Site Name: 
Shelton Mastodon
Date Ranges (Cal yr 2σ): 
13 750 BP
13 970 BP
Site Notes: 

• Older Dryas (Two Creekan type locality) woodland in the Lake Huron area

• Pre-Clovis mastodon hunters

The Shelton Mastodon Site is located on the Shelton Farm on Seymour Lake Rd. between the towns of Oxford and Ortonville, the Brandon Township of Oakland Co., MI. This is vicinity of the Paint Creek tributary of the Clinton River running into the Lake Huron. The glacial landscape of this area inherited the dynamics of the Saginaw and Huron ice lobes. The history of site discovery starts in 1977 when two local teenagers participating in excavation of a farm pond unearthed a skull, teeth and a part of a mastodon tusk, which was named later the “Hattig Mastodon”. The first scientific survey conducted in 1982 evaluated remains of multiple specimens of mastodon at this locality. The site excavation started in 1985 associated with a multidisciplinary project directed by anthropologist J. Shoshani (1989). The project found bones of a mastodon and other extinct mammals in a bed of lacustrine sediments deposited on the top of forested moraine.. The site had a staggering number of cones of white and black spruce, tamarack, balsam fir, and jack, red and white pine. Over 30,000 cones were collected and tree species of 6466 cones were identified. The cone analysis suggests that the wetland was dominantly covered by white spruce (88% of cones) stands with lesser black spruce and tamarack (about 5% each). Most interesting is that the site contains projectile points and culturally modified mastodon bones (evidence of butchering and bone dispersal patterns) attributed to the Pre-Clovis Paleo Indians. Materials of the five-year excavation (bones of vertebrate faun, plant macrofossils and algae) have been archived at the Cranbrook Institute of Science outside of Detroit. We subsampled over 100 wood specimens of spruce and larch from the collection for tree-ring analysis and mastodon bone for 14C re-dating of this site in 2011. The spruce and larch wood of Two Creekan age (Older Dryas) was crossdated into a 218-year tree-ring width chronology dated by 14C wiggle-matching between 13,970 cal Yrs BP and 13,750 cal Yrs BP (Figure ).  Reference: Shoshani et al. 1989. The Shelton Mastodon site: multidisciplinary study of a Late Pleistocene (Twocreekan) locality in southeastern Michigan. Contributions from the  Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan, Vol. 27 (14): 393-436. 

Older Dryas tree-ring record from east Michigan developed from the Shelton wood collection.
Modeling Shelton wood age with radiocarbon wiggle match.
J. Zawiskie | Wood excavation at the site by the Shoshani team.
J. Zawiskie | Overview of Shelton site during excavations (left photo) and now (right photo).