UNITED STATES NEWS

Archaeologists in Louisiana save artifacts dating back 12,000 years from natural disasters, looters

Jul 17, 2023, 9:05 PM

VERNON PARISH, La. (AP) — Long buried under the woods of west central Louisiana, stone tools, spearpoints and other evidence of people living in the area as long as 12,000 years ago have become more exposed and vulnerable, due to hurricanes, flooding and looters.

This summer, archaeologists have been gingerly digging up the ground at the Vernon Parish site in the Kisatchie National Forest. They have been sifting through dirt to unearth and preserve the evidence of prehistoric occupation of the area.

“The site appears to have been continuously occupied throughout prehistory, as evidenced by a wide range of stone tools and pottery dating to each Native American cultural era up to European contact,” the U.S. Forest Service said in an news release.

The site was found by surveyors in 2003, according to the Forest Service. After hurricanes Delta uprooted trees, disturbing and exposing some of the artifacts, Kisatchie National Forest officials used hurricane relief money to begin salvage excavations to learn more about the site, and to preserve it.

“Between the looting and the hurricane damage we were really in danger of losing this site over time,” Forest Service archaeologist Matthew Helmer said during a media tour of the site in June.

Helmer, walked amid areas already excavated, pointing to changes in soil color and texture that, like the crude artifacts being excavated, can give clues as researchers work to determine facts about the people who occupied the area at different times over the millennia.

“We’re really writing the history of these peoples that lived prior to 1492, all the way back 10,000-plus years,” said Helmer.

It’s a welcome opportunity for Mark Rees, a professor of archaeology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and director of the Louisiana Public Archaeology Lab.

Still, Rees laments that the work is hampered by people who have made unauthorized digs and made off with material from the site.

“It’s like walking into the archive and finding a book that’s so rare it’s one of a kind and it predates writing itself, it’s like tearing a page out of that book and walking off with it,” said Rees.

The salvaged artifacts will be sorted, catalogued and examined as researchers at the archaeology lab seek to make determinations about past cultures at the site.

___

McGill reported from New Orleans.

United States News

Associated Press

Orange County judge can stand trial in wife’s shooting death, judge says

LOS ANGELES (AP) — There is sufficient evidence for a Southern California judge to stand trial on a murder charge in the shooting death of his wife, a judge ruled Thursday. The decision came after a preliminary hearing for Orange County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Ferguson, who was arrested in August and charged with killing […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Louisiana’s new law requiring the Ten Commandments in classrooms churns old political conflicts

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A bill signed into law this week makes Louisiana the only state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every classroom in public schools and colleges — and stirs the long-running debate over the role of religion in government institutions. Under the new law, all public K-12 classrooms and […]

2 hours ago

Donald Sutherland appears at the Oscars in Los Angeles on March 4, 2018....

Associated Press

Actor Donald Sutherland, whose career spanned ‘M.A.S.H.’ to ‘Hunger Games,’ dies at 88

Donald Sutherland, the prolific film and television actor whose long career stretched from "M.A.S.H." to “The Hunger Games,” has died.

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Crews battle deadly New Mexico wildfires as clouds and flooding loom

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Fire crews braced for flooding, lightning and cooling weather as they battled a pair of growing fires Thursday that have killed at least two people while tearing through an evacuated mountain village in southern New Mexico. Residents of the village of Ruidoso fled the larger fire with little notice as […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

California Supreme Court removes tax measure from November ballot

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The California Supreme Court on Thursday removed a measure from the November ballot that would have made it harder to raise taxes, siding with Gov. Gavin Newsom and his Democratic allies in the state Legislature. The measure would have required voter approval for tax increases passed by the state Legislature. It […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities arrest Alabama man wanted in connection with multiple homicides

MORRILTON, Ark. (AP) — An Alabama man wanted in connection with homicides in Oklahoma was apprehended Thursday in Arkansas after a search that spanned multiple southern states, Arkansas State Police said. Stacy Lee Drake, 50, was taken into custody around 10 a.m. in a wooded area in Morrilton, Arkansas, state police said. He was taken […]

3 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Archaeologists in Louisiana save artifacts dating back 12,000 years from natural disasters, looters