The First Americans (Peopling Of The Americas)

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FraterLibre

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Kennewick

I thought we'd discussed Kennewick somewhere on this forum, but can't seem to spot where.

It was an interesting case, largely because the U.S. Army, on whose land it was found, actually hid the skeleton from scientists during a lawsuit in which local Indians claimed it as a relative and thus off-limits when it came to archaeological investigation, etc.

The Indian lawsuit was eventually thrown out and Kennewick Man released to scientists, but beyond that I've heard nothing.

The racisim inherent in many of the arguments that arose, not to mention the cultural bigotry, besmirched all sides. Facts don't care about such socio-political considerations, and ought to be discovered on their own merits.
 
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Anonymous

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Re: Kennewick

It has been put forward by David Hurst Thomas and others, I believe, that members of the Solutrian culture of Ice age Europe may have made their way via the North Atlantic pack ice and perhaps were responsible for the caucosoid remains that are at the moment in dispute.
When genetic results are available-
(are they? anyone know?)
this theory could explain any european genelines present in the remains...
but if the present day population shows no european trace this is as expected:
there is no sign of the Vikings, or the welsh, or even the poor abandoned Roanoke settlers in today's Amerindian geneline -AFAIK
steve b
 
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FraterLibre

Guest
Just Startoing

Genetic archaeology is just gettting started. Given time, and enough testing, we ought to be able to answer such questions.
 
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FraterLibre

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Politics

The pollitical loss of face the Amerinds feel they'd suffer if their ancestors were preceded by European types is what makes this controversial in more than an academic way.

They feel they'd lose what little status they have, and be relegated to -- well, it's difficult to see how they could be treated much worse, frankly, although they might lose privileges granted them by various affirmative action policies, although I doubt it'd go that direction simply because of Kennewick Man.

What's needed is a union negotiator skilled at weaving compromises between opposing groups neither of which will budge an inch.

As to the question of letting science do its job and dealing with what ever facts arise, well, wouldn't that be nice?
 
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Anonymous

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America belongs to ME!!

I agree with FraterLibre about the mortives of the tribes involved in the KM case. i do feel that their beleifs and customs were totally ignored, immediately putting them on the defensive and 'Closing ranks'. a little more sensitivity would have smoothed things over i feel.

when discussing the peopling of the americas, there's a tendency to take a very 'eurocentric' view of things. the Skeletel remains that have been found are not 'Caucasion' as such, they share 'Caucasion ' features. now, the majority of 'Paleo-indian' skeletetal remains found so far share these features, which are common to modern europeans, 'Proto-Japanese' and Modern Ainu, and the Atayal of Taiwan. as has previously been pointed out by Sobruiquet. These discoveries do little to prove that we 'modern' europeans somehow have a greater claim to the americas than anyone else. by claiming this we can neatly sidestep the unpleasant facts of our atrocities in the americas during the last 500 years, by saying 'its OK, We were there first'

i know little about the Clovis Problem as yet, so can't really comment. but from what i've read, it resembles a technology common in ice age western europe, but from a few thousand years earlier. Does that mean a bunch of french people decided to take a jaunt one day across the sea, taking only a very old technology with them? or does it suggest something else?

and while its important to find out how the americas were peopled, to the Native peoples, the have been there since the beginning of time. which, in essence, they have. no matter what their ancestry.
 

Breakfastologist

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The clovis episode of Horizon suggested that a french stone age culture whose name I've forgotten but can be found two threads down ambled across the atlantic in an eskimo style during the last ice-age.

They had an american indian speaker saying what 4imix just said that it didn't really matter where they came from- if anything the possibility of that crossing stands as a testament to the ingenuity of their ancestors...
 
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FraterLibre

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Allergic to Facts

While it's true that it doesn't matter where they came from, or even specifically when, what troubles me is the tribal allergy toward facts when myth seems threatened. Surely it'd be better to know more, rather than less, of one's factual ancestry. Think how proud they can be if, for example, individuals were identified, the way Norse explorers are known.

4mix is right, some sensitivity and inclusiveness at the start would have helped keep things from becoming so adversarial and bigoted. As it stands now, though, either side is adamant about its point of view and won't back down, even when it really doesn't matter.

As stated before, the best one can hope for is that the facts are discovered and that they lead to a mutual respect on both sides of the issue.
 
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FraterLibre

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Whose Point Is This? Ah, CLOVIS!

Originally posted by Breakfast -- The clovis episode of Horizon suggested that a french stone age culture whose name I've forgotten but can be found two threads down ambled across the atlantic in an eskimo style during the last ice-age.


