Neolithic Architecture: Saltville, Smyth County, Virginia

Studied 2 centuries, yet little got published. Located in western Smyth county, Virginia. Within Saltville valley about 1.3km south of north branch, Holston river (major drainage system of SW Virginia).

In 1782, Colonel Arther Campbell mentioned bones of an uncommon size in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

5 identifiable artifacts included: Sandstone knives, a triangular stone, and putative chert tool.

One of the oldest layers contained a “concretion” (putatively bound together by congealed animal fat). Which was probably a mastodon butcher zone.

Outside of this, because of paucity, very little said about human life-way. Other than probably processing the extinct critters, (mastodon, mammoth, and musk ox), Saltville was probably like a puzzle piece to much larger picture.

Controversial Pre-Narches
Flooded river helped perserve plant/animal remains including shales, siltstones, sandstone &limestone geo formations
Saltville Site – Vindicated use of single Mastodon
Saltville River, or Channel Flooded and sediments filled abutted parts of this ancient channel
Sandstone rocks thought to have been butchering axes or knifes for mastodon (mammut americanum)
Mammoth Tooth (bottom), and femur tool of the musk ox (bootherium bombifrons)
Musk Ox butchering tool
Mastodon tusk segments
More bone tools, probably a musk ox

Bibliography: Landers, J. (2021, October 29). Mastodon emerges from a Virginia creek, three decades after first remains found. The Guardian.

Adovasio, J. M., & Pedler, D. (2016a). Strangers in a New Land: What Archaeology Reveals about the First Americans. Firefly Books.

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