Ancient Bones Found in Franklin County Pre-Date Kennewick Man
Ancient Bones Found in Franklin County, Washington
Did you know that ancient bones carbon-dated older than the famous Kennewick Man bones were found in Frankin County?
Ancient Bones Found in Marmes Rockshelter
If you have never heard of the Marmes Rockshelter, it was an archeological dig site found in the 1960s near Lyons Ferry Park on the Palouse River. The land was the property of Roland Marmes, which is where the name originated from. It was discovered through a tip by Professor Richard Daugherty from Washington State University. That site was world famous for both the quality and age of ancient native american artifacts and bones found there.
Why the Marmes Rockshelter Discovery Was So Special
The depth of stratified deposits, or artifacts found in layers of soil, found at Marmes Rockshelter was very unique. Experts studying the site from Washington State University and the National Park Service in 1962 were stunned by how well everything was preserved. They also found the oldest known human fossils at the time, being estimated at 10,000 years old after carbon date testing after digging a trench at the site in 1965. That makes those bones around 1,000 years older than the 9,000-year-old estimated Kennewick Man bones.
Digs at Marmes Rockshelter Continued for 7 Years
The Professor and his teams went back again in 1968 with the members from the National Geological Society and found more human remains, animal bones, and bone tools. After most of the bones and artifacts had been studied from the 7 years of digs at Marmes Rockshelter, they found some amazing discoveries that changed theories on early man in the region.
The Findings from Marmes Rockshelter
The studies revealed that humans had lived around that site for over 11,000 years and for over 7,000 years at that exact spot. The people that lived there left tools used for hunting, beads, and multiple other artifacts with clues on how they lived. When the team studied the pollen from the site, it showed that a steppe ecosystem formed after the glaciers retreated around 13,000 years ago. So much more could have been learned from the site but sadly now no one can visit the site because it is unreachable.
Why Marmes Rockshelter is Now Unreachable
In 1969, the Lower Monumental Dam was completed and caused flooding to the site, completely submerging it with water. They had built a levee around the site with the Army Corps of Engineers hoping to hold back the water. Within 3 days the water leaked through the ground gravel and flooded the entire site. The site is now part of Lake Herbert G. West, a reservoir that was formed by the water from the Lower Monumental Dam. Scientists hope that someday when the dam is destroyed, they can return to the site and continue their research.