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Photos: Unearthing the Alaskan mammoth hunters

Dr. Chuck Holmes drives down the Pogo Mine road to a gravel pit where he will walk a mile through the swamp to Swan Point, an archaeological site and one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dr. Chuck Holmes leads a team of archaeologists and students to Swan Point, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dr. Chuck Holmes leads a team of archaeologists and students in an excavation of Swan Point, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
MJ Rice, left, and Barry Brillantes work on excavating Swan Point, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. Brillantes is a grad student at the University of Michigan. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Yu Hirasawa, a PhD student at Keio University in Tokyo, sifts through dirt with Haley Huff, a student from UAA. June 7, 2013
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Mark Rollins, a state of Alaska employee in the office of history & archaeology, sifts through dirt, looking for artifacts at Swan Point, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Microblade fragments at Swan Point, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Barry Brillantes, a grad student from the University of Michigan, catalogues artifacts at Swan Point. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dr. Chuck Holmes examines an artifact with Mark Rollins at Swan Point, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dr. Chuck Holmes examines a ochre-stained stone tool at Swan Point. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dr. Chuck Holmes calibrates a total station, used to precisely map artifacts at Swan Point, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dr. Chuck Holmes leads a team of archaeologists and students in an excavation of Swan Point, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Pins mark artifacts at the Swan Point archaeological site, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
A microblade in situ at Swan Point, one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska. It contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dr. Chuck Holmes has been excavating Swan Point since the 1990s. It is one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska, and it contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Dr. Chuck Holmes has been excavating Swan Point since the 1990s. It is one of the earliest human settlements ever discovered in Alaska, and it contains evidence of humans hunting Mammoths. June 7, 2013
Loren Holmes photo
Loren Holmes

Swan Point is just north of Delta Junction. You can see the Alaska Range to the south, the Yukon-Tanana Uplands to the north, and Donnelly Dome just across the valley.

Fourteen thousand years ago, long before the boreal forest of today, the views were even better.

"It was an open grassland and mammoths, horse and bison were roaming around. You would have almost a 360-degree vantage to see game coming and going. So this is a really good spot." That's why many different cultures made the site their home over millennia.

FULL STORY: Oldest record of humans in Alaska discovered at Swan Point