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Researchers Dig for Clues of Early Life at INL Site

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Before Idaho National Laboratory existed, before the vast fields of potatoes, the key feature of eastern Idaho's economy was the Big Southern Butte. For thousands of years, archaeologists say, nomadic tribes made regular trips to the butte to mine its deep deposits of obsidian — a black volcanic glass that forms sharp edges when broken. The tribesmen took full advantage of this phenomenon and shaped obsidian into all manner of tools and weapons. Through time, eastern Idaho's abundance of obsidian grew famous, and the tribes began to trade tools and weapons formed from it as something of a currency. Evidence of their activity is littered about the INL site in the form of


FUNDING: This website update was due in part to the generous funding provided by the Idaho State Historical Society in the form of a Community Assistance Grant.

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