A bit of an Oregon mystery

Discussions focused on the Ancient Cultures of North American ...

A bit of an Oregon mystery

Post Number:#1  Postby CountryGold » Wed Dec 04, 2013 8:09 pm

In a former job I was paid to follow my interest in history but only so far. I don't want to cast aspersions but the line was pretty well drawn at white/European history in my region. It didn't do a bit of good for someone to draw such a silly line and expect me to pay attention to it, but none the less I avoid blaming the institution for the "preferences" of former decision makers. I none the less got myself ear deep in "pre-Columbian" history as it were and found a devil of a mystery art least as far as my education could puzzle out and no one of loftier standing was ever able to answer my questions.

It is rather plain, that when the "white man" (Spaniards first) arrived in the area above Smith River California, in what is now the southern Oregon coast, the "natives" were of Athabascan descent by physiognomy and language. This ties them to the Alaska region as a "homeland". It is interesting to note that the Curry County region is one of only two areas in Oregon wherethis connection is made. There was a small group up the Columbia river to the north and that was it. Now, when one considers that they may have ran into the "occupied" sign along most of the coast it is a bit of a mystery that this area, some of it in a "banana belt" has a better climate than other, already occupied areas. Stranger yet is the fact that stone tools have been found from the mountains to the east all the way to the coast and numerous village sites exist in what is now called the "Kalmiopsis" region. Radio Carbon Dating has placed many of them in the area of 10,000 years old and they show no signs of any Athabascan influence. The area was occupied, heavily, at one time and by a different culture. The Shasta Costas of northern California share Athabascan traits and were tremendous basket weavers. The Modoc to the East were more like one would expect of descendants of the culture that previously existed in Curry County but there is a clear delineation at which development stopped in this corner of the world.

What is further intriguing is that, despite huge amount of the raw material, clay working never developed in the County. There is one small clay deer figure (Found at the "Whales head" dig in the mid 1950's) It is presumed to have been a trade item as are the many obsidian points found in the area since obsidian is one of the few geological types not found naturally. It seems un usual that there is no bridge between stone and baskets in the area. It is known that they worked wood but precious little has survived in the environment to make an estimate of is usage level.

Strangest yet was the discovery made about a dozen years ago in a small dig conducted well inland from Brookings, up the Chetco river. Trained archeologists unearthed a "Clovis" point almost identical to the specimen from whence the term itself derives. The original was of course found in New Mexico and is one of the earliest type of projectile points in North America. There has been some speculation that the "Kenniwick Man" who caused so much interest in eastern Washington had a Clovis point imbedded in his thigh (IIRC). All of this seems to point to a cultural and trade exchange going on about 12,000 years ago-long before imagined by most historians and, again IMO, more complex that what was seen by the later arriving Europeans.

All of this merely makes finding an answer to my original question all that more difficult. If there was a civilization here had it not progressed despite the trade occurring and was it so weak that a transient population of Athabascans were able to rout them? I sincerely doubt that an entrenched, trading society would have been dislodged that easily and the could have still existed in the interior regions for a long time before the newcomers ventured there, but there is no sign of this "coexistence"

So why was the "For Rent" sign hanging out for so long before the "newcomer" showed up ?
User avatar
CountryGold
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: A bit of an Oregon mystery

Post Number:#2  Postby Hair » Wed Dec 04, 2013 9:56 pm

Could volcanic activity have been part of the issue? Mt St Helen's & Mt Hood are close.
User avatar
Hair
 
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:22 pm

Re: A bit of an Oregon mystery

Post Number:#3  Postby Whyte Eagle » Wed Dec 04, 2013 10:00 pm

That's an interesting observation CountryGold ... I wonder if what Hair is referring to could be to blame? Or possibly some other natural occurring event? tsunami maybe? Natural poison in the soil which dissipated over time like Arsenic? Just throwing out some thoughts here ... you almost have to think that there would have been some explanation as to why it may not have been habitable ...
Image
User avatar
Whyte Eagle
Site Admin
 
Posts: 8447
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2002 6:00 pm
Location: Western US

Re: A bit of an Oregon mystery

Post Number:#4  Postby Hair » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:12 pm

Yes, especially since it seems to be a desire able area to live in. It may be a swath of "land to avoid" to some past generations for some reason.....
User avatar
Hair
 
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:22 pm

Re: A bit of an Oregon mystery

Post Number:#5  Postby KsTHer » Wed Dec 04, 2013 11:47 pm

Bigfoot? The area is known for that, is it not?
User avatar
KsTHer
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2002 9:11 pm
Location: Kansas

Re: A bit of an Oregon mystery

Post Number:#6  Postby CountryGold » Thu Dec 05, 2013 1:19 am

Volcanic activity from Mt. Hood or St. Helens wouldn't account for it because none of the oldest native civilizations between either one and Curry County were affected. To affect the Curry region it would have to wipe out the Willamette and Tualatin valleys first. It would be impossible for any effect to cross the coast range to this area without drastic effects elsewhere. Mt Mazama (Crater Lake) would be a suspect but for the same issue, none of the tribes in that area were affected. Curry County has no volcanic activity, hence the lack of obsidian and other types of geological identifiers.. The majority of the County and forests are insulated from ocean activity, that might affect the coast line, by some serious altitude and mountainous terrain.

It is possible that an ancient culture in the Portland area could have been affected in as much a that area is full of volcanic evidence, including a caldera within the city limits that is a park today but there was a continuous "history" of occupation in that area that covers "my" blank era.

There is no evidence of any cataclysmic event or it would appear in the very old sites that have been examined.
User avatar
CountryGold
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: A bit of an Oregon mystery

Post Number:#7  Postby Hair » Thu Dec 05, 2013 9:25 pm

Is there any way to research local tales,legends or lore there?
User avatar
Hair
 
Posts: 156
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:22 pm

Re: A bit of an Oregon mystery

Post Number:#8  Postby CountryGold » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:43 am

Hair wrote:Is there any way to research local tales,legends or lore there?



Well, that is sort of how I "found" the question. It was part of my job to document the local, native lore. The lack of "ancient" legends and the archeological evidence dating the arrival of the Athabascans is what led to comparing timelines and finding the "gap".
User avatar
CountryGold
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Dec 03, 2013 6:06 pm

Re: A bit of an Oregon mystery

Post Number:#9  Postby mahalla22 » Sat Apr 23, 2016 3:52 pm

The more one tends to investigate their local lore/history (and it doesnt seem to matter where in North America you live), the bigger the gap will get - trust me. There is more unexplainable in Meso-North America than there is that which is easily explainable. It is almost like part of the very old history of this land was etched out by some unseen force only to leave scattered fragments here and there to try and piece together. I have lived in the area of Oregon you wrote about and yes, one would think the age-old continuum of human habitation would have easily presented itself but it is not so easy. It is the same in Eastern Wash. but there is always more - just keep looking. Upon the large stone rock cliffs beneath the moss and lichens you could just possibly uncover more parts of the mystery. And as amazing as it might sound it could be the huge carved image of the profile of an ancient king or queen. I personally believe it is more likely that many of these really old cultures here were systematically wiped out or compromised in other ways due to warfare over natural and yes, political and religious resources. Throughout world history, very powerful nations have been brought to their knees when enormous mounts of wealth and prestige were at stake. North America is and has been no different.
User avatar
mahalla22
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Apr 23, 2016 2:59 pm


Return to North American

  • Who is online

    Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest