Native American beliefs that Yurok and

people have lived in Del Norte County for all time get at least some backing from local archaeological data.

Archaeologists have determined that a site at Point St. George dates back about 2,300 years. That makes the Tolowa spot the oldest documented spot on Del Norte County coast, said Adrian Whitaker, a graduate student at the University of California at Davis who has studied the region.

Another site, though, vies for that record.

A spot excavated in 2003 in Hiouchi near the campgrounds at Jedediah Smith State Park show that Tolowa lived there about 7,000 years ago, said Jim Wheeler, a ranger and interpreter at Redwood National and State Parks.

"That pushes the archeological dates back in the county several thousand years," Wheeler said.

The old settlement also proves that the Tolowa lived year-round at inland spots, not just on the coast.

Those coastal settlements may give only the latest information, anyway, Wheeler said, noting the changes to the Pacific Ocean shoreline where older sites may have washed away.

- Triplicate staff