and stick figure humans are heavily repatinated suggesting considerable age. A few superimpositions at sites near The Dalles show stickmen or rayed arcs underneath later designs of the Long Narrows and Yakima polychrome styles, further supporting the suggestion that the earlier designs may predate the Christian era. Extensive research led McClure (1984) to suggest that both the rayed arc and stick figure motifs were made between thirty-five hundred and one hundred years ago…few North Oregon Rectilinear sites show hunters with bows and arrows.” KEYSER QUOTE PAGE 97-98.
Diagnostic dating – The North Oregon Rectilinear style typically has a lizard motif somewhere in picture.
Wildfire used in Willamette valley to manipulate plants & game animal abundance.
Shell middens develop along Oregon coast near winter villages. Deer antler pendents or beads made from 3500 years ago in Yaquina head near Newport middens.
Regular evidence of pit houses common. People staying longer at home sites.
Regional cultures develop & trade networks develop.
Bone scapula made into spoon 3500 years ago found @ Fort Rock Valley.
Sea levels stabilize at current 2008 levels.
Diversifying of use of stone quarries and stone tools evolve.

4. Early archaic period (6000 to 9000 years ago):
7,700 years ago mt. Mazama erupts!
In search of ancient oregon by ellen morris bishop (timber press, portland, or, 20030, page 231.
Petroglyphs are scratches on rock- using a pecking patterns or rock on rock rubbing!
“In south central Oregon, a deeply carved panel of abstract {zigzags) petroglyphs is partially covered by a deposit containing ash from the volcanic explosion of Mount Mazama that formed Crater Lake (Cannon and Ricks 1986).” Keyser page 18.
INDIAN ROCK ART OF THE COLUMBIA PLATEAU by James D. Keyser (University of Washington Press, Seattle & London, 1992)
Mount Mazama’s eruption was dated using carbon 14 found on burnt sagebrush sandals discovered abandoned in Fort Rock cave!
“To the south, PIT & GROVE ART is a major component of many Great Basin petroglyphs ; yet its function is unknown. In the Great Basin, pit & grove panels were carved for more than seven thousand years.” Keyser page 98.
GREAT BASIN TRIBES CONDUCT RABBIT DRIVES USING WOVEN NETS. PLANT FOODS BECAME MORE IMPORTANT. Woven baskets, mats, and sandals common. Grinding stones “MANOS & METATES” TOO!
START OF NOMADIC TRIBAL MIGRATIONS IN PORTABLE CAMPSITES BY SEASON.
Pre-historic Family Clans are re-organized by joining clans into tribes; as different clans-families had different life skills or specializations needed for survival.
ATLATL STILL IN USE; BUT BIG GAME SCARCE-ER. Hunt deer, elk, antelopes and waterfowl and fish. Fish-spears, fish-hooks, and net sinkers found.
Climate warmer & drier.
ATLATL (SPEAR THROWER WEAPON) WAS PRIMARY SPEAR HUNTING TOOL.
MEAT EATERS!
“The Oldest art appears to be the pictograph fragments recovered during the excavation of Bernard Creek Rock Shelter (UPPER SALMON RIVER, Randolph and Dahlstrom 1977) and the highly patinated humans and mountain sheep at Buffalo Eddy (Lewiston ID.)
At Bernard Creek Rock Shelter (Randolph and Dahlstrom 1977) in upper Hells Canyon, excavators found small wall or roof spalls covered with red paint in a level that dated between six and eight thousand years ago…..Excavations there also yielded bird-bone-tube paint applicators whose interior surfaces were coated with red pigment….A hunting scene at Buffalo Eddy shows men using possible atlatls, and none of the hunters uses a bow and arrow (Leen 1988)”. KEYSER PAGE 114.
BUFFAL EDDY HUMAN DRAWINGS ARE UNIQUE & DIAGNOSTIC OF AN OLDER STYLE WITH HUMANS HAVING ODD TRIANGLE TORSOS AND OFTEN SEEN WITH A lifted “BARBELL” OR DOUBLE-HEADED (STONE ON BOTH ENDS) HAMMER. KEYSER PAGE 111. Red pigment paintings oddly may pre-date all pictographs and maybe petroglyphs?!
Note: Red pigment is iron hematite oxide & yellow pigment is iron limonite oxide. White pigment appears to be a clay?
Diagnostic dating “Shield-bearing warriors” represent a Eastern Shoshonean-speaking style often found in Bitterroot region –not in PNW

5. MAMMOTH-PALEO-ARCHAIC PERIOD (9000 BACK 13,500 YEARS AGO)
The oldest evidence of prehistoric cultures in Oregon, as of 2008, was found in Fort Rock Cave where charcoal in cave has been dated around 13,200 years before present.
CLOVIS CULTURAL TIME IN OREGON – ASSOCIATED ELSEWHERE WITH MAMMOTH HUNTING?
“In the Pacific Northwest, the Manis Mastodon Site near Sequim, Washington, on the Olympic Peninsula, is a kill and butchering site of these early people. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the mastodon dismembered here was killed more than eleven thousand years ago.:” Keyser page 24.
Stationary family-clan zones live in caves & first stone home found. Pike creek dolmen near Alvord hot spring at base of Steens mountain.
Also Dietz Clovis site and Paulina lake site.
Mammoths, mastodons, giant ground sleuth, camels, and prehistoric horse lived here in Oregon?
Ice ages ended around 20,000 to 12,000 years ago and Oregon valley-ies flooded with floating ice bergs & huge lakes like lake Bonneville.
Family groups hunt large game. – fort rock cave occupied – people started making sagebrush sandals!
FOR MORE INFORMATION – WEBSITES:
OREGON HISTORICAL SOCIETY
OREGON ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

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Dave Sandersfeld start his career in 1970 as a US Forest Service “Wilderness Ranger” in the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness Area in central Idaho – the largest in Continental USA!

Dave Has retired now as a US National Park Ranger/Interpreter @ the John Day Fossil Beds Nat’l Monument in Eastern Oregon.

He continues to walk the mountains now searching for clues of understanding on the relationship between Nature & human kind.

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Comments

  • owlspook
    owlspookover 5 years ago

    interesting Dave .. thanks for sharing! (big smile)

  • You’r e in Wyoming right? You have interesting pictoraphs/petroglyphs with stick figure holding round shields! I left this out of this writing?

    – Dave Sandersfeld

  • Rosemaree
    Rosemareeover 5 years ago

    WOW lots of interesting information Dave… Isnt it amazing what we can gather from what is left behind… Alhtouth I would not really wnt to be judged by what man is doin gto their environment right now. I really enjoyed this peice and will check out the web sites when I have a bit more time…

  • owlspook
    owlspookover 5 years ago

    we do? now that is interesting … I haven’t much studied about that here … delved more into the geology of the Powder River Basin …

  • RanyLutz
    RanyLutzover 5 years ago

    Great stuff Dave. Thanks.

  • Thank you Rany. I’m spending a quiet Sunday night trying to thank people who comment upon my writing. I strive to share something insightful!

    – Dave Sandersfeld

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