Andy found a rock. 4 years ago. He and Daniel thought it might be an arrowhead or a spear, but it seemed big for that. They were imagining some big archaeological find I'm sorry to say that I was skeptical and made fun of it......because it was not so sharp, not such a good specimen of an arrowhead.
Centennial Trail creator Tom Kaffine was visiting a few times this spring. Because he was adding some trail markers and a spiffy Centennial Trail historical guide. It is a very cool place.
Tom doesn't exactly visit. He zips in and talks fast, and then he's gone. Sometimes he chats with Andy a little longer, but then he paces. As he was pacing he noticed the rock on the top of the map case...and it caught his interest.
Tom spends his winters in the USFS archaeology office in Duluth. He's sort of enthusiastic about that, so he snapped some photos, took a bearing on that particular spot (called the Denali site, according to Tom) before he rushed off smiling. It turns out that Andy found a a trihedral adz, tentatively dated somewhere between 5000-8000 years old.
The kids and I were chatting about that. How many years does 8000 feel like? Time and magnitude are sort of hard mathematical concepts when you get right down to it. We used to read a childrens' book "How Much Is A Million?". Do you realize it takes at least 23 days to count to a million? Most of the time, I'm too tired to think about that.
Shelby and Daniel were attempting to wrap our heads around that to conceptualize the peoples living here 5000-10,000 years ago, who must have been chiseling the adz. Or scooping out boats. Or just dropping a tool. Well, let's see. The United States is almost 240 years old.....and Jesus was born a little over 2000 years ago. That's really as far back we could sort of personalize. But we were giving it a good shot.
This is what these guys do. Tom and his archaeologist guru colleague Lee Johnson came and did a mini-treasure hunt--a test dig in the area around Andy's first find....which may be an ancient tool making site? Who knows. At any rate, I had no idea I'd be so interested, but it is really fun to hear these guys' enthusiasm about it, that I start going with them 8000 year ago-- to people on a river bank maybe? With stone from Knife Lake...
Today is the Boundary Waters Family weekly seminar (Every Thursday, 3pm at Chikwauk, 7pm in Grand Marais).
Lee Johnson is leading it today--and he is goooood. Andy's going...and Andy almost never leaves the office even for an hour this time of year....if you can make it there, you 'd like it I think.
Lee Johnson Seminar:
Mookomaan Zaaga'igan: Knife Lake Silstone
The areas surrounding Knife Lake in the BWCAW were an important location for the quarrying and manufacture of stone tools. Recent evidence may suggest that people were traveling to Knife Lake as far back as 10,000 years ago. Learn about the geology, archaeology, and importance of this lithic resource to the First People who called the Boundary Waters home. The presentation will include a flintknapping demonstration.
Presented by Superior National Forest Archeologist Lee Johnson.
Thursday, July 29 Naturalist Seminar, 3 PM Chik-Wauk Museum & Nature Center; 7 PM, Grand Marais RV Park & Campground