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Cleito
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« on: February 24, 2007, 12:11:14 am »

Hi gang, it occurs to me that the best way to prove that there was once a giant island/empire in the Atlantic would be to show evidence of the Americas being settled on and about the time that we all place Atlantis. Is there evidence of such a thing? You betcha! Let's take a look at some of the things that have been found (so far).
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2007, 12:13:07 am »

Desert People of the Past
PREHISTORIC PEOPLES



 

Prehistoric: Prior to written history; in this case, prior to the arrival of the Spanish chroniclers in the Southwest. This term is now favored over the pejorative pre-Columbian (before Columbus), which would indicate a slighty different time frame.



During the past century, investigators have been solving one of the great mysteries of the North American continent: Who built the spectacular, prehistoric* cliff dwellings and other ancient structures scattered throughout the American Southwest?

The key to this mystery, curiously enough, involves farming, and how this simple activity fosters the growth of civilization. We now know that agriculture first evolved in the world's harsh, hot, arid deserts, then spread to more temperate climates -- not the other way around, as one might expect. All civilizations first took root in the deserts of the world, including the deserts of the American Southwest.

A century ago, few would believe that ancestors of the American Indians could be responsible for the magnificent structures of the Desert Southwest. Today, after a century of fieldwork in archeology, the best evidence suggests that ancient farmers built these great civilizations and were the grandparents of the present-day, Native American Pueblo people as well.

 
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Cleito
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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2007, 12:15:00 am »



We know that, although farming was introduced into the southwestern deserts as early 4000 years ago, hunting and gathering remained an important means of acquiring food until about 500 BC, when the agricultural revolution  flourished with the regular cultivation of corn, beans and squash. The evolution of corn (maize) itself was a critical element in this process. As with everywhere else in the world, this led to a sedentary lifestyle, the adoption of cooperative, organized social structures and, in turn, to the formation of urban settlements including, in this case, spectacular cliff dwellings.

The prehistoric peoples of the Four Corners region shared common archaic roots, but different adaptations to regional variations in environment, climate and resources, together with different levels of Mesoamerican influence, resulted in formation of the three primary cultures known today as the Southwest Tradition: the Mogollon, the Hohokam and the Anasazi.Other, possibly related, prehistoric cultures interspersed in this region, including the Sinagua, Salado and Hakataya.

The Southwest's arid desert climate has been very effective in preserving many of the cities, towns and cultural remains of these prehistoric peoples. Tree ring dating has provided very accurate dates from 500 BC to about 1500 AD. There are 28 federal areas -- existing or proposed -- in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico designed to protect and display this treasury of spectacular artifacts. Thousands of other archeological sites are under the protection of state and local entities throughout the Four Corners region.



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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2007, 12:16:17 am »

THE NATIVE AMERICAN PEOPLES OF OUR WESTERN DESERTS

- A GENERAL CHRONOLOGY -

Paleo-Indians
Arrival date uncertain to 6500 B. C.

Desert Archaic
6500 B. C. to 1200 B. C.

The Anasazi (Ancestral to Modern Pueblos)
Basketmaker
1200 B. C. to 700 A. D.
Pueblo
700 A. D. to Present

Mogollon (Possibly Ancestral to Hopis & Zunis)
0 A. D. to 1500 A. D.

Hohokam (Possibly Ancestral to Pimas)
100 B. C. to 1300 A. D.

Fremont (Possibly Ancestral to Utes)
400 A. D. to 1300 A. D.

Patayan (Yuman)
500 A. D. to Present

Sinagua
1100 A. D. to 1400 A. D.

The Athapaskan (Apache & Navajo)
1500 A. D. (or Earlier) to Present




Note: This chronology is meant to furnish no more than a general idea of the time of existence of several of the better known Native American peoples of the southwestern U. S. and northern Mexico. While some times, archaeologists can speak with confidence about cultures and dates, more often, the development of chronologies for the cultures of the region is comparable to assembling three-dimensional jig saw puzzles from pieces which often mixed, jumbled, broken and missing. Widespread cultures evolved in different directions at different rates. External cultural influences had different degrees of impact on different cultures over time. Definitions of different cultures mean different things to different archaeologists. Cultural boundaries are elusive. Cultural chronology is a moving target.

Sources:
D.K. Jordan’s Jordan: Southwestern Chronology internet site
G. R. Willey’s An Introduction to American Archaeology, Volume One, North and Middle America

Jay W. Sharp May 2001
 
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2007, 12:17:55 am »

The Topper Site: Pre-Clovis Surprise  Volume 52 Number 4, July/August 1999 
by Mark Rose 


Excavations have revealed a deep stratum with apparently pre-Clovis artifacts at the Topper site on the Savannah River near Allendale, South Carolina. Albert Goodyear, of the University of South Carolina's Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology, was surveying chert sources in 1981, when a local man (named Topper) led him to this site, which is on a hillside near the Savannah River (500 feet from its main branch). Testing in 1984 revealed side-notched points, dated elsewhere to 10,000 (radiocarbon) years before present, were found at 70 to 80 cm and fluted blanks (Clovis preforms) were found at 80 to 100 cm. Later excavations never went beyond the one meter mark. At the time, no site had been accepted as older than Clovis (10,800 to 11,200 radiocarbon years), and there was therefore no reason to expect deeper culture-bearing deposits existed.

In 1998, inspired by potential pre-Clovis sites like Monte Verde, Chile, and Cactus Hill, Virginia, Goodyear decided to dig deeper. After some 40 cm of essentially barren deposits, the excavators began finding small flakes and microtools. Goodyear recalls that he "kind of went into shock. I had no idea we'd find artifacts." This year's excavations have confirmed that discovery.

The lower level, now exposed over a total of 28 square meters, has yielded some 1,000 waste flakes and 15 microtools (mostly microblades). The excavators also found a pile of 20 chert pebbles plus four small quartz pebbles, possible hammerstones.

The same yellow chert was used in the upper and lower levels, but apparently in the upper levels the people had access to large pieces of chert extracted from the hillside and cobbles of it from the riverbed, while in the deeper level only small pebbles of it were used. Because artifacts of the types in the upper level are not found in the lower level and vice versa, Goodyear does not believe the flakes and tools were pushed into the lower level by tree roots or burrowing animals.

For now, dating of the artifacts depends on the stratigraphy and comparison with other sites. There is little organic material preserved in the sandy matrix making radiocarbon-dating difficult. Samples for carbon-dating and OSL (optically stimulated luminescence) dating are now being analyzed.

Goodyear thinks the site was used for the exploitation of chert pebbles sometime between 12,000 and 20,000 years ago. No evidence of bifaces and unifaces typical of later Clovis have been found in the lower level, and Goodyear looks to Siberian microblade industries for parallels. Artifacts from possible pre-Clovis sites, including Topper, Cactus Hill, and Meadowcroft (in Pennsylvania), will be shown to Asian scholars at the Smithsonian this August. Plans call for excavations at Topper, which stopped at the end of May, to resume next spring.


© 1999 by the Archaeological Institute of America
www.archaeology.org/9907/newsbriefs/clovis.html

http://www.archaeology.org/9907/newsbriefs/clovis.html

http://www.desertusa.com/ind1/du_peo_ancient.html
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2007, 12:21:14 am »

The Earliest Arrivals
Scotty MacNeish’s Pendejo Cave

 

With this article by Jay W. Sharp, DesertUSA is kicking off a monthly series on the Native American peoples of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The series begins here with the earliest arrivals. It will proceed through the modern tribes and, finally, some of the extraordinary Native American individuals who shaped the history of our desert region.

"Pendejo Cave," archaeologist R. S. "Scotty" MacNeish called it. Located in south central New Mexico in the desert basin between the Sacramento and Guadalupe Mountain ranges to the east and the Organ Mountain range to the west, Pendejo (Spanish vernacular for "coward" or "jerk") Cave doesn’t look like much.

It lies recessed into a 40-foot thick limestone stratum near the top of the south side of an isolated and rugged drainage called by the appropriate name of "Rough Canyon." It overlooks a talus slope covered with typical Chihuahuan Desert vegetation: creosotebush, mesquite, prickly pears, cane cholla, acacia and various hedgehog cacti. Its mouth, open to the north winds of winter, spans perhaps 15 or 16 feet in width and some 25 feet in height. Its depth runs maybe 35 or 40 feet, narrowing like a funnel through rough and tumbling limestone floor, ceiling and walls.

After a visit to the cave with MacNeish in the early 1990’s, my wife, Martha, and I, could scarcely imagine why he, of all people, would have chosen such a place for excavation. MacNeish (killed at 82 years of age in a car crash in Belize on January 17, 2001) stood at the pinnacle of his profession, a legend in American archaeology.

"Wait until we get back to the lab and you see what we’ve found," Scotty said.

If what MacNeish and his team discovered during excavations from 1990 to 1993 in Pendejo Cave weathers the storm of controversy it has raised in American archaeology, it will help change fundamental beliefs about when man first appeared in the Southwest and, in fact, in the Americas. It includes not only extinct animal remains, basketry, a pendant, apparent crude stone and bone tools and possibly even human hair, but astonishingly, clay-lined fire pits with apparent human finger and palm prints still impressed in the hardened clay. From the stratigraphy of the artifactual deposits, MacNeish’s team learned that prehistoric peoples had evidently occupied Pendejo Cave at various times over the millennia, the last time, about 13,000 years ago, the first time, a mind-bending 50,000 years ago. This means, if a skeptical cadre of scientists should eventually accept the dates, that Pendejo Cave – this nondescript place in the harsh Chihuahuan Desert – would be among the earliest, if not the earliest, of the known occupation sites in North America. It would be another archaeological triumph for R. S. "Scotty" MacNeish.

The First Americans

Previously, conservative archaeologists have thought that humans arrived in the Americas no more than 12,000 or maybe 14,000 years ago. More adventurous archaeologists have speculated that the first arrivals could have occurred as early as 20,000 years ago. Based on disputed data from various sites across the Americas, a few have ventured to suggest dates as old as 40,000 years ago. Most have a healthy scientific skepticism about proposed arrival dates 50,000 years or more ago.

The data from Pendejo Cave and other ancient archaeological sites have so far given us a very dim picture of the first arrivals to the arid region of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. In fact, we have only a dim picture of how or when humans first reached the Americas. Traditionally, researchers have thought that nomadic groups of foragers must have wandered from northeastern Siberia across the Bering Strait into Alaska some tens of thousands of years ago, during one or several of the great "Ice Ages." That seems reasonable. Two-mile thick continental glaciers created a passageway by locking up massive stores of the earth’s water, lowering the sea level by several hundred feet, and exposing the Bering Strait as a land bridge.

Plausibly, over time, the foraging peoples who reached Alaska could have followed a glacier-free river basin called the Mackenzie Corridor southward through Canada into the United States. Equally plausible, they could have followed North America’s Pacific coast line by foot or by small boat southward into the United States. Unfortunately, archaeologists have found no incontrovertible evidence of the early foragers in the Mackenzie Corridor, and they have been virtually cut off from the early coastal sites by the modern higher sea level. Clouding the issue still more, some investigators have suggested within the past few years that early groups may have crossed the Pacific and even the Atlantic to reach the Americas. Possibly, over time, early immigrants to the Americas used some combination of all those routes.

The quest for the first Americans is akin to a treasure hunt with few clues and no map. The challenges to the data from Scotty MacNeish’s Pendejo Cave and other apparently ancient sites will likely continue for years.

Then and Now

When the first foraging peoples reached the southwestern United States and northern Mexico, evidently sometime during the Ice Ages, they found a climate, a landscape and animal populations very different from those of modern times. Scientists have been able to reconstruct and even map Ice Age climatic conditions and plant and animal communities of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico by studying floral and faunal remains preserved over time in places such as fossilized pack rat middens (or nests), lake bottoms, watering holes, wetland sites, bogs, former wooded regions and caves. They have found mummified camels and ground sloths in places such as caves and even volcanic vents.

During the Ice Ages, annual average temperatures in our region ranged some five to 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder than the 50 to 70 degree span we typically see today. Annual average rainfall ranged several inches higher than the two to 14 inches we usually experience today.

Subalpine forests of spruce and fir grew far down the flanks of the mountains, to elevations as low as 5000 feet. Pinyon pine, juniper and Gambel oaks grew out into the intermontane basins, from elevations of 5000 down to 1000 feet. In the southwestern United States, desert vegetation grew only at the lowest elevations, for instance, in Death Valley and along the lower Colorado River. The giant saguaro cactus, a symbol of modern Arizona, grew only far south of the border, well down in Mexico.

By contrast, in today’s hotter and drier climate, the spruce and fir forests have retreated far up into the mountains, to the elevations above 9000 feet. Ponderosa pine has extended its range northward through the Colorado Rockies, at elevations from 6000 to 9000 feet. The pinyon, juniper and oak woodlands have abandoned the basin floors, retreating to the lower flanks of the mountains. The desert has expanded from northern Mexico well up into the southwestern United States, now defining the character of northern Sonora and Chihuahua and of southern California, Arizona, southern Nevada, southern Utah, southwestern Colorado, New Mexico and western Texas.

Southwestern Ice Age animal populations included big game such as mastodons, mammoths, long-horned bison, horses, camels and giant sloths. With the end of the last Ice Age, roughly 12,000 years ago, most of the big game animals died out, unable to survive the climate change and Paleo-Indian hunting pressures. The animal community changed profoundly, although a few big game species and many smaller species have survived into modern times.
 http://www.desertusa.com/mag01/may/main/cave.html

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« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2007, 12:24:41 am »

This material is presented for consideration by anyone with an interest in the early habitation of North America, describing artifacts first recognized and re- corded in 1987 at an unglaciated hilltop site in southeastern Ohio.  These have appeared in large quantity, at depths of from near the surface to well over a meter below, and the surface of this large site has only been scratched.  At this point, five doctorate-level professionals - archaeologists, geologists, and a forensic biologist - have identified human agency in both lithic and organic material.  The Ohio Historic Preservation Office has included the site in the Ohio Archaeological Inventory, recognizing evidence of prehistoric habitation, although they are unable at this point to identify temporal or cultural associa- tion.  Since they lack the funding and staffing needed even to keep up with Ohio's many typically "Indian" sites, this is as far as their involvement seems likely to progress.

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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2007, 12:41:04 am »

Human Figure in Quartz Sandstone - Day's Knob Site



This figure of apparently non-local quartz sandstone appeared eroding from the hillside at the spring that supplies the site with water.  Not surprisingly, artifacts are in great abundance in the area of the spring.  This piece has been identified by a professional geologist/petrologist, Dr. Eric Law, as likely being artificial in origin.  His evaluation is presented farther down the page.  Dr. Roy Mapes, professor of geology at Ohio University, has also confirmed apparent human modification.


 
 

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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2007, 12:44:13 am »

Below:  In the large middle photo, the figure rotated horizontally about eighty degrees clockwise (shown at an intermediate angle in the leftmost photo).  The front edge of the human profile is still discernable at the left, but the figure "morphs" into the classic image of a bird-like creature sending forth a quasi-human head from its beak; in turn, a small figure also emerges from the head's mouth, lower right.  (As always, a two-dimen- sional photo does not really do the job; when one examines the actual stone, the imagery is quite vivid.  And photographing these things well is not easy!)


 

 
 
 

Above:  The flat and polished bottom of the figure, which allows it to stand firmly upright.  This surface incorporates the very common Janus-like image of a bird-like head (left) and a more anthropomorphic one (right).  Note the clearly carved eye and iris of the bird head, a distinctive feature of the zoo-anthropomorphic figures at this site.

Dr. Eric Law, chair of the geology department at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, has taken an interest in the material at this site.  His specialty is petrology, the branch of geology dealing with the origin, composition, structure, and alteration of rocks.  In evaluating these objects, he does not consider the matter of incorporated imagery, but only whether or not the physical properties of a given rock would allow it to acquire its current form entirely through natural processes.  Following is his assess- ment of the object shown above:

In rough estimation, this rock sample is of approximately 80% quartz grain and 20% matrix. The lack of other mineral grains in the rock makes this rock most likely non-native to Ohio.  Judged only by naked-eye observation, it seems to be a quartz sandstone with a weak, possibly clayey, or less likely, carbonate cementing matrix.  Most of the quartz grain of this rock is 1 mm or larger in diameter.  There is one relatively flat surface on the sample, so the sample can stand on it with the elongated direction up.  The surface is slightly concave, but is very smooth to the touch.  Magnified view shows all quartz grains on this surface are cut across the grain.  Some grains apparently are polycrystalline, and crystal boundaries in the grain are clearly observable.  Such a section, which cuts across quartz grains could only be done by phys- ical cutting or polishing.  Considering that this surface is the only flat one, and is one of the smallest surfaces on this sample, it is also unlikely that it was caused by glacial abrasion.  So, a tentative conclusion is that this flat surface is most likely artificially made.
There are three dents appearing on the flat surface.  Grainy texture is clearly visible on the surface of the dents.  There is no obvious natural process that would cause these three dents (only) on the polished surface.  It is highly possible that the three small dents are also artificial in origin.
 
 
Dr. Law commented later in an e-mail that the deep indentations in the smooth bottom surface must have been made with a sharply pointed object.
The verification by a physical scientist that this object is not likely of natural origin is significant in that this piece is unusually explicit in its incorporation of the human and bird motifs, and the transformation from one to the other, as well as that of one creature emerging from the mouth of another; all this seems to constitute part of the leitmotif in artifact material at this site as well as others, not only in North America.   

There has been fierce opposition to acknowledging the presence of the usually crude but quite recognizable stones carved in these images in North America, based mainly on preconceptions related to the paradigm of humans arriving relatively recently on this continent, being present only in small bands of nomadic hunters dashing about and just trying to survive, with no time to create symbolic objects.  And this is in the face of convincing evidence at sites like Gault, where people of the Clovis era were apparently living well established in large numbers on a full-time basis, and intricately carving stones of a purely aesthetic/symbolic nature.  Paradigms, which are based on whatever information one happens have at a given point in time, come and go.  It is time for this one to go.

 
 

Above:  The object rotated 180° both vertically and horizontally.  Although cruder and not displaying the human-to bird transformation when horizontally rotated, this human image is unmistakably similar to the one shown above.
 
 

 

 

A human figure in hematite, also displaying the "transformation" effect when rotated horizontally.  Click the image for expansion and description.

 

 

One of several large carved limestone boulders at the spring where the quartz sandstone figure shown at the top of this page appeared.  Note the sculpted bird head emerging from the mouth of the rightmost of the two conjoined larger figures.  It appears that this is an artificial enhancement of features created naturally by water flow.
 

           
   
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2007, 12:46:03 am »



Above:  The flat and polished bottom of the figure, which allows it to stand firmly upright.  This surface incorporates the very common Janus-like image of a bird-like head (left) and a more anthropomorphic one (right).  Note the clearly carved eye and iris of the bird head, a distinctive feature of the zoo-anthropomorphic figures at this site.

Dr. Eric Law, chair of the geology department at Muskingum College in New Concord, Ohio, has taken an interest in the material at this site.  His specialty is petrology, the branch of geology dealing with the origin, composition, structure, and alteration of rocks.  In evaluating these objects, he does not consider the matter of incorporated imagery, but only whether or not the physical properties of a given rock would allow it to acquire its current form entirely through natural processes.  Following is his assess- ment of the object shown above:

In rough estimation, this rock sample is of approximately 80% quartz grain and 20% matrix. The lack of other mineral grains in the rock makes this rock most likely non-native to Ohio.  Judged only by naked-eye observation, it seems to be a quartz sandstone with a weak, possibly clayey, or less likely, carbonate cementing matrix.  Most of the quartz grain of this rock is 1 mm or larger in diameter.  There is one relatively flat surface on the sample, so the sample can stand on it with the elongated direction up.  The surface is slightly concave, but is very smooth to the touch.  Magnified view shows all quartz grains on this surface are cut across the grain.  Some grains apparently are polycrystalline, and crystal boundaries in the grain are clearly observable.  Such a section, which cuts across quartz grains could only be done by phys- ical cutting or polishing.  Considering that this surface is the only flat one, and is one of the smallest surfaces on this sample, it is also unlikely that it was caused by glacial abrasion.  So, a tentative conclusion is that this flat surface is most likely artificially made.
There are three dents appearing on the flat surface.  Grainy texture is clearly visible on the surface of the dents.  There is no obvious natural process that would cause these three dents (only) on the polished surface.  It is highly possible that the three small dents are also artificial in origin.
 
 
Dr. Law commented later in an e-mail that the deep indentations in the smooth bottom surface must have been made with a sharply pointed object.
The verification by a physical scientist that this object is not likely of natural origin is significant in that this piece is unusually explicit in its incorporation of the human and bird motifs, and the transformation from one to the other, as well as that of one creature emerging from the mouth of another; all this seems to constitute part of the leitmotif in artifact material at this site as well as others, not only in North America.   

There has been fierce opposition to acknowledging the presence of the usually crude but quite recognizable stones carved in these images in North America, based mainly on preconceptions related to the paradigm of humans arriving relatively recently on this continent, being present only in small bands of nomadic hunters dashing about and just trying to survive, with no time to create symbolic objects.  And this is in the face of convincing evidence at sites like Gault, where people of the Clovis era were apparently living well established in large numbers on a full-time basis, and intricately carving stones of a purely aesthetic/symbolic nature.  Paradigms, which are based on whatever information one happens have at a given point in time, come and go.  It is time for this one to go.

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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2007, 12:50:19 am »



Above:  The object rotated 180° both vertically and horizontally.  Although cruder and not displaying the human-to bird transformation when horizontally rotated, this human image is unmistakably similar to the one shown above.
 
 


A human figure in hematite, also displaying the "transformation" effect when rotated horizontally.  Click the image for expansion and description.

 



One of several large carved limestone boulders at the spring where the quartz sandstone figure shown at the top of this page appeared.  Note the sculpted bird head emerging from the mouth of the rightmost of the two conjoined larger figures.  It appears that this is an artificial enhancement of features created naturally by water flow.
 
http://www.daysknob.com/H05.htm
 

           
 

 
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2007, 12:52:01 am »

The Japan Times
April 6, 2000
The Washington Post
Remains point to 'pre-Clovis' Americans


WASHINGTON — Archaeologists said Tuesday they have strong new evidence from campfire remains at a southern Virginia sand dune that humans inhabited the Western Hemisphere as early as 17,000 years ago, adding further fuel to the bitter debate over who the first Americans were and where they came from.

Team leader Joseph McAvoy said new lab tests of material from Cactus Hill, about 70 km south of Richmond, confirmed human habitation at two levels. The most recent is 10,920 years old, while the oldest is at least 15,000 years old, and may be as old as 17,000 years.

The later level corresponds closely in time to the so-called "Clovis" culture, for decades regarded as the nation's first, created by immigrants who crossed a land bridge from Asia 11,200 years ago and over the next 500 years peopled the entire land mass from the Arctic to the tip of South America.

But the lower level is roughly comparable in time to southwestern Pennsylvania's Meadowcroft rock shelter. While archaeologists have scattered indications of far older American settlements, Cactus Hill and Meadowcroft are the only ones presenting extensive evidence of a pre-Clovis culture.

And of more importance, Cactus Hill has "a very well-documented Clovis level, and something under it that is not Clovis," McAvoy said, and can be used to suggest that someone — either from Asia or elsewhere — settled the Americas before Clovis.

This argument, damned as heresy by the archaeological establishment for years, is gaining increasing acceptance, although debate continues to rage. "To me," McAvoy said, pre-Clovis settlement "is irrefutable."

McAvoy, a professional archaeologist working on grants from Virginia and the National Geographic Society, said he began serious excavation of Cactus Hill in 1993, bringing discipline to a site that was inadvertently discovered in the 1980s when a load of sand dumped onto a logging company's roadbed turned out to be filled with ancient artifacts.

The new evidence was to be presented this week at the Society for American Archaeology's annual meeting in Philadelphia.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.trussel.com/prehist/news190.htm
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2007, 12:54:37 am »

America's Clovis vs Pre-Clovis Controversy and
Japan's Early Palaeolithic Controversy:
A Comparison in Approaches
Home | Index
by Charles T. Keally
January 10, 2001

________________________________________
I have been watching the American "Pre-Clovis" controversy rather closely for the past 15 years or so. There is much about it that makes it similar to the Japanese "Early Palaeolithic" controversy, and I feel it is very helpful for getting ideas about how to conduct the research in Japan.
The National Geographic magazine recently published an article on the "Hunt for the First Americans" (Parfit 2000), which gives a good overview and introduction to the Pre-Clovis controversy. It is very much worth reading for comparison to the Japanese Early Palaeolithic controversy.
The level of academic and sceintific research going into the Pre-Clovis controversy makes the Early Palaeolithic controversy look like the work of novices playing at grown-up archaeology. If it were baseball, it would be the major leagues compared to the neighborhood kids in the sandlot. This National Geographic article makes clear that the Japanese Early Palaeolithic research and controversy have a long ways to go to reach international standards.
The Pre-Clovis research is extremely interdisciplinary. It is also extremely scientific and academic. Both publications and conferences purposefully include contributors from both (all?) sides of the controversy. Many independent archaeologists and groups are working on both/all sides, too. Criticism is common and public, and often heated, and sometimes nasty. But criticisms are answered directly, and a large amount of time, labor and money often go into seeking answers for the criticisms. All of these characteristics of the Pre-Clovis controversy seem to be largely missing from the Japanese Early Palaeolithic controversy.
Quotations from the National Geographic article will help make clear some of the differences. These quotations express the ideas that the archaeologists involved in the Clovis vs Pre-Clovis controversy feel that (1) controversy is exciting and useful, (2) most ideas are speculation, (3) questioning is and should be common, (4) solid scientific evidence is required, (5) vigorous and public debate is normal, (6) people can, do and should change their minds with new evidence or arguments, and (7) people should enjoy having their ideas criticized. Most of these ideas and quotations cannot be applied to a description of the way Japan's Early Palaeolithic controversy is being conducted (the emphases in red are mine).
CONTROVERSY IS EXCITING & USEFUL
•   A flood of new data has thrown the study of early Americans into exciting disarray. (p. 41)
•   "It's chaos." But it is a fertile kind of chaos, with new ideas brewing everywhere in the mix. (p. 53)
•   So the evidence...remains exciting but inconclusive. (p. 60)
•   Today the study of early Americans stands at a moment of scientific turmoil.... (p. 67)
MOST IDEAS ARE SPECULATION
•   Of course this is all speculation. There is absolutely no solid evidence that the first human beings to come to the Americas passed anywhere near this [southeastern Alsakan] coastline. (p. 44)
•   This is a bad time if you want certainty.... (p. 44)
•   ...cast old concepts in doubt, while others haven't fully developed to take their place. (p. 44)
QUESTIONING IS COMMON
•   We have entered a period of widespread questioning. (p. 44)
•   In a very controversial debate of shapes of skulls.... (p. 45)
•   ...one argument for a controversial theory.... (p. 46)
•   But other archaeologists disagree. (p. 53)
•   These varied opinions.... (p. 53)
•   "We are a discipline, not an exact science. We shouldn't pretend we are. Everything is subject to interpretation." [comment by an unnamed female Canadian archaeologist] (p. 53)
•   ...consensus on some critical issues appears to be far off. (p. 53)
SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE IS REQUIRED
•   For decades attempts to find proof of earlier [than Clovis] people failed the rigorous tests of archaeological science. (p. 48)
•   "You begin to see how easy it is to misinterpret things." [quoting C. Vance Haynes] (p. 52)
•   ...statistically analyzed thousands of skeletal measurements to find links between populations. (p. 58)
•   Specualtion is abundant, but the basic raw materials of science -- real, conclusive evidence itself -- is very hard to find. (p. 67)
•   ...another tantalizing -- but untested -- theory.... (p. 60)
•   "One of the great failings of archaeology," he [Lawrence Guy Straus] told me, "is a continuous falling back on the notion that if a couple of things resemble one another, they have to have the same source. But these similarities appear and reappear time and again in different places." (p. 61)
•   ...very loud conclusions based on very slender evidence. (p. 61)
VIGOROUS DEBATE IS NORMAL
•   Disagreement on all these theories [including DNA and linguistics theories] is vorciferous. (p. 49)
•   Arguments over these uncertainties [association of artifacts and dated materials, contamination of dates, stratification, etc.] can be public and fierce. (p. 51)
•   ...a scathing critique of the Monte Verde findings.... (p. 51)
•   The critique was immediately attacked by some archaeologists and supported by others. (p. 51)
•   Some of the archaeologists...scoff at [this theory]. Loudly. (p. 61)
PEOPLE CHANGE THEIR MINDS
•   One of those who had endorsed the Monte Verde findings...a geologist preeminant...was backing away from his endorsement.... (p. 51)
•   ...some archaeologists seemed so cautious about dynamic new ideas.... (pp. 51-52)
PEOPLE ENJOY BEING CRITICIZED
•   "We're [Dennis Stanford, Smithosonian, and Bruce Bradley, archaeologist] going to have a lot of bright graduate students trying to prove we're wrong." (p. 61)
________________________________________
You can get a preview of the National Geographic's article at:
http://www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0012/feature3/index.html
Other related links:
•   Center for the Study of the First Americans (a research center devoted to the study of the first humans in the Americas, and a central source for bringing together the varied opinions on the Clovis vs Pre-Clovis controversy)
•   Mammoth Trumpet (quarterly publication of the Center for the Study of the First Americans, with lots of articles on the Clovis vs Pre-Clovis controversy)
•   Mammoth Trumpet 13(3) 1998 (one issue with most articles on the Clovis vs Pre-Clovis controversy)
•   Discovering Archaeology Monte Verde Revisited (November/December 1999)
•   Monte Verde Controversy: The Rush to Publish -- Archaeology
•   Monte Verde Under Fire
•   One Archaeologist's Perspective on the Monte Verde Controvery (by David Hurst Thomas)
•   Artifact Provenience at Monte Verde: Confusion and Contradictions (Stuart J. Fiedel's paper in Discovering Archaeology November/December 1999)
•   On Monte Verde: Fiedel's Confusions and Misrepresentations (Tom Dillehay's response to criticism of Monte Verde)
•   Discovering Archaeology Special Report: The Puzzle of the First Americans, (January/February 2000)
•   Proving Pre-Clovis: Criteria for Confirming Human Antiquity in the New World (Michael R. Walters's paper in Discovering Archaeology January/February 2000)
________________________________________
Some of the publications I have on the Pre-Clovis controversy are:
•   Bonnichsen, Robson, and D. Gentry Steele (eds.). 1994. Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of the Americas. Peopling of the Americas Publications. Corvallis, Oregon: Center for the Study of the First Americans, Department of Anthropology, Oregon State University. 264 pp.
•   Bryan, Alan Lyle (ed.). 1978. Early Man in America: from a Circum-Pacific Perspective. Occasional Papers No. 1 of the Department of Anthropology, University of Alberta. Edmond, Canada: Archaeological Researches International. 327 pp.
•   Bryan, Alan Lyle (ed.). 1986. New Evidence for the Pleistocene Peopling of the Americas. Peopling of the Americas. Orono: Center for the Study of Early Man, University of Maine at Orono. 368 pp.
________________________________________
References Cited
•   Parfit, Michael (photographs by Kenneth Garrett). 2000. Hunt for the First Americans. National Geographic (December), pp. 40-67.
________________________________________

