Thursday, July 19, 2007

Squirrel Archaeologists (I'm Not Making This Up!)

You just have to read this, it's sooo funny - and just like the Goddess' sense of humor...

Jul 13, 2007 6:30 am US/Pacific

Squirrels Unearth Ancient Artifact In Roseville
Dennis Shanahan Reporting


An amazing discovery has been unearthed in Placer County. Amazing because of its historical significance....and amazing because of how it was found. Archaeologists did not carefully unearth the 8,000 to 10,000 year old artifact, but it appears some curious squirrels dug it up.Now, folks at the Maidu Indian Interpretive Center are trying to preserve what the squirrels unearthed. The center allows people to learn how Native Americans lived thousands of years ago. And it was here that the squirrels made their find in what could be called an ancient compost pile.

"You can see where little tiny flakes have been knocked off to sharpen this or to give it a certain shape." explained Cultural Interpreter Rick Adams who stumbled upon the unearthed artifact along the Maidu Nature Trail.

It's a carefully carved tool or ceremonial object. Experts say it appears to be partially volcanic and may have originated in the Rancho Murietta area about 20 miles from where it was discovered."We only find what the squirrels are giving us right now. And that's Okay. We don't want to dig." said Park Specialist Chuck Kritzon.

While the officials running the Maidu Center know there are probably more artifacts in the park, it is illegal for humans to dig them up on the protected land.

(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


Because this area is reserved as a "sacred" space for the local Native Americans, archaeological research within it's confines is prohibited. That sucks. The artifact dug up by the archaeologist squirrel(s) is exempt from federal law which protects this site because squirrels aren't human (don't tell them that, though, we don't want to trigger any traumatic stress syndrome and have the Confederated Squirrels of America sue the United States Government...) - and therefore, the artifact they uncovered is available for study by local experts. That's how come we know, for instance, the object is between 8,000 and 10,000 years old.

Given the ongoing turmoil and controversy regarding the subject of when the Americas were settled and by whom and from where, an artifact that is possibly 10,000 years old seems rather significant to me, particularly given it's location. Roseville is to the northwest of Sacramento, California, so the inhabitors of the sacred NA site might have originally arrived either by foot from the north (the "across the Bering Strait" theory) or by water (the "ocean-going" theory).

We need more cross-disciplinary studies on this subject, but will we get them? And then there is the whole separate issue of "sacred ancestral remains, etc. etc." that prohibit excavation and study from taking place.

Well, I, for one, sure hope those squirrels keep on digging.

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