These artifacts, some dating back 7000 years, hold a unique significance, predominantly crafted from materials that wouldn’t typically endure in warmer climates.
Ranging from basic containers made of tree bark and animal hide to bone and obsidian ice picks and hand axes, these findings emerged near Canada’s Mount Edziza Provincial Park in 2019, detailed in a recent study.
For many thousands of years, and continuing to the present day, the territory surrounding Mount Edziza Provincial Park has served as the hunting grounds for the Tahltan, one of Canada’s indigenous First Nations.
Previous discoveries in the region uncovered stone artifacts and obsidian quarries used to craft these tools. However, the recent thawing of ice exposed an array of ancient objects, including those fashioned from perishable materials like vegetation and animal byproducts, typically prone to rapid decay and unable to withstand long-term preservation.
“Radiocarbon ages on 13 of the perishable artifacts reveal that they span the last 7000 years,” the researchers report in a paper describing their findings.
During surveys conducted amid patches of ice melt in the summer of 2019, archaeologists examining the area around Mount Edziza Provincial Park unearthed numerous artifacts, more than 55 of which were fashioned from perishable materials, as reported by The Miami Herald.
Among the perishable artifacts found were wooden tools encased in animal skin, estimated to be up to 3,000 years old, as well as wooden staves once carried by ancient hunters when traveling through difficult terrain.
Furthermore, the discoveries included basketry, projectile shafts, and even ancient footwear crafted from animal hide.
The discoveries were revealed by Duncan McLaren and colleagues in a paper, “Ice Patches and Obsidian Quarries: Integrating Research Through Collaborative Archaeology in Tahltan Territory,” published in October in the Journal of Field Archaeology.