http://www.t-net.ne.jp/~keally/Hoax/clovis.html
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2007, 12:58:44 am »

Athena Review Vol.2, no.3: Recent Finds in Archaeology


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Pre-Clovis Occupation on the Nottoway River in Virginia

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At Cactus Hill, 45 miles south of Richmond, Virginia, archaeologists led by Joseph McAvoy of the Nottoway River Survey have been working since 1995 to uncover evidence of some of the earliest inhabitants of North America. The site, owned by International Paper Corporation and located on sand dunes above the river, has yielded several levels of prehistoric occupation with two distinct levels of early Paleoindian habitations. The level radiocarbon dated to 10,920 BP contained fluted stone tools of the Clovis type, which are believed to have been used between approximately 11,500-10,000 BP. Beneath lies evidence of an earlier human occupation on the same site, including white pine charcoal from a hearth context dated to 15,070 radiocarbon years BP.

Several lines of research were used to confirm the accuracy of the dates, and to reconstruct the environment at the time the site was in use. Soil analysis by James C. Baker of Virginia Tech showed that the site was formed by wind-blown sand deposits. James Feathers of the University of Washington used optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL) to corroborate the radiocarbon dates, and to show that the buried sand levels had been undisturbed by later deposits. The OSL technique is based on the fact that natural radiation in minerals such as quartz causes electrons to change position at a regular rate, so long as they are not exposed to heat or light. Using a laser causes the electrons to return to their original positions, emitting a glow which can be measured to provide an accurate date for the time they were last exposed to light.

Charred plant remains (some, later used for radiocarbon dating) were identified by paleoethnobotanist Lucinda McWeeney of Yale University. The organic materials included white pine and spruce charcoal, suggesting the area had a cooler climate at the time of the earliest occupation than today. After processing a column sample of sediments for phytoliths (silica fossils that formed in the plant cells) McWeeney was able to demonstrate that there is a strong correlation between the stone artifacts and increased plant use at the site. The correlation also suggests that the human occupation levels are not mixed. Remains of calcined bone identified as mud turtle and white-tailed deer suggest that the site may have been a seasonal hunting camp.

Studies at another area of the site by Dr. Carol Mandryk at Harvard University's Department of Anthropology could not conclusively demonstrate undisturbed sediments. Tests performed for the area that produced the 15,000 year-old date, however, do show relative stratigraphic integrity.

The consensus of the scientific evidence collected is that the site was occupied as early as 15,000 years ago, by people using unfluted bifacial tools. This makes Cactus Hill one of the two earliest known sites (along with Meadowcroft Rock Shelter in Pennsylvania) for human occupation in eastern North America. The National Geographic Society is sponsoring further research at the site.