Clovis points are arrow or spear heads chipped into a certain shape. The current controversey shows the flaw in trying to define a culture, or even name it, based on even so pervasive an artifact.
 

lopaka

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Just a quick report on the most excellent program I saw tonight on the Public Television series NOVA. (I really hope some of the other Americans on the board caught it). It was somewhat biased in favor of the anthropologist types I suppose, but still quite good.

It covered most of the topics mentioned here, particularly 4imix and sobriquet. One thing it did mention is that recent research has shown that along the western North American coast the glaciers were already retreating ~16,000 years ago. And they've found human remains there.

Also there's a site in Chile from ~14,000 y.a. But mostly it was just a good examiniation of "race", ethnicity the nature of migration. Personally I feel that NAGPRA was/is an important piece of legislation to right a historical wrong. A whole lot of looting of sacred sites went on for a long time. So I understand why Native folk are paranoid about anything they see as being a way to get around it.

But OTOH, it is frankly ludicrous to think that someone who lived 40 generations ago and share few of your morphological norms could reasonably be assumed to be part of ones tribe/nation. We live here now they lived here then is pretty weak.

Or that the Ainu or Aborigines or Polynesians, etc. are going to show up now and say "Give us land, we want to build a casino. And the treaties betweenthe US and the 1st Nation Peoples are now invalid."

Rant, rant, rant. I now probably sound like some raging white supremecist, sorry. I'm deadass tired. Maybe I'll edit tomorrow.
 
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FraterLibre

Guest
Another Angle

topaka - Rather than feel racist, consider this article and viewpoint, which shows how far we really grow from our forebears of even a few generations ago, let alone 40 or more.

Outrage As Black Journalist
Says 'Thank God for Slavery'
From ReportersNotebook.com
12-10-2

Editorial Reviews Amazon.com
_
From 1991 to 1994, Keith Richburg was based in Nairobi as the Africa
bureau chief for the Washington Post. He traveled throughout Africa, from
Rwanda to Zaire, witnessing and reporting on wars, famines, mass murders,
and the complexity and corruption of African politics. Unlike many black
Americans who romanticize Africa, Richburg looks back on his time there
and concludes that he is simply an American, not an African American. This
is a powerful, hard-hitting book, filled with anguished soul-searching as
Richburg makes his way toward that uncomfortable conclusion.
_
_
Outrage As Black Journalist Says 'Thank God for Slavery'
_
_
A black American author has sparked anger and controversy among black
nationalists "by repudiating his African roots and thanking God his
ancestor was enslaved."
_
Keith Richburg has been shunned and insulted for daring to reject the
Afro-centric idealism which is an article of faith in black America.
_
In 'Out Of America', published in February,1997, (paperback edition now
available; hardcover, 288 pages; 'Basic Books,' ISBN: 0465001874), after
he spent three years reporting from Africa for the Washington Post, Mr
Richburg hurls down a challenge to black American leaders to stop
deceiving themselves and the 35 million (black) descendants of slaves,
that Africa is Eden on earth.
_
"I'm tired of lying,' he writes. 'And I'm tired of all the ignorance and
hypocrisy and the double standards I hear and read about Africa, much of
it from people who've never been there, let alone spent three years
walking around amid the corpses.
_
"Talk to me about Africa and my black roots and my kinship with my African
'brothers' and I'll throw it back in your face, and then I'll rub your
nose in the images of the rotting flesh.'
_
Richburg spent three years covering the continent's senseless violence,
corruption, bloody and incessant cruelties--machete-wielding Hutu
militiamen, a cholera epidemic in Zaire, famine in Somalia, civil war in
Liberia, disease, dirt, dictatorships, killer children, AIDS, terror.
_
"Had my ancestor not made it out of here,' Richburg muses, 'I might have
ended up in that crowd...maybe I would have been one of those bodies,
washing over the waterfall in Tanzania or maybe my son would have been set
ablaze by soldiers. Or I would be limping now from the torture I received
in some rancid police cell...'
_
Afrocentrism 'has become fashionable for many blacks, Richburg notes. 'It
cannot work for me. I have been here, I have lived there and seen Africa
in all its horror.'
_
Mr Richburg's every word is an assault on the group identity politics
which have taken hold among black intellectuals and leads, critics say, to
a Balkanisation of American society.
_
Thinking about his slave forebear, transported in chains to the Caribbean
and thence to South Carolina, Mr Richburg writes: "Thank God my ancestor
got out, because, now, I am not one of them [Africans]. In short, thank
God I am an American."
_
Borders, a Washington D.C. book shop, was packed this month for a lecture
by Mr Richburg at which hecklers accused him of racial betrayal. 'One man
demanded to know if the author had a white girlfriend,' said Mary Ann
Brownlow, who organised the lecture.
_
When Mr Richburg appeared on a talk show on Black Entertainment Television,
_ Randall Robinson, leader of the TransAfrica lobby group and one of
America's most prominent blacks, refused to join the discussion.
_
Jackie Clark, producer of the show, said: 'We African-Americans have this
vision of Africa as the motherland which we see in this wonderful light,
but people who have lived there can burst this bubble. It takes courage to
say things you know are going to outrage people, but I think Richburg
wishes he were white.'
_
Out Of America is a gruesomely detailed account of barbarism and
corruption across the continent, particularly in Somalia and Rwanda. The
author pulls no punches in condemning it, and no...myth is spared. When
sketching how his ancestor was enslaved, he says it was first 'probably by
a local chieftain.' The suggestion that African blacks were slave owners
is anathema in America...
_
Mr Richburg, who is now working for the Washington Post in Hong Kong, says
he is not condoning the evil of slavery, but insists that condemning it
should not blind blacks to the fact that good has emerged from it..."
_
Reviews of Richburg's 'Out of America':
_
E.G. Long: "Africa is a painful reality. Over the past 21 years, I have
lived and worked in five African countries: Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaire
and Nigeria. ..There is nothing in Richburg's book that I could contradict.
_
I too, experienced the horror, and hopelessnesss of that continent. I read
'Out of America' in one sitting... "
_
Steve Wishnevsky: "This is the voice missing from the current race
'dialogue.' Mr. Richburg is a courageous writer and clear observer...His
is an authentic voice and should be listened to closely. America is the
only land where the descendants of Africans have anything approaching
freedom and economic opportunity."
_
H. Luther: "So much of what you hear about Africa lately is from people
who have never been there. People who want to romanticize what is in fact
chaos and disaster...Richburg has written what he has seen, he has
presented reality with great integrity. It is a must read. "
_
_____
_
Peace is patriotic! Michael Santomauro Editorial Director 253 West 72nd
street #1711 New York, NY 10023 RePortersNoteBook.com
_
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0465001874/
 

