Museum

Swan Point

The Swan Point site is on a hill that overlooks the wetlands of the Shaw Creek Flats, and contained the evidence of multiple occupations that date back to 14,000 years ago. These flats are within the traditional territories of the Salcha-Goodpaster bands of the Middle Tanana Athabascans. Shaw Creek meanders across the flats and has the name Debedee Na', meaning 'sheep horn creek', and its mouth Debe Dacheege, or ‘sheep mouth’ in the Middle Tanana Language.

Excavation units and plastic bags containing artifacts at the Swan Point site in June 2016. The Swan Point site is located in the Shaw Creek Basin on a bedrock knob that overlooks the flats and wetlands. The site contains artifacts, faunal remains and hearths dating back 14,000 years ago, currently the oldest human occupation in northern North America, to the 1930s. Photos courtesy of Dr. Charles Holmes.
Excavation units and plastic bags containing artifacts at the Swan Point site in June 2016. The Swan Point site is located in the Shaw Creek Basin on a bedrock knob that overlooks the flats and wetlands. The site contains artifacts, faunal remains and hearths dating back 14,000 years ago, currently the oldest human occupation in northern North America, to the 1930s. Photos courtesy of Dr. Charles Holmes.

 

Excavators working at the Swan Point site in June 2016. The Swan Point site is located in the Shaw Creek Basin on a bedrock knob that overlooks the flats and wetlands. The site contains artifacts, faunal remains and hearths dating back 14,000 years ago, currently the oldest human occupation in northern North America, to the 1930s. Photos courtesy of Dr. Charles Holmes.

An Athabascan tradition component dates between 1040 and 1260. From the items recovered, we can see that a small hunting band camped on the hill while observing game in the wetlands beneath. They had a campfire, butchered game, cached food in a pit, and repaired weapons. Other Athabascan tools found at Swan Point include stone and antler projectile points for hunting animals, an adze fragment for chopping bone or wood, boulder spall scrapers for skinning, and a copper awl for piercing hides.


 

Lithic artifacts from Swan Point. (Photo by UAMN).

  

Copper and bone artifact from Swan Point. (Photo by UAMN).


3D artifacts may be downloaded. You must have Adobe Reader to view these files.
Notched point
Projectile point
Copper awl
Bone awl

 

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