Woolly Mammoth Bones Uncovered

OSU Valley Football Center Expansion

Foundation Engineering provided geotechnical design and is currently providing construction‑phase services for the OSU Valley Football Center Expansion project.  On January 26, 2016, while excavating for the new locker room that will be at field level, the excavation subcontractor uncovered bone-like material and immediately stopped work.  Upon further investigation, it was determined by OSU archaeologists and anthropologists that the bones and bone fragments were from an ice-age woolly mammoth.  The area was cordoned off and over the next 24 hours, careful excavation of the bones led by a team of OSU archeologists and anthropologists uncovered an intact woolly mammoth femur (damaged upon removal from the excavation), pelvis and hundreds of other bone fragments.  In addition to the mammoth bones, bones from a camel and bison were also identified.    

The geologic significance of this find is the bones were uncovered deep within the Willamette Silt deposit, approximately 12 feet below the surrounding grade.  Willamette Silt is a predominately fine-grained, alluvial deposit from the great Missoula Floods  that occurred over a period of ±15,000 to 12,000 years ago.  Therefore, were the animals victims of the flooding or did they die prior to the flood deposits?  The OSU archaeology department will radio carbon date to aid in determining the relative geologic age of the bones and stratigraphic sequence.  We will keep everyone updated as the information becomes available.