Oldest artifact ever discovered in North America found in Bell County

Posted at 10:30 PM, Nov 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-16 08:46:57-05

Recent discoveries in a Central Texas archeological site may re-write history.

Scientists have confirmed that some of the artifacts they’ve found in Bell County are the oldest ever discovered in North America.

This truly became a Central Texas project.

Scientists from Texas A&M and the University of Texas worked the site, while scientists at Baylor University actually did the dating of the objects and made the shocking discovery, nestled among the rock quarries of southern Bell County. 

They’ve found the oldest human settlement in North America, a settlement that goes back 15,000 years.

Dr. Steven Forman and his team at Baylor University confirmed the findings.

"What we’re doing is, we’re pushing back the boundaries, we’re defining basically the new knowledge of when humans came into North America," Forman said.

His team takes archeological samples and can pinpoint their age… making them the first to know about the new discovery.

"It’s pretty cool actually to do all that," said Forman.

What’s more… they do most of their work in the dark, with extremely delicate instruments that measure radioactive decay… and helping re-write history.

If you’re looking to find the dig site, you’ll have a tough time. It sits along the Bell-Williamson County line just a short distance off the highway but what they found here has re-written history in the way we think about the arrival of humans in North America.

Dr. Mike Waters of Texas A&M, who oversees the site, says the findings pre-date what scientists had long considered the oldest artifacts found in New Mexico, by thousands of years.

"This is a campsite, people were living there, and so we found all sorts of tools a full range of the toolkit that these early people had," said Waters.

He says, those tools, and how those early people made them, help paint a picture of their lives as North America’s first settlers.

Dr. Forman calls it a "changing picture."

"I think we’re in a period right now, in which our knowledge of when humans ran across our planet is being greatly revised," said Forman.

And he says, the fact that it happened in Central Texas, puts the team from Baylor, A&M and the University of Texas in the driver’s seat for re-telling history.

"One of the exciting things about being a scientist, you get to do things that no one else is doing and you’re the first ones, basically doing it," said Forman.

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