In a recent study, researchers discovered footprints from about 10,500 years ago. The footprints were found in the Paisley Caves of Oregon and are believed to have been made by members of an early human tribe known as the Shasta people. These ancient tracks provide fascinating insight into what life was like for these early humans before they populated North America.
The footprints were first found in the 1930s by two school boys that had gone on a hunting trip. They had come across an unusual set of tracks but it wasn’t until some 70 years later when scientists returned to the site and finished exploring what was believed to be a small section of 45 human prints. However, this initial discovery led to a much wider exploration of the area and it revealed to be a significant archaeological site filled with ancient human footprints from thousands of years ago.
In February 2011, the team led by Dr. James Chatters, who studies artifacts and skeletal remains of early Native Americans, returned to the site and began a more detailed excavation. His team uncovered a total of 104 human footprints that were preserved in the mud – twenty-eight tracks made by children which was particularly exciting – as well as one dog print and one probable jackrabbit track among others. In all, there were five distinct layers containing these ancient prints.
The footprints were found about 25 feet below the ground’s surface. Each print was a deep oval shape and had a heel impression, indicating that these people would have walked with an inward rotation – similar to modern-day humans – lean forward at the hips and have their knees bent as they walk or run. Anthropologists believe that these tracks were made by the people that walked barefoot and weighed an estimated 110 pounds, but they likely had a wide range of heights.
What we discovered is not only evidence of their feet, but where they paused long enough to make these foot marks, researcher Loren Davis said in a recent video by the Lost History Channel.Many modern Native American tribes throughout North America, they also mark their presence or leave evidence of their travels because it’s important to them when they come back to the site, they know how long it took them, where they were.
The team used radiocarbon dating on the sediment to determine the age of the footprints and found that they were made about 10,500 years ago – well before Europe’s first settlers crossed the Bering Strait land bridge. These tracks may be some of the earliest ever recorded in North America. The team is currently studying these ancient footprints and analyzing their DNA using isotope analysis to further shed light on their relationship to modern Native Americans.
It’s going to allow us as anthropologists and archaeologists a more direct link to the past, a more accurate representation of what those people who were first here in North America, what they were doing 10,500 years ago,Loren told The Lost History Channel.We’ve found a lot of evidence in North America of people traveling but we don’t know what they were doing when they got here.