Mammoth tusk found at Prehistoric campfire site

Archaeologists discovered a large tusk of a mammoth, and tools fashioned out of stone and ivory at the Holzman site, Southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Uncovering the tusk (by Lorraine Alfsen)

Archaeologists uncovered the 140-centimeter-ong mammoth tusk during last year’s excavations at the site. Radiocarbon dating analysis revealed that the tusk was about 14000 years old, placing it as one of the last surviving mammoths on the mainland. Researchers discovered the find at a depth of 1.5 metres and now plan to establish whether the tusk was obtained through hunting or whether it was scavenged.

Mammoth tusk found at the site (by Brian Wygal)

Though other sites have ivory fragments, this discovery marks only the second time that researchers have uncovered an entire mammoth tusk from an archaeological site in Alaska. According to the researchers, the findings suggest that the earliest documented people in Alaska acquired mammoth ivory, and that they were creating tools with use of mammoth remains.

Archaeologist holding a large animal bone fragment (by Brian Wygal)

Present state of knowledge states that mammoths went extinct at the end of the last ice age about 10000-12000 years ago, although a small population of mammoths survived on Wrangel Island, off the Siberian coast, until about 3700 years ago.

(after Live Science, Brian Wygal & Lorraine Alfsen)

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