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News: THE SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS IN CUBA
A Report by Andrew Collins
http://www.andrewcollins.com/page/articles/atlantiscuba.htm
 
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ATLANTIS & the Atlantic Ocean

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dhill757
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« Reply #165 on: December 27, 2008, 04:37:12 am »

The First Americans

New digs and old bones reveal an ancient land that was a mosaic of peoples, including Asians and Europeans. Now a debate rages: who got here first?
By Sharon Begley and Andrew Murr

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The standard story of the peopling of the Americas holds that wanderers from Northeast Asia fanned out across the Great Plains, into the Southwest and eventually the East to become the founding populations of today's Native Americans. Stone spear points found in Clovis, N.M., in the 1930s were dated at 11,000 years ago and hailed as evidence of the oldest human settlement in the New World. The story was so tidy that any skeletons that seemed to challenge this "Clovis model" were shoved back into the closet by the mandarins of American anthropology; any stone tools that seemed older than Clovis were dismissed as misdated. Clovis had American archeology in a stranglehold; James Adovasio of Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania calls its defenders the "Clovis mafia."

The small band of hunter-gatherers made its summer camp on the riverbank, at the northern end of the region through which they followed the seasonal game. The location, 45 miles southeast of what is now Richmond, Va., was ideal: winds from the north kept the flying insects down. Some of the band would spend their days striking long, slender quartz flakes from stone cores; others made triangular and pentagonal spear points for the hunt. It was 15,050 years ago; the erstwhile "First Americans" would not make the trek across the Bering Strait for 3,500 more years.

Now there are too many skeletons in the closet to ignore. Pushed by a 1990 federal law that requires museums to return Native American remains to their tribes, scientists - called in to figure out who belongs to whom - have amassed a database of "craniometric profiles." Each of the 2,000 or so profiles consists of some 90 skull measurements, such as distance between the eyes, that indicate ancestry. For most skeletons, it has been pretty straightforward to tell a Hopi from a Crow. But some skulls stand out like pale-skinned, redheaded cousins at a family reunion of olive-skinned brunettes. The oldest American found so far, an 11,500-year-old skeleton from central Brazil, resembles southern Asians and Australians, anthropologist Walter Neves of the University of So Paulo reported last year. One skull from Lime Creek, Neb., and two from Minnesota - all 7,840 to 8,900 years old - resemble South Asians or Europeans. Some of the other misfits: Buhl Woman, found in 1989, died 10,600 years ago at the age of 19 or so. "She doesn't fit into any modern group," says anthropologist Richard Jantz of the University of Tennessee, "but is most similar to today's Polynesians."

Spirit Caveman bears less resemblance to American Indians than he does to any other ethnic group except African Bushmen. His face is not flattened or wide, his nose is not narrow - all traits of Amerindians. He "does not show affinity to any Amerindian sample [we used]," conclude Jantz and Douglas Owsley of the Smithsonian. Instead, with his long head, wide nose, forward face and strong chin, he resembles the Aboriginal Ainu of Japan or other East Asians.

Kennewick Man, found on July 28, 1996, by two college students watching a hydroplane race on the Columbia River in Washington, looks almost nothing like a Native American. His face is narrow, with a prominent nose, an upper jaw that juts out slightly and a long, narrow braincase. Although early reports described him as Caucasoid or even European (which led the Asatru Folk Assembly, followers of an ancient Nordic religion, to claim him), in fact the 8,000-year-old man most resembles a cross between the Ainu and the Polynesians.

America, it seems, was a mosaic of peoples and cultures even 11,000 years ago. Based on their study of 11 ancient skulls, conclude Owsley and Jantz in a paper to be published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, America was home to "at least three distinct groups ... None of the fossils [except for one] shows any particular affinity to modern Native Americans ... [Skull measurements] depart from contemporary American Indians, often in the direction of Europeans or South Asians."

One explanation for the lack of a family resemblance between the oldest Americans and today's Amerindians is that the original Americans might simply have changed in appearance over the generations. "You'd expect them to look different," says anthropologist David Hurst Thomas of the American Museum of Natural History. "They're separated by 9,000 years of evolution." A more radical explanation is that the First Americans - perhaps from Polynesia, perhaps from Europe [related Reuters story] - left no descendants. Whoever got here first, in other words, were not the ancestors of today's Pequot, Shoshone and other tribes. Instead, they were obliterated by later arrivals who made war or made love: killing them or mating with them. Kennewick Man, for instance, had a stone spear point in his hip. Its shape suggests it came from what scientists call the Cascade culture, people who were just moving into the area. "It may be a sign of ethnic conflict," says anthropologist James Chatters, who first inspected K Man.

The possibility that today's Native Americans are not the descendants of the original Americans is not going down easily. "If you tell the Native Americans that they weren't first," says Thomas, "you're asking for trouble." That conclusion, even if proved, has no direct legal ramifications for Native Americans' hard-won gains, such as the right to fish ancestral waters and the right to establish casinos. "But it may be just a step before legislation starts being rolled back," Thomas warns. Some Americans resent the newfound wealth of some tribes, and "if the discoveries make today's Native Americans just another Ellis Island group, it makes it hard for them to preserve their sovereignty."

Already, Native Americans are protesting this line of research. The Shoshone-Bannock demanded custody of Buhl Woman and reburied her. The Northern Paiute are asking that Spirit Caveman be reburied, and the Umatilla of Washington want Kennewick Man. "We know that our people have been part of this land since the beginning of time," said Armand Minthorn, a Umatilla religious leader, in a statement. "Scientists believe that because [Kennewick Man's] head measurement does not match ours, he is not Native American. Our elders have told us that Indian people did not always look the way we do today."

The determined band passed up the quartz in the nearby deposits, trekking beyond the Green River in what is now Wyoming and Utah, all the way to the northern Bighorn, 600 miles away. There they found the obsidian and quartz crystal they would fashion into stone points and flakes - and never use. Instead, they would bury their caches on a layer of compacted red ocher. Their neighbors had equally strong preferences, but for them the quest was not for exotic materials but for sources imbued with spiritual significance. Rejecting the local quartz, they climbed the peaks to chip out red jasper found at 9,000 feet and flake it into stone tools that they, too, would cache, unused. Stones that lay nearer their gods would make a fitting offering.

For years, no authority would accept any deviation from the party line that the First Americans were the Clovis people of 11,000 years ago. But in 1977, archeologist Tom Dillehay of the University of Kentucky began excavating a site deep in the Chilean hills called Monte Verde. There, some 30 hunter-gatherers lived beside a creek 35 miles inland of the Pacific until a rising peat bog pushed them out - and preserved the site like volcanic ash over Pompeii. The band lived in low, tentlike structures lashed together with cord and covered with bark and mastodon hide to keep out the rain, says Dillehay. Outside were work areas, and fire pits lined with clay. A hut set apart from the others may have served as either a paleohospital or a Stone Age Studio 54: inside, Dillehay found five chewed quid made of boldo leaves, which contain both an analgesic and a mild hallucinogen. Boldo was clearly prized: the nearest supply lay more than 100 miles north, so either someone made a long trek or arranged trades with distant inlanders. Belying the image of the original Americans as full-time big-game hunters, the Monte Verdeans ate a varied diet: freshwater mussels and crawfish, wild potato, fruits and nuts, small game like birds that they brought down with stones and the occasional mastodon that they felled with fire-hardened lances. But the paradigm killer was this: Monte Verde was inhabited 12,500 years ago - 1,000 years before the original Americans supposedly flocked across the Bering Strait.

For years archeologists dismissed Dillehay's claim. At scientific conferences, he recalls, "others would be introduced as doctor this and doctor that. I was always 'the guy who is excavating Monte Verde.' Some people wouldn't even shake my hand." Even worse, the Clovis model had such a stranglehold that scientists "would dig until they hit the Clovis level and just stop." Few looked for older bones and tools. Four or five possible pre-Clovis sites in South America were never reported because the scientists feared that doing so would wreck their reputations.

That changed two years ago, when archeology's pooh-bahs finally accepted that Monte Verde was indeed 12,500 years old. The floodgates opened. Sites once dismissed as misdated are being re-examined. At Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Avella, Pa., for instance, where for 26 years Adovasio has been excavating under an overhang that juts out from a rock face 43 feet above the ground, scientists are now reconsidering his claim that the charcoal, stone tools and woven material buried there are at least 14,000 and possibly 17,000 years old. At Saltville, in western Virginia, archeologists are studying what may be a Stone Age mastodon feast. Stone and bone tools (including an ivory-polisher), mastodon bones and fire-cracked rock along an ancient riverbank have been unearthed from a layer that may be 14,000 years old. Saltville has a distinguished pedigree: a friend sent Thomas Jefferson a mastodon tooth from the site in 1782.

Jefferson was curious enough about the prehistory of America that when he dispatched Lewis and Clark to survey the West, he asked them to look for signs of ancient settlements. He might have turned his curiosity closer to home. Archeologists led by Michael Johnson had stopped digging at Cactus Hill in Virginia when they found Clovis material, dated at 10,920 years old, three feet down. But with the theory of the First Americans shifting beneath their feet, they dug deeper - and came upon stone blades and cores (the rock chunks from which flakes are struck) in a layer 15,050 years old. "This looks like a good candidate for a Clovis precursor to me," says the Smithsonian's Stanford. Like Johnson, archeologist Albert Goodyear of the University of South Carolina had never felt much need to dig below the Clovis layer in his Topper site on the Savannah River. But last spring he and colleagues found, beneath the Clovis layer, stone blades and flakes by the score in layers three feet down - a depth that, he estimates, corresponds to more than 12,000 years. "This is pretty substantial evidence," says Goodyear, "that people were here long before we thought."

And they may have come from somewhere no scientists in their right mind would have considered only a few years ago: a French Connection. There are striking similarities between the stone tools attributed to the Clovis culture, in the Americas, and the stone tools attributed to the so-called Solutrean culture of France and the Iberian Peninsula. Both made beveled, crosshatched bone rods, notes archeologist Bruce Bradley. Both made idiosyncratic spear points of mammoth ivory. Both made triangular stone scrapers. Yes, two separate peoples might have invented the same thing, as David Meltzer of Southern Methodist University points out: "These similarities may represent finding the same answer to the same problem" of killing and butchering game. But there's a twist. "The oldest of these tools in America," says Bradley, "are in the East and Southeast, not the Southwest" - where they should be if the Clovis people trickled in from Siberia and then fanned out across the continent. And since glaciers did not retreat from America's midsection until 11,500 years ago, anyone inhabiting the Eastern Seaboard before then must have come from the East rather than the Bering Strait.

How? Crossing the open Atlantic would have posed a perhaps insurmountable challenge, even though people traveled in boats from southern Asia to Australia at least 40,000 years ago. "We don't give early people enough credit," says Stanford. "Yeah, they lived in caves - but they were pretty smart, too." Smart enough, perhaps, to have navigated along the ice sheet and seasonal pack ice that spanned the ocean from England to Nova Scotia. "They could have made it if they worked the glacier for seals and water birds," says Johnson. "They would have seen migratory birds flying west; they would have known there was land in that direction." Similarly, the Asians who reached America from the West may have been seafarers, too.

Deep in the craggy uplands 450 feet above the Amazon, the people of Caverna da Pedra Pintada look nothing like the stereotype of the First Americans as bison-fur-wearing big-game hunters. This band drew sustenance from the river and the forest, dining on turtles, frogs, snakes, fish and fresh-water mussels, as well as Brazil nuts and palm nuts. And they did more. The cave floor is splattered with gobs of red and yellow iron-based paint, dripped 11,000 years ago. The Stone Age artists created exuberant scenes of snakes and other animals and even handprints - designs? signatures? - including children's.

"We are rewriting the textbooks on the First Americans," says Stanford. The new edition will show that "the peopling of the Americas was never as simple as simple-minded paradigms said." Instead, it will tell of an America that beckoned to far-flung people long before the Mayflower or the Santa Maria or the Viking ships, of an unknown continent so alluring that men and women endowed with a technology no more sophisticated than sharp rocks braved Siberian tundra and Atlantic ice packs to get here. It is still the New World. But it is thousands of years older than we thought - home to settlers so diverse that it was, even millenniums ago, the world's melting pot.

Copyright © Newsweek, April 26, 1999
http://www.cabrillo.edu/~crsmith/firstamer.html


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« Reply #166 on: December 27, 2008, 04:38:25 am »



Physical Features of Skulls Older than 8,000 Years From the Americas


Cheekbones are not pronounced.
Long skull (measured front to back).

Rather prominent noses with high bridges.

Narrow faces with deeper contours.

No shovelling on the incisors.

Little or no facial prognathism (facial forwardness).

Small bilobed or bifurcate chin



When taken as a whole, the skulls of the very ancient inhabitants of the Americas display features more typical of what some scientists call "Caucasoid" traits than "Mongoloid" traits. But by "Caucasoid" scientists do NOT mean they are "Caucasian" in the sense of "white" people today. Rather, they are using the term "Caucasoid" to refer to a branch of ancient, but anatomically modern, peoples who were the ancestors of several branches of historically known people: Europeans, southwest Asians, Indians from the subcontinent of India, west-central Asians, and the Ainu of Japan.

By selecting from the list below you can read a little bit about several of the ancient Americans, as well as see reconstructions of what some of them may have looked like. The reconstructions were carried out by forensic anthropologists using methods developed to aid police and humanitarian groups in various world areas to flesh out human skeletal remains. While such matters as skin, hair, and eye color, or the exact number and place of facial wrinkles is more a matter of intuition than science, the actual fleshing out of the skulls has, over time, been shown to be highly accurate.



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« Reply #167 on: December 27, 2008, 04:42:25 am »



Lost World : Rewriting Prehistory---How New Science Is Tracing America's Ice Age Mariners (Hardcover)
by Tom Koppel (Author) "WATCH YOUR HEAD," said paleontologist Tim Heaton, ducking as he led the way down into the fissure in the steep rock face, leaving the sunshine..."

