4K-Year-Old Home Turns Up in Ohio

Hunter-gatherers apparently lived there during colder months
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 18, 2015 5:00 PM CDT
4K-Year-Old Home Turns Up in Ohio
An archaeologist at work.   (AP Photo/Gary C. Knapp)

One tribe lived in Ohio so long ago we don't even have a name for them. Archaeologists recently uncovered one of their 4,000-year-old homes in Lorain County and say it belonged to hunter-gatherers who visited periodically during the fall and winter, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. "There's nothing like this anywhere in Ohio," says team leader Brian Redmond. "It's very significant. ... We have no idea what they called themselves or what language they spoke." What archaeology tells us: They lived in a wigwam-style, U-shaped home where hickory saplings were placed in post holes along the perimeter and tied together, then covered with several cattail mats. In other words, it was "long-term" and "rather comfortable by Late Archaic period standards," says New Historian.

There are also cooking pits, storage holds for hickory nuts, and a shallow clay basin that captured Redmond's imagination. It was found with a primitive bone tool and deer anklebone inside, but "the purpose of this construction remains a mystery," he writes in a blog. "Perhaps the basin held plant material. ... Maybe it was a water dish for the family dog! We really don’t have a clue." Whoever lived there, he says, they migrated from the southeast, hunted small game and deer, and caught fish from Lake Erie and Black River; pottery and farming hadn't been invented yet. Redmond is keeping the site secret to guard against vandals, and says he'll probably cover it with dirt and plastic to keep it preserved. (Another mysterious US find: a shipwreck off North Carolina.)

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