[National Geographic Society, Public Affairs Dept; Lucinda McWeeney, personal communication.]

Copyright © 1996-2003 Athena Publications, Inc. (All Rights Reserved).

http://www.athenapub.com/cacthill.htm
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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2007, 01:03:29 am »

Scientist: Man in Americas earlier than thought
Archaeologists put humans in North America 50,000 years ago
By Marsha Walton and Michael Coren
CNN
Thursday, November 18, 2004 Posted: 5:12 PM EST (2212 GMT)




One of the stone tools discovered in South Carolina made by early inhabitants.

(CNN) -- Archaeologists say a site in South Carolina may rewrite the history of how the Americas were settled by pushing back the date of human settlement thousands of years.

But their interpretation is already igniting controversy among scientists.

An archaeologist from the University of South Carolina on Wednesday announced radiocarbon tests that dated the first human settlement in North America to 50,000 years ago -- at least 25,000 years before other known human sites on the continent.

"Topper is the oldest radiocarbon dated site in North America," said Albert Goodyear of the University of South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.

If true, the find represents a revelation for scientists studying how humans migrated to the Americas.

Many scientists thought humans first ventured into the New World across a land bridge from present-day Russia into Alaska about 13,000 years ago.

This new discovery suggests humans may have crossed the land bridge into the Americas much earlier -- possibly during an ice age -- and rapidly colonized the two continents.

"It poses some real problems trying to explain how you have people (arriving) in Central Asia almost at the same time as people in the Eastern United States," said Theodore Schurr, anthropology professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a curator at the school's museum.

"You almost have to hope for instantaneous expansion ... We're talking about a very rapid movement of people around the globe."

Schurr said that conclusive evidence of stone tools similar to those in Asia and uncontaminated radiocarbon dating samples are needed to verify that the Topper site is actually 50,000 years old.

"If dating is confirmed, then it really does have a significant impact on our previous understanding of New World colonization," he said.

But not all scientists are convinced that what Goodyear found is a human settlement.

"He has a very old geologic formation, but I can't agree with his interpretation of those stones being man-made," said Michael Collins of the Texas Archeological Research Lab at the University of Texas at Austin. Collins disputes that the stone shards at the site show signs of human manipulation.

But whether the Topper site proves valid, Collins said most archeologists now believe people settled in America before 13,000 years ago, refuting a theory that has held sway for 75 years.

Since the 1930s, archaeologists generally believed North America was settled by hunters following large game over the land bridge about 13,000 years ago.

"That had been repeated so many times in textbooks and lectures it became part of the common lore," said Dennis Stanford, curator of archeology at the Smithsonian Institution. "People forgot it was only an unproven hypothesis."

A growing body of evidence has prompted scientists to challenge that assumption.

A scattering of sites from South America to Oklahoma have found evidence of a human presence before 13,000 years ago -- or the first Clovis sites -- since the discovery of human artifacts in a cave near Clovis, New Mexico, in 1936.

These discoveries are leading archaeologists to support alternative theories -- such as settlement by sea -- for the Americas.

Worldwide, ideas about human origins have rapidly changed with groundbreaking discoveries that humans ranged farther and earlier than once believed. Fossils in Indonesia nearly 2 million years old suggest that protohumans left their African homeland hundreds of thousands of years earlier than first theorized.

Modern humans, or homo sapiens, most likely emerged between 60,000 and 80,000 years ago in Africa. They quickly fanned out to Australia and Central Asia about 50,000 years ago and arrived in Europe only about 40,000 years ago. Ancestral humans -- hominids like australopithecines and Neanderthals -- have never been found in the New World.

Goodyear plans to publish his work in a peer-reviewed scientific journal next year, which is the standard method by which scientists announce their findings. Until research is peer-reviewed, experts in the field may not have an opportunity to evaluate the scientist's methods, or weigh in on the validity of his conclusions.

Archaeologists will meet in October of 2005 for a conference in Columbia, South Carolina, to discuss the earliest inhabitants of North America, including a visit to the Topper Site.

Goodyear has been excavating the Topper dig site along the Savannah River since the 1980s. He recovered many of the artifacts and tools last May.

Goodyear dug four meters (13 feet) deeper than the soil layer containing the earliest North American people and began uncovering a plethora of tools. Until recently, many archeologists did not dig below where Clovis artifacts were expected to be found.

Scientists and volunteers at the site in Allendale have unearthed hundreds of possible implements, many appearing to be stone chisels and tools that could have been used to skin hides, butcher meat or carve antlers, wood and ivory. The tools were fashioned from a substance called chert, a flint-like stone found in the region.

Goodyear and his colleagues began their dig at the Topper Site in the early 1980s with the goal of finding out more about the Clovis people. Goodyear thought it would also be a good place to look for earlier human settlers because of the resources along the Savannah River and the moderate climate.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/science/11/17/carolina.dig/
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