From Publishers Weekly


How and when did humans first come to North America? In attempting to answer this fascinating question, journalist Koppel, who has won awards from the Canadian Archaeological Association, takes a three-pronged approach; in doing so, he spreads himself too thin. The first prong is an attempt to demonstrate that humans came to America at least a couple of thousand years earlier than is commonly accepted. Additionally, he asserts that, rather than migrating overland and across the frozen Bering Strait, as is generally believed, the first Americans were seafarers who migrated up the coast of Siberia and then down the coast of the Americas. Although much of Koppel's material is interesting, the presentation is rather one-sided; the perspective of critics of this theory is almost totally absent. Koppel's second prong is to focus on some maverick scientists proffering this theory and how they work. Since many of the archeological sites likely to shed light on their hypotheses are underwater, the logistics of gathering data are quite complicated. Yet the detail offered by the author is extraneous, and he doesn't give enough insight into the principals. Koppel's third prong is even less successful. He inserts himself into the narrative, attempting to create an adventure story of how he went about gathering information for the book. Unfortunately, there isn't enough adventure, and readers learn instead that Koppel had "Baron of Beef, au jus" for lunch one day while some of his fellow journalists were forced to eat cheese-and-sprout sandwiches. As with lunch, Koppel doesn't provide enough meat to make this a satisfying read.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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« Reply #168 on: December 27, 2008, 04:43:05 am »

The Mid-Atlantic Ridge – Atlantis revisited

(Detail from the world topografic map at http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov.)

As regards our purpose: the effective possibility of finding Atlantis, the last expedition in the mentioned area of the Atlantic Ocean saw an American team searching the MAR in the period November 14 – December 14, 2000. Responsible for the team were the professors Donna Blackman (Scripps Institute of Oceanography), Jeff Karson (University of Washington) and Deborah Kelley (Duke University), and other experts from a total of eight different American universities participated in the project. The "R/V Atlantis" was the research ship provided by the US Academic Navy – and the aim of the expedition was to study the mineralogical composition as well as the topographical evolution of the so-called "Atlantis Massif".

The instrument that would allow the experts to study the ridge at close quarters, was "Alvin", a small bathyscaphe capable of diving to great depths and equipped with a mechanical arm for the removal of rock samples. Furthermore, sophisticated sonar and video instruments on the "R/V Atlantis" would contribute to illuminating the results of the research from other angles.

The choice of the area where the research would be concentrated was not casual. Probably previous cartographic studies of images elaborated by satellites have helped the experts select an area where they might obtain the results they were aiming at.

This research area, however, does not correspond entirely with the area indicated in the above NASA map (fig. 1), though perhaps except for the extreme north-eastern area of the chosen spot. The geographical location of the area is c. 30 degrees north. The MAR expedition’s web-site, http://earthguide.ucsd.edu/mar/ , explains the purpose of the same:

"The unusual thing about the area under study is a large mountain, called the Atlantis Massif, just west of the Mid-Atlantic spreading center at 30°N. The peak of the mountain is 1,700 m (5,000') higherthan the usual spreading ridge crest. The width of the mountain is 4-6 times greater than that of most abyssal hills. It is clear that this mountain is a new addition to Earth's crust since it is part of very young and newly created seafloor. The mission is to find out why and how it formed. What forces are responsible for the great height to which rock has been uplifted at this site? What caused a change in the usual style of oceanic crustal formation? When might this area return to its normal state? These are the many questions the scientists seek to answer."

If the American research team had decided to concentrate their studies in an area located more north-easternly of the Atlantis Massif, they might have discovered other things – perhaps also of an archaeological nature – but the mentioned scientific expedition of course clearly states that their main interests concerned the geological features of the MAR. From the maps of the "National Geophysic Data Center" (NGDC: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov ) it is possible to observe very clearly that a little further towards north-east, a much more interesting relief is located, from an archaeological point of view – it is in fact an area where the attempted recovery of objects might offer evidence of a submerged civilization. Let us observe the maps which are available on the Internet at the NGDC-site (the images are small details of much larger maps, which have not been manipulated in any way. The maps have been developed by the NGDC for didactic and scientific purposes.)

In the right (eastern) part of this image we find the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar, and part of the north-west African coast. The Spanish and Portuguese islands off the African coast may be observed – and further to the left we see a section of the mid-atlantic ridge. The area outlined by the while oval corresponds to an area which probably represents the reliefs of a huge island which now lies below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. This area also includes the Azores.

The reliefs which are so clearly observed in the above image are even clearer in a splendid image of the entire planet, where the factor of the Earth’s curvature logically improves the visual prospective  http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/image/relief_slides2.html )

It has been possible to study the underwater mountain ranges only since 1973 – in fact, ever since the beginning of the space age the various satellites have been providing spectacular images which indicate without any doubt hitherto unknown details concerning the Earth’s crust and the submarine reliefs. Here, we clearly see a submerged shape similar to a peninsula which points in south-west direction, towards the northern coasts of South America. The same reliefs that we find schematically sketched in the first map of this article, the NASA map, are more clearly visible, here.

It seems natural to ask, if so many archaeologists are in search of a scoop - why have none of them ever gone directly in this place, to study the mid-atlantic ridge in a place where aerial images show such an evident island/peninsula shape?

In an attempt to explain this ‘lack of interest’ (or, granted, maybe we should say, ‘lack of funds’?), admittedly we only have very few references to point to, in order to feel certain that an expedition with the aim of finding Atlantis would yield the results hoped for. Besides Plato’s writings which have already been thoroughly discussed by many persons and organisations on the Internet, we have only one alternative source that offers any conclusive material on Atlantis. However, to compensate for its ‘solitude’, this source directly states the geographical coordinates of the lost island of Atlantis.

The shape of the island can reasonably well be compared to a diagonally elongated, inverted Latin "S" – the upper curve at the right, and the lower at the right. The island’s northernmost point extended to about latitude 40° North, longitude 34° West. The island extended south to about latitude 25 ½ ° North, and west to longitude 47° West, latitude 27 ½ ° North, and eastward to about longitude 28° West. …"

- and the detailed information to establish Atlantis’ exact location continue. On the base of this information we may sketch the following map (the shape of the island is only approximate):

In the book "Toward the Light" we furthermore find the information that if we trace an imaginary line from the English town of Plymouth to the centre of the island of Trinidad close to the South American coast, such a line would cut through the length of the submerged island and touch its easternmost and southernmost points. The largest part of the island would lie west of this line.

What would the oceanographers/archaeologists find if they actually decided to research the mentioned area, with bathyscaphs equipped with cameras, sophisticated sonars, etc.?
**********************

Other links for those who want to learn more about the geological nature of ocean floor of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge – the experts’ comments may be found at the following URLs:

· From "Science for Everyone", a ‘field study’ of the MAR containing interesting data on the eruptive processes and the tectonic movements typical of the area: http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/eosdksmith.html 

· Exceptional images at: http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/image/2minrelief.html 
The entire site http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov displays various types of geographical maps. A web site worth visiting.


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« Reply #169 on: December 27, 2008, 04:44:17 am »

"Divers find traces
of ancient Americans
13,000-year-old bones reveal archaeological frontier"

By JOHN RICE
Associated Press Writer
The Associated Press
Updated: 6:32 p.m. ET Sept. 9, 2004


Most coastal settlements by early Americans now lie deep beneath the sea, which during the Ice Age was hundreds of feet lower than now.

Researchers at the international "Early Man in America" seminar here also reported other ancient finds — including a California bone that is a rival for the title of the oldest in the Americas.

The discoveries fall close to the start of the time that traditional theories say a so-called Clovis culture could have moved from Asia to Alaska over a temporary land corridor that began to open about 13,500 years ago.

Many academics say new discoveries, especially in South America, prove that the Clovis people found existing inhabitants, who may have arrived by hopscotching past the northern ice fields in small boats.

Skeletal ‘treasure’
Arturo Gonzalez said his team discovered at least three skeletons in caves along the Caribbean coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in 2001 and 2002. Photos showed two remarkably well-preserved.

"It's something that I had been dreaming of for many years," said Gonzalez, 39, who has combined diving and research since he was a teenager. "To find a person who had walked those caves was like a treasure."

Gonzalez said the bones must date from before the time that waters gradually seeped through the caves 8,000 to 9,000 years ago, as Ice Age glaciers melted and sea level rose by about 400 feet (120 meters) worldwide.

Tests on charcoal found beside one female skeleton would place it at least 10,000 years ago. An expert at the University of California, Riverside, dated it as 11,670 radiocarbon years old — which would translate to well over 13,000 calendar years.

Debating the age
If confirmed, "that would be the oldest" radiocarbon date in the Americas obtained from a human bone, said archaeology textbook author Stuart Fiedel.

Fiedel, a defender of the "Clovis first" school, said the oldest estimate for the cave find still fits the Clovis time frame, though narrowly.

Larry Murphy, chief of the Submerged Resources Center for the U.S. National Park Service, said in a telephone interview that the Mexican exploration was "one of the first systematic studies of human materials associated with a submarine cave."

The discovery helps prove that humans inhabited the Yucatan at least 5,000 years before the famed Maya culture began building monuments at sites such as nearby Tulum.

Gonzalez said the skeleton did not appear to be Mayan, but with no tools yet found, almost nothing is known of those first inhabitants.

Convincing the skeptics
Gonzalez said cave divers had sometimes mentioned seeing skeletons, and he persuaded skeptical officials to finance a survey of the water holes that dot the Yucatan, a limestone shelf.