lopaka

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Thanks FraterLibre for your post. It was very interesting, though more in a Devil's Advocate, provacative kind of way I thought. I didn't mean to say that I felt racist, just that I could see how it might look. And the line about the casinos was a cheap shot. But what the heck, I'm not going to change it, it's out there, so be it.

Veering off-topic (not that this thread hasn't done that once or twice:) ), I think part of my feelings are from my own cultural biases. I try to be sensitive to other people's beliefs, but I just don't get ancestor worship.

I'm the product of a more recent diaspora. My father's Jewish family lived in small area of southern Germany for something like 400 years and in a ten year period it was blown to smithereens. Most were slaughtered, and the remainder ended up in places like Palestine, Brazil and Hawai'i. So while I'm aware of my heritage, I have many identities (as do we all!). Human being, American, etc. But I would never in a million years say I was glad the Holocaust happened.

I think groups of people that have suffered a great deal of oppresion tend to have a stronger sense of group identity than others. And that can be a good thing or at least a needed one in some ways. But if you're seen as straying from the tribe, woe be you. It's when it becomes the only sense of self-identity that you have is when I think it becomes a problem. Ok, end of digression into sociology.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
I don’t know if it is because England is post imperial and decadent but I tend to be more aware of the negative impact of the brief period of British ascendancy on the world than the positive aspects- and I feel no group identity at all.

So what if Darwin, Newton and Turing were English? I never met ‘em.

England, the UK, the EU are all illusions, and to be honest all groupings of humanity (above the level of say an extended family) have vary little in common and should not really inspire feelings of shared identity other than common humanity. [/rant]
 
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FraterLibre

Guest
Eburacum - Yes, nationalism being a particular evil we need to dump. Don't hold your breath, though, folks.

Rather than dumping these illusory groups altogether, perhaps we could phase them out by an intermediate phase in which, as Vonnegut proposed in a couple of his novels, we create entirely arbitrary extended-family group names and encourage people to interact in and among them.

Or not. Probably just give us yet another reason for Us against Them, hm? One more handle for the politciians to maniuplate us with.
 
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Anonymous

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To Eburacum and Fraterlibre, I think it's worth noting that one of the most influential politicians to espouse the view that no grouping larger than the family has any validity or legitimacy was one Margaret Thatcher - a noted democrat indeed!
 

lopaka

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4imix said:
And therein lies the problem. We, in our culture, just ' Don't get it ' therefore to us, its an outdated superstition getting in the way of serious scientific enquiry. hence customs are steamrollered, hackles raised and positions 'dug in'. everyone loses.

