London, November 6 (ANI): A team of archaeologists has claimed to have found the oldest known artefact in the Americas, a scraper-like tool in an Oregon cave that dates back 14,230 years.
The tool shows that people were living in North America well before the widespread Clovis culture of 12,900 to 12,400 years ago, archaeologist Dennis Jenkins of the University of Oregon in Eugene, told Nature News.
Studies of sediment and radiocarbon dating showed the bone's age.
Jenkin's team found the tool in a rock shelter overlooking a lake in south-central Oregon, one of a series of caves near the town of Paisley.
According to Kevin Smith, the team member who uncovered the artefact, "We had bumped into a lot of extinct horse, bison and camel bone - then I heard and felt the familiar ring and feel when trowel hits bone."
"I switched to a brush. Soon, this huge bone emerged, then I saw the serrated edge. I stepped back and said: 'Hey everybody - we got something here'," he said.
Whether the cave dwellers were Clovis people or belonged to an earlier culture is uncertain. None of the Clovis people's distinct fluted spear and arrow points have been found in the cave.
"They can't yet rule out the Paisley Cave people weren't Clovis," said Jon Erlandson, an archaeologist at the University of Oregon.
The only other American archaeological site older than Clovis is at Monte Verde in Chile, which is about 13,900 years old. (ANI)