Extensive, flooded caves wind off from some of those holes. Many were above ground during the Ice Age, and Gonzalez speculated people may have used them as paths down to fresh water.

Gonzalez said the oldest find was made 404 yards (123 meters) into a cave, more than 65 feet (20 meters) below sea level, during expeditions that can be extremely dangerous.

It took repeated trips to record the sites and excavate the bones, which then required two years of preservation.

Team co-director Carmen Rojas said the divers had 40 minutes to wind their way through the cave to the site, 20 minutes to work there and 40 minutes to swim back, followed by 20 to 60 minutes of decompression time.

"You train five years for those 20 minutes," she said.

Further discoveries
Meanwhile, John Johnson of the University of California, Santa Barbara, said an elaborate restudy of a woman's femur found on Santa Rosa Island in California's Channel Islands established a calendar-year age of 13,200 to 13,500 years. It had been calculated at about 1,000 years less when found in 1959.

Both discoveries would be significantly older than the skeleton known as Kennewick Man — 9,300-year-old remains found by teenagers along a Washington state riverbank in 1996.

Until now, the Americas have produced only 25 bones or skeletons dated as more than 8,000 years old, said Silvia Gonzalez of John Moores University in Liverpool, England. But she told the conference that she would soon publish a paper establishing that humans occupied a site near Puebla east of Mexico City 21,000 to 28,000 years ago.

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« Reply #170 on: December 27, 2008, 04:46:25 am »

Signs of an earlier American

By Peter N. Spotts | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor


Al Goodyear is holding his breath in anticipation. Within days, the affable archaeologist expects to read the results of lab tests indicating that stone tools he recently found in South Carolina are 25,000 years old - or older.
 
Such results would be explosive. They would imply that humans lived on this continent before the last ice age, far earlier than previously believed. Even if the dates came in younger than 25,000 years old, researchers say, the find would add to the mounting body of evidence that humans trod North and South America at least 2,000 years before the earliest-known inhabitants, known as the Clovis culture.

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« Reply #171 on: December 27, 2008, 04:47:10 am »

Dr. Goodyear's efforts are among the latest from a growing group of archaeologists and anthropologists who have become emboldened to buck conventional wisdom and probe far deeper into the hemisphere's past than many of their predecessors did. What they are finding not only could rewrite old chapters in the history of two continents, it could write new ones.
 

"With all these new discoveries, it's almost a rebirth of excitement in the field. All sorts of new ideas are coming forward about migration routes and timing of arrival," says Michael Waters, a geoarchaeologist at Texas A&M University who is involved in several pre-Clovis digs around the United States. "You still have to be careful. Every claim of pre-Clovis occupation needs to be looked at quite carefully."

And they are. When stunning discoveries surface in North America's paleolithic past, they can ignite debates conducted with all the gentility of the Stanley Cup finals - as Goodyear knows.

"When these dates come back, I'll be hiding in a coal mine. I've already got a little Groucho Marx disguise I'm going to put on," quips the University of South Carolina scientist, who along with colleagues is working what's called the Topper site in Allendale County, S.C., along the Savannah River.

For decades, the Clovis culture has held sway as the oldest in the New World. Evidence for this group's presence was first unearthed in 1936 near Clovis, N.M. A second site that emerged in Arizona in 1959, and others since. A uniquely fluted spear point became the culture's icon. Radiocarbon dating at Clovis sites so far has bracketed their presence from roughly 11,200 to around 10,800 radiocarbon years ago. (Archaeologists prefer expressing dates in radiocarbon years because converting to modern calendar years becomes tricky beyond a certain age threshold.)
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« Reply #172 on: December 27, 2008, 04:48:17 am »



DIGGING DEEPER: At the Topper site in South Carolina, artifacts have been found more than six feet below the level of the Clovis, thought to be the first Americans.
DARYL P. MILLER/

Searching for Big Foot


As evidence for the Clovis culture's presence cropped up throughout the continent and the sites became the subject of intense study, the notion that Clovis people were the oldest immigrants to the Western Hemisphere became firmly entrenched. Although some research teams periodically claimed to have found older sites, their evidence was shaky or later proved to have a less radical explanation. To claim a pre-Clovis find was akin to claiming to spot Big Foot.

Researchers often hesitated "to dig below the Clovis horizon for fear of ridicule," Dr. Waters says.

By many accounts, the turning point came seven years ago when anthropologist Tom Dillehay published the second of two encyclopedic volumes of results from a site in southern Chile known as Monte Verde. His team's evidence pointed to a human presence there 13,000 years ago. Other sites began to appear with evidence for pre-Clovis occupation that many saw as more credible than evidence from earlier efforts.

