Magazine article Geographical

Stone Cold in Sitka: A Devastating Landslide near the City of Sitka in Alaska Last September Has Unearthed Evidence of Early Human Occupation in the Region-A Prehistoric Hammer or 'Handmaul'

Magazine article Geographical

Stone Cold in Sitka: A Devastating Landslide near the City of Sitka in Alaska Last September Has Unearthed Evidence of Early Human Occupation in the Region-A Prehistoric Hammer or 'Handmaul'

Article excerpt

Seven inches of rainfall in a 24-hour period triggered last year's Sitka landslide, which brought down over 100 acres of mountainside, virtually destroyed the Starrigavan valley and damaged watershed restoration projects in the area. Hydrologists Mart Becker and KK Prussian were looking for stone samples and carrying out geological mapping in the area affected when they discovered a strange stone sitting in the rubble.

'I thought it was just a cool weathered rock and held it in my hand and started walking back down to KK,' says Becker. 'As I was walking, it suddenly hit me this thing was really comfortable and so I took a closer look at it.'

Becker had found a prehistoric hand tool, a T-shaped handmaul. The stone tool is common in Northwest Coast native cultures from the Columbia River to Yakutat and were used until 700-800 years ago, according to the Canadian Museum of History.

It would have been used for driving wedges made from softer material, such as wood, antler or sea mammal. …

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