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Ancient human footprints uncovered near I-10

Posted at 5:23 PM, Jan 23, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-23 19:23:47-05

PIMA COUNTY (KGUN9-TV) - An ancient discovery was made in Pima County. Archaeologists dug up human footprints from nearly 3,000 years ago while preparing for a transportation project.

Crews uncovered hundreds of footprints while digging through a historic land site off I-10 and Sunset Road. The prints date back between 500 and 800 B.C.. The discovery unveils human activity and ingenuity along the eastern bank of the Santa Cruz River. 

"The fact that we have true evidence of how people were moving and how people were operating in these fields, which is to date, the oldest known in the American Southwest, specifically in an environment that was very inhospitable, it was difficult to get water, and to sustain these crops through that with the amount of water that they were getting," said Ian Milliken, an archaeologist with Pima County. 
 
An archaeological investigation is now underway after prints of adults, a child, and even a canine were unearthed. For about another week, crews will continue to dig, sift and uncover more land in hopes of finding additional prints. 
 
The recent discoveries will change the way experts craft exhibits and conduct research in the future, as they hold a piece of the past in the present. 
 
"We just believe that this a real way for people to understand the past and to get an idea of what happened before us and just really give them a sense of place."
 
The county is opening the site to free public tours over the next two weekends. The first one starts tomorrow at 10 a.m..
 
To view a virtual tour, click here.