One of these sites, known as Mud Lake, sits near Kenosha, Wis. It was discovered by accident in January 1936, the same year as the first find of a Clovis point, when a Works Progress Administration crew was digging a drainage ditch and unearthed most of a foreleg from a juvenile mammoth. Turned over to the Kenosha Historical Society, it sat there until 1990, when an amateur archaeologist noted cut marks on the bones. Bones from nearby sites, known as the Fenske and Shaefer sites, showed similar markings. In 1992 and 1993, researchers excavated Shaefer and found bones with cut marks on them and stone tools underneath a pelvis bone. Radiocarbon dates on the bones and on plant material at the same level of the dig ranged from 12,500 to 12,300 years ago, nudging them beyond the Clovis time scale.

Dates from the Mud Lake bone were more stunning, says Dan Joyce, senior curator at the Kenosha Public Museum. Purported hunters slew the mammoth 13,450 years ago. He remains cautious about the presence of hunters. Cut marks are suggestive, but not conclusive. This past August, he and his team searched for the rest of their mammoth. But so far it has remained elusive enough to earn the beast the sobriquet Waldo, after the children's "Where's Waldo?" series.

While Dr. Joyce and his colleagues were planning their hunt for Waldo, Goodyear was taking a deeper look at Topper, a site he had been studying for 20 years. An adherent to the Clovis-first idea, he began to rethink his position after reading a site report from Cactus Hill, a pre-Clovis site in Virginia, in 1998.



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« Reply #173 on: December 27, 2008, 04:48:33 am »

His subsequent work at Topper uncovered what looked to be industrial-scale toolmaking well below the level at which Clovis artifacts were found. With no organic material available to radiocarbon-date the level, the team had to use a different technique that stunned them with date estimates of 16,000 to 20,000 years ago.

In May, he took his crew back to Topper for another, deeper look. They found what they interpret as tools in a layer roughly two meters (6.5 feet) below their earlier pre-Clovis finds. The soils and geology suggest that the artifacts are several thousand years older, he says. But nothing beats radiocarbon dates. Fortuitously, they found a sample of wood charcoal to derive three radiocarbon dates.

"I'd be very surprised if they're less than 25,000 years old, but I'm preparing myself mentally for the possibility that they could be a lot older," perhaps as old as 30,000 or 40,000 years, he says.

Such finds raise intriguing questions. Clovis groups were thought to have crossed a broad land bridge across the Bering Strait, hiking through breaks in the glaciers to what is now the lower 48. But if people lived on the continent at least 2,000 years earlier, they would have arrived at a time when the glaciers were impassable. This has led some to argue for a sea route along the land bridge and then the western coastline. Others suggest some may have come from Australia or the Iberian peninsula.

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« Reply #174 on: December 27, 2008, 04:50:16 am »

But is it civilization?


Not everyone is convinced by the evidence so far for pre-Clovis finds, although some doubters don't rule out the possibility that some groups where here earlier.

"The tools people find are not self-evidently hunting or butchering tools" in the way Clovis artifacts are, says Stuart Fiedel, an archaeologist with the Louis Berger Group in Washington, D.C.

Like Vikings making landfall in North America before any other modern European group, pre-Clovis sites don't seem to represent the first long-term colonization of the Western Hemisphere, he says. Interest in Clovis grew out of their apparent role as a continent-wide colonizing population and a key to the origins of the native Americans Europeans encountered after they arrived.

But others see potentially deeper insights coming from pre-Clovis finds.

"This could help us get a better handle on the amount of genetic variability we see in the descendants of these populations," says David Meltzer, an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. It also could reset the clock for the development of civilizations in the New World.


The First Americans: By land or by sea? Researchers have put forth at least four explanations for how people first came to the Americas. Recent discoveries suggest humans came to the Americas at least 10,000 years earlier than has been thought hitherto, researchers say. That means they must have come by sea rather than by land across the Bering Strait.
Taken from map by Joe LeMonnier / Lynda D'Amico / SCOTT WALLACE - STAFF

http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0923/p13s01-stgn.html

http://forums.atlantisrising.com/cgi-bin/ubb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=1;t=000958;p=4
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« Reply #175 on: December 27, 2008, 04:51:36 am »

Here is an article I promised a long time ago. It has to do with the bones of ancient mastadons and mammoths washing up along the coasts of the Atlantic. These bones come from the ocean floor along the coastline of the Carolinas. Follow the link and the article has some pictures. These same bones have also been seen in the Azores, but I'm still looking for those specific pictures.

