A team of archaeologists has uncovered an ancient stone tool made out of a piece of agate. The important discovery was made in Oregon and experts believe the stone tool could be linked to the oldest-known human settlements in the Western US.
The researchers unearthed the ancient stone tool in the Rimrock Draw Rockshelter, a site which the archaeologists have been excavating since 2011, as reported by the Bureau of Land Management.
According to those who made the discovery, the ancient stone tool was buried underneath a layer of volcanic ash that dates back more approximately 15,800 years ago, when Mount St. Helens is believed to have erupted.
Experts assume that the tool was used by our ancestors to scrape animal hides, butcher meat carve wood.
The researchers collected blood samples found on the tool and analysis revealed that the blood came from an ancient species of bison, which could have been the close related to the modern-day buffalo.
Scott Thomas, one of the archaeologists involved in the research, said that the tool is probably more than 15,000 years old, which means that it might have belonged to one of the oldest human occupation west of the Rocky Mountains.
In 2008, a team of researchers found pieces of 14,000 year old human feces near the excavation site where the ancient stone tool was discovered, confirming that ancient humans lived in the area near the Paisley Cave.
But the discovery of the stone tool may push the existence of humans in the Oregon regions even back.
The analysis of the volcanic ashes suggests that that the ancient stone tool is one of the oldest-known artifacts in North America.
According to Patrick O’Grady from the University of Oregon, based on the laws of stratigraphy, the object could be older than the ash around it.
The researchers are looking to expand the excavations and are hoping to find more evidence of the existence of the ancient humans.
Until the discovery of this ancient stone tool, experts believed the oldest human residents who lived in the Western parts of the United States were the Clovis people, who lived more than 13,000 years ago.