Now Thats politics! :blah:

I honestly think it's a pretty big extrapolation from my admission that I have certain cultural blinders re:ancestor worship to some amorphous "our culture" destroying other's customs. I'm sure that there are some Hindus who "don't get" monotheism. I don't think the natural outcome of that is wholesale rejection of say, a Christian's way of life. As long as a person respects someone elses belief system, they don't neccesarily have to understand it.
 
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FraterLibre

Guest
Espousing Is One Thing

Sebastian said:
To Eburacum and Fraterlibre, I think it's worth noting that one of the most influential politicians to espouse the view that no grouping larger than the family has any validity or legitimacy was one Margaret Thatcher - a noted democrat indeed!

Sadly true, but the Iron Lady's actions were entirely state-centric and fascist-oriented, as were Reagan's and Bush's, as are Blair's and Bush's. A politician espousing is one thing, a politician doing is another.

If we'd learn to identify each other as EARTHLINGS it might greatly help unite us, although I'm sure the cohesion would be conflicted. If we can't even figure out we're all human beings, how much less chance of embracing a planetary or global sense of identity?

And so the factions will keep fighting until we're extinct.
 

many_angled_one

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What we need is a minor alien invasion that we are able to fight off then everybody will be so terrified of the aliens that they will all quite happily band together to kill them and forget about petty inter-human squabbling in favour of the big picture.
 
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Anonymous

Guest
What we need is a minor alien invasion that we are able to fight off then everybody will be so terrified of the aliens that they will all quite happily band together to kill them and forget about petty inter-human squabbling in favour of the big picture.

But suppose said aliens take advantage of our deep rooted emnities, and play us off, one against the other. Divide and Conquer. its always worked before :D
 
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FraterLibre

Guest
Among Some

Among some UFOlogists, the theory that UFOs and so on are a high-level government plot to convince us of just exactly that is fairly well established. They believe we are being fed a planned diet of sightings and ideas, and that soon they'll fake a minor invasion in order to inspire us, or scare us, into acting as one somehow.

Could well be. Jacques Vallee long ago concluded, along with Hynek and others, that the pattern of reports resembles nothing so much as a disinformation campaign.
 

rynner2

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Some posts have been split from here into a new thread (on Tea... here )

Stu writes: but part of my actually relevant post got swept up in the new thread: it was regarding cultural identity, and said this:
...cultural identity is a very subtle, but strong force: all you have to do is witness ex-pats abroad. When we were in the USA there were strong and thriving local communities of both Brits and Irish, and interestingly we kind of melded as we discovered we shared far more similarities with one another than either community did with the US: while we obviously didn't ghetto-ise ourselves, and all lived and worked seperately in the wider community, we nonetheless (unwittingly) tended to gravitate toward one another socially, simply because we understood one another's cultural perspective on a very basic level far more than one would have supposed.

Thank you:
Stu.
 
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FraterLibre

Guest
First Americans

rynner - good move on the Tea thread! lol

As for First Americans, I'm forced to ask the somewhat rhetorical question: Why do we seem so concerned about this? Traditionally such claims have led to various political claims and power moves, but beyond that, is there a compelling reason to figure it out?

It is interesting, one admits, yes, but important? Perhaps to our understanding of diaspora, or cultural relativism, but then again, perhaps not. Maybe it just keeps going. How can we ever be sure we found all the evidence, or that a people left any? Can we dig to bedrock or mantle and declare it once-and-for-all proven? Of course not.

Given this, one is forced to wonder if this entire pursuit is not perhaps political, or even racist, in nature in some deep subtle way we don't often notice or acknowledge. I'm sure the special interest groups would say so.

And if not culture bound or racist, or even political, then what?
 

rynner2

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Many people have a genuine scientific interest in finding out what really happened in history and prehistory. The fact that it's difficult just adds to the mystery and the attraction of the search.

But I guess there will always be a minority who will try to pervert pure research into political or power games. :(
 
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FraterLibre

Guest
True Science

True science accounts show clearly that it's rarely pure, or a minority who go political. The rarest soul of all is the pure researcher -- all have agendas, some open, some hidden. Being human they could hardly be otherwise.

We can never know for sure what mix of motives comes into play for a scientist. Each may want to find the earliest or oddest evidence in order simply to buttress their own career. Others may wish to prove a thesis they hold dear. Some will want to prove others wrong any way they can. A few may wish to institute a racist or nationalist agenda. Others may find it interesting as a mystery or puzzle, thus demonstrating how brilliant a detective they are. Ego is a big motivator in science at high levels, (and at low, for that matter).

