martes, 14 de octubre de 2014

Ancient village found at Arizona's Petrified Forest (U.S.A.)

The sandstone slabs peeking from the dusty dunes were the first clues something promising lurked underfoot.
Fanned out over the Petrified Forest National Park, a team of 10 archaeologists painstakingly walked in straight lines all summer and noted, acre by acre, anything that seemed unusual to the naked eye. A ceramic shard here. Some yards away, a fragment of a stone tool.
Back in the office, they pieced together the GPS coordinates they had marked each day. As the weeks passed, they watched as the collective picture formed by their notes grew larger.
And larger. Until they knew they had struck upon something significant.
"You're out in the sun, walking around. They're long days," said Amy Schott, a seasonal archaeologist with the park. "But it's exciting, too, because you get finds like this."
Archaeologists were looking at an ancient village, estimated to be 1,300 to 1,800 years old. It's a discovery that not only bodes well for future archaeological projects at Petrified Forest National Park, but one that hints at what life was like for Arizona's earliest settlers.
The cluster of "pit houses," early sandstone dwellings, is similar in age and composition to one found last summer, park superintendent Brad Traver said. Vertical sandstone slabs created the lower portion of each pit house. Branches, grasses and other organic material would have covered the upper part of each structure.
The 50 to 70 pit houses were organized in rings, indicating anywhere from 100 to 150 people had chosen to live together in that area.
"There's evidence of people having been there because they're found in sand dunes where there are no sandstone slabs, so they must have been moved there," Traver said. "It's the time when civilization in our area is starting to gather in villages — not individual hunters and gatherers anymore. It is the transition between the nomadic existence of a hunter-gatherer and starting to settle down into villages."

Source: azcentral:

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