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Cutting Edge Archaeology Subject of N. Oregon Coast Event

Published 10/15/2019 at 5:53 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Cutting Edge Archaeology Subject of N. Oregon Coast Event

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – There’s nothing like a good shot of intellectual stimuli while visiting the beach, and one north Oregon coast institution has just the ticket. (Above: Arch Cape, just south of the museum).

Each year the Cannon Beach History Center & Museum partners with the Archaeological Institute of America to bring archaeology to the north Oregon coast. Over the past few years, they’ve delved into everything from early settlements in the Americas to pyramid construction in ancient Egypt.

This year the museum welcomes Dr. Dennis Jenkins on Saturday, October 26 at 4:00 p.m. Jenkins was a huge part of the ground-breaking work at Paisely Caves. The archaeological work conducted here changed how archaeologists world-wide looked at settlement of the Americas, even pushing dates back further than every expected!

Dennis Jenkins is a Senior Research Archaeologist for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon where he received his PhD in 1991. He has taught and directed the UO’s Northern Great Basin archaeological field school in the Fort Rock, Chewaucan, and Harney basins of Oregon and the Snake River Plain in Idaho since 1989. Jenkins’ research focuses on the first colonization of the Americas.

When did people arrive and by what method and direction?

He has also investigated obsidian sourcing and hydration, prehistoric shell bead trade, and prehistoric settlement-subsistence patterns of the Northern Great Basin. He has conducted more than 100 site investigations throughout his career, authored and co-authored 11 books, an array of articles, reviews, professional reports, and contributions to reports, and given 70 papers at professional meetings. Most recently, he has been involved in the internationally recognized recovery of ancient human DNA from coprolites (dried feces) dating to 14,500 years and established the contemporaneity of Western Stemmed projectile points at the Paisley Caves with Clovis technology, co-authoring 5 articles in the World’s most prestigious scientific journals Science and Nature, made appearances in 11 TV documentaries, and had his work profiled in more than 50 newspaper and magazine articles including Parade magazine and New Yorker.

Jenkins will focus on Luther Cressman’s 1938-1940 excavations at the Paisley Caves in south central Oregon discovered exciting evidence suggesting that people may have lived there as early as the Late Pleistocene (Ice Age), some 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. However, it was not until more recent developments in radiocarbon dating and ancient DNA analysis that he was proven correct. This presentation explains the scientific processes and results of archaeological and paleogenetic investigations at the Paisley Caves, bringing the audience the most up-to-date information about the evidence for the association of humans and Pleistocene animals in Oregon’s high desert country more than 14,000 years ago. Dating of camel and horse bones, artifacts, twigs, and dried human feces containing Native American DNA between 12,900 and 14,500 years ago indicates that people lived in the caves and apparently hunted mammoth or mastodons, camels, horses, and other animals at the end of the Pleistocene (Ice Age) period. This colorful slide show takes the audience through the scientific processes involved in proving the case for pre-Clovis ( about 13,500 years) human occupations at the world famous Paisley Caves in south central Oregon.

Seating is limited for this presentation, so arrive early. The doors will close at 4:15 p.m. The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is a private non-profit museum featuring seasonal historic, textile, and artistic exhibits. The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesday through Monday and is donation based. The Cannon Beach History Center & Museum is located at 1387 South Spruce Street in Cannon Beach, Oregon. This event is being sponsored by Martin North, Inn at Arch Cape, and Clatsop County. Hotels in Cannon Beach - Where to eat - Cannon Beach Maps and Virtual Tours






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