Thursday, October 17 | 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM | Water CenterAlways sparsely populated, Northern Idaho’s ground is giving up clues to the first human populations in the area, how they lived, what tools they used, and which animals fed them.
Archaeological investigations in the Clearwater River region, located within the boundaries of traditional Nez Perce Country (north central Idaho) began in the early 1960s and since then hundreds of prehistoric sites have been identified. For the past three years we have been investigating the Kelly Forks Work Center on the upper North Fork of the Clearwater River where a series of 26 radiocarbon dates demonstrate intermittent human occupation from approximately 12,000 to 200 years ago. Stone tools indicate that the site was used for hunting, fishing, and related processing tasks. Obsidian sourcing shows that the prehistoric inhabitants of the site obtained material from south Idaho, western Montana, and central Oregon. Protein residue analysis of stone tools demonstrates that mammals ranging from bison to rabbits were hunted and processed. Our investigations indicate that the Kelly Forks Work Center site was located at the interface between the Columbia Plateau and Northern Rockies. The results of recent and ongoing research in the Clearwater River region will be presented.
About the PresenterLee Sappington, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Idaho
Robert Lee Sappington graduated from the University of Texas (Austin) in 1974 with a BA in anthropology. After working at archaeological sites across Texas and in New Mexico he began graduate studies at the University of Idaho (UI). He did his thesis research on the prehistoric Lydle Gulch site on the Boise River. After completion of his MA degree in 1981 he became a research associate at UI and investigated prehistoric and historic sites across Idaho and eastern Washington. He completed an overview of the 12,000-year culture history of the Clearwater River region in north central Idaho for his doctoral dissertation at Washington State University.
Since 1991 he has been teaching at UI where he is currently an associate professor of anthropology and American Indian Studies. Dr. Sappington has investigated dozens of archaeological and historic sites across Idaho between Arco and Bonners Ferry and has worked with numerous federal, state, and local agencies, as well as with the Nez Perce, Coeur d’Alene, Kalispel, and Kutenai Tribes.