This article comes from the Regional Review in1939, incidentally:

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/regional_review/vol3-3b.htm

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« Reply #176 on: December 27, 2008, 04:52:55 am »



Volume III - No. 3

 
September, 1939



In the ordinary course of events, the ocean is the great receiver ---- the world's greatest collector. It collects the sediments that are eroded from the land by streams, winds, waves and glaciers. As the earth's most populous burial ground, it receives the shells and bodies of countless organisms that swim in it or drift upon its surface. It also, upon occasion, receives the bodies of animals that lived upon the land. During times of Widespread upheaval many or these things are restored to the land, but only rarely does the ocean itself become an active agent in a process of giving back to the land the bones of animals that once roamed upon it. It is our purpose here to describe such a case. At Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina the bones and teeth of long-extinct animals --- animals that lived upon the land in the Ice Age --- are being excavated from the ocean floor and washed ashore by storm waves of the modern Atlantic.

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« Reply #177 on: December 27, 2008, 04:55:30 am »

There is, of course, no actual migration as in the fanciful sketch which appears on this page, but the event nevertheless has some of the elements of an anachronism. Ancient animals are being washed ashore by the sea which, contrary to its custom, is acting as the giver rather than the receiver. If this situation is not anachronistic it certainly is paradoxical --- a reversal of a normal process of nature. The cavalcade of animals that comes piecemeal to the shores of Edisto includes beasts that seem strangely un-American. It includes elephants --- Woolly Mammoths and Mastodons --- Ground Sloths, Giant Beavers, Tapirs, Giant Armadillos, Royal Bison. It includes horses that lived and died here long before the Spaniards brought the first of our present stock in the early 16th century. But these venerable inhabitants of South Carolina are not un-American. It is we who are the newcomers!  Associated with the forms mentioned above are others that are more familiar, such as the teeth of bears, antlers of elk and deer, and plates of large land turtles together with the bones of still other animals that lived in the sea. In this last group are the globular ear bones of whales, curved ribs of sea cows that were the ancestors of the rare individuals still living along the coast of southern Florida, plates of alligator and marine turtles, along with teeth of sharks and spines of rays that lived in periods before the Ice Age. During the summer of 1937 Student Technician Hugh M. Rutledge, with the help of volunteers from the CCC camp, collected more than 1,500 vertebrate fossils of which he identified more than 200. The following summer Student Technician Rudolph A. Jaworski added nearly a thousand specimens to the collection. We may well pause and wonder. How did such a motley crew of early Americans find their way into a common graveyard?

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« Reply #178 on: December 27, 2008, 04:56:13 am »

Before we can arrive at a satisfactory answer to this question we shall have to learn a little more about the existing situation at Edisto Beach. In picturing the ocean at Edisto as a giver we were being overly generous with that relentless foe of the land. Edisto lies in a broad reentrant in the coast line --- an arc, concave landward, that extends 180 miles from Charleston to the Florida boundary. In this arc today at Edisto, the waves are eating into the land at the measured rate of 15 feet a year, and there is clear evidence to indicate that the process has been going on for a long time.

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« Reply #179 on: December 27, 2008, 04:56:44 am »

On the present beach at Edisto a bed of green mud outcrops close to low tide level. During his early investigations in the area Mr. Rutledge discovered bones in this layer of mud. Believing the bones to be fossil he carefully excavated them, pleased with the prospect of obtaining a complete skeleton. To his dismay the skeleton proved to be that of a very modern cow! Since the cow could not have become buried in the mud at the present site of outcrop, this strange occurrence indicates that what is now the beach was once marsh land and that the sea has moved inland a considerable distance within historic times. The ocean exacts a stiff price for our collection of old bones!

A glance at a Hydrographic Chart gives us additional information of interest. The sea off Edisto is very shallow, the "continental shelf" being about 70 miles wide. All the sea bottom within five miles of shore is less than 40 feet deep. If sea level were to be lowered 150 feet the shore would be extended 55 miles! This point is significant and will be referred to later. From actual observations we know little about the materials that form the sea floor but we do know that the flat strip of country forming the present coast is underlain by marine deposits of the Ice Age. From this strip --- known as the Pamlico Terrace --- marine shells have been collected to levels 12 feet above low tide. This assemblage includes a large number of species that live today only in warmer latitudes.1 We shall show later that this fact is not extraordinary, for the shells lived during an inter-glacial epoch when the sea stood higher and the climate was warmer.

 
We do not know the exact thickness of the Ice Age deposits at Edisto Beach but the fossiliferous portion is probably only a few feet thick and probably lies close to sea level. At Coffin Point 10 miles to the southwest, where the Service's core drill put down an exploratory well, we entered sediments at a depth of 72 feet that appeared to be definitely older than the Ice Age. This gives us at least a maximum figure for this general area and one that compares favorably with other drilling records. The deposits of the Ice Age consist of beds of dark mud with some sand and shell. The vertebrate fossils are impregnated with mineral matter and their outer surfaces are stained nearly black by organic material. Some of the larger ones come ashore encrusted with sand and recent marine shells, indicating that they have lain exposed on the sea bottom for some time before being cast upon the beach.

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