With Dennis L. Jenkins, PhD, RPA, Senior Research Archaeologist II and Director of the Northern Great Basin Prehistory Project at the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon
$5 Suggested Donation
Luther Cressman’s 1938-1940 excavations at the Paisley Caves in south central Oregon discovered exciting evidence suggesting that people may have lived there as early as the Late Pleistocene, some 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. However, it was not until recent developments in Ancient DNA testing that he was proven correct. This presentation explains the scientific processes and results of archaeological and paleogenetic investigations at the Paisley Caves, bringing the audience the most up-to-date information about the evidence for the association of humans and Pleistocene animals in Oregon’s high desert country more than 14,000 years ago. Dating of camel and horse bones, artifacts, twigs, and dried human feces containing Native American DNA between 12,900 and 14,500 years ago indicates that people lived in the caves and apparently hunted mammoth or mastodons, camels, horses, and other animals at the end of the Pleistocene (Ice Age) period. This colorful slide show takes the audience through the scientific processes involved in proving the case for pre-Clovis (>13,500 years) human occupations at the world famous Paisley Caves.
Dennis Jenkins is a Senior Research Archaeologist for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon where he received his PhD in 1991. A native Oregonian, he was raised in Las Vegas, Nevada where he earned his BA (1977) and MA (1981) in anthropology at UNLV. He has taught and directed the UO’s annual Northern Great Basin archaeological field school in central Oregon since 1989. His research focuses on the first colonization of the Americas, obsidian sourcing and hydration, prehistoric shell bead trade, and prehistoric settlement-subsistence patterns of the Northern Great Basin. He is an active researcher with publications in such prestigious journals as Science and Nature. He has made 11 appearances in television documentaries aired on History Channel, National Geographic, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Canadian Broad Casting, the Archaeology Channel and Danish TV. Jenkins has authored, co-authored, and edited 8 books, 42 journal articles, chapters, reviews, and published papers, and more than 35 professional reports. He has presented 65 papers at professional conferences and served as conference and symposium chairs for the Great Basin Anthropological Conference and Northwest Anthropological Conference. He is internationally recognized for the identification of ancient human DNA in Pre-Clovis coprolites more than 14,000 years old, currently the oldest directly dated human remains in the Americas, at the Paisley Caves in the Summer Lake basin of south-central Oregon.
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