ISU Headlines

IMNH exhibits a 16,000-year-old beach party in Idaho; includes artifacts from Idaho’s oldest archaeological site

Posted October 10, 2008

For the month of October, the Idaho Museum of Natural History is exhibiting artifacts from the “Buried Beach” archaeological site at Castle Rocks State Park in south central Idaho.

These artifacts are the oldest evidence of humans in Idaho, and the site preserves evidence of Pre-Clovis people using boulders from a Late Pleistocene streambed to make woodworking tools.

To help people learn more about this amazing find in Idaho, Skip Lohse, Ph.D., IMNH acting director and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Idaho State University, will share the results of this new archaeological discovery during a public presentation on Friday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m in the Museum Classroom. Standard museum admission fees apply, but as always, Museum members are free. The museum admissions desk and gallery will open at 6:30.

According to Lohse, “Archaeologists have hotly debated whether or not Clovis tool users were the first residents of America. This debate is likely to continue but this site appears to provide strong evidence that pre-Clovis people lived in Idaho 16,000 years ago.”

Uncovered by accident, researches discovered four distinct layers at the Castle Rock site. Typical Clovis tools were found at the top layer but artifacts dated to 16,000-years-old were found at the bottom layer. These pre-Clovis tools make it the oldest archaeological site in Idaho and one of the oldest in the nation.

For more information, contact Kristin Fletcher, IMNH program manager, at (208) 282-2262 or fletkris@isu.edu. The museum is located on the campus of Idaho State University at 5th Avenue and Dillon Street in Building 12.

The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.