Does having been first grant special privileges to a given group? It surely bestows a cachet of sorts, as witness the silly struggle of the American Indians to hang onto their perceived primacy in such matters despite mounting evidence.

I suspect all of us is at least passingly interested in our origins, and it would be nice to know whence we came, but if it's not really possible, then it grows increasingly academic. Finding evidence, or even a full-blown buried city complete with easily-translated records, that dates back to, say, 100,000 years ago under a Bakersfield, California onion field does not mean that someone years later might not find an older, weirder site under that.

So we can only ever say, "As far as we know now," or "Up to this moment," when we speak of how old civilizations are, etc.

Unless of course we meet up with those who planted us here and grok the snapshots in their wallets.
 

rynner2

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We all came out of Africa originally, if current ideas are correct. But who first set foot on some new patch of dirt, and the route they took to get there means very little in the bigger picture of human migrations.
Does having been first grant special privileges to a given group?
Only in so far as they have invested time and resources in improving the place - nobody wants invaders marching in and taking over their fields and workshops.

Which is, obviously, the point that the native American tribes are trying to make, since they were in possession of the land before the latest European invasion (regardless of whether or not there were previous European, Chinese or other expeditions to America).

History is done and dusted. New historical discoveries will not change present-day political realities.
 
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FraterLibre

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King of the Hill

But migrations and colonizing and settlements are all a game of King of the Hill, and each successive King pushes off the last. That is how it's always been, so proving "first" means virtually nothing when it comes to convincing your conquerors to leave once they've moved in.
 
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Anonymous

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Early Amerind Site

Was gonna start a new thread with this, but i guees it fits well here...



Shroud lifts on unearthed ancient relics
By Paul Wasserboehr, Globe Correspondent, 1/5/2003

High above the banks of the Assabet River, amid the wooded hills
in the southernmost tip of Acton, archaeologists have found
traces of an ancient Native American civilization that dates back
as far as 7,000 years, to 5,000 BC. Duncan Ritchie, the senior
archaeologist for the Rhode Island-based Public Archaeology
Laboratory, said the discovery of thousands of Native American
artifacts excavated from the site, called Pine Hawk, includes
fragments and bits from stone tools, arrow heads used for spears,
hearths and fire pits, storage and refuse pits, workshops where
stone tools were made, and post molds for housing circles.

The site, which existed at the time of the ancient Egyptian
civilization when the pyramids were built, "is considered one of
the most significant discoveries of ancient Native American
culture on the Eastern Seaboard," said Acton's Bob Ferrera, the
founder of the ad hoc committee, Friends of Pine Hawk. The
Acton-based group was created last summer to promote public
awareness of both the arch eological and human history of Pine
Hawk.

Now Ferrara and others want to spread the word about the discovery
and the ancient civilization that used the tools and weapons. They
are hoping to offer a local library exhibit to display some of the
artifacts and to develop a school curriculu m about the Native
Americans who left the items behind.

Though the dig was conducted three summers ago, details of the
Pine Hawk discovery were made available only recently because the
site was registered as a historic property by the Massachusetts
Register of Historical Places, with an edict that requires that
information about such places not be made public until fragments
from the site are excavated and studied.

Pine Hawk was discovered quite by accident five years ago when
Acton began planning to build a waste-water treatment plant along
the Assabet River. Before digging or construction could begin, an
arch eological survey had to be completed as part of the planning
process, as required by law on construction projects, such as
Pine Hawk, that use federal or state funding.

During the survey, the Public Archaeology Laboratory, led by
Ritchie, started digging for test bits and found small flakes of
stone used in tool-making. Ritchie said this discovery led to
further investigation and excavation, which uncovered thousands
of chipping debris pieces and projectile point fragments that
were implanted as arrow tips on spears. In addition, several fire
pits were uncovered 4 feet deep in the soil. The pits had traces
of charcoal indicating that they were used between 3,900 and
4,600 years ago.

Since it was not possible to relocate the proposed treatment
plant and preserve the Pine Hawk site in place, the arch
eologists mounted a program to retrieve the fragments for
analysis.

Ritchie said a study of the fragments followed with radio
carbon-dating tests at a Florida laboratory indicate that the
area was occupied by an ancient Native American culture 7,000
years ago in the post-glacial period.

The Assabet River served as a navigable transportation route from
the Merrimack, Concord, and Sudbury rivers, and a place with rich
natural resources where Native Americans could fish, hunt, and
collect plant food. Pine Hawk provided easy access to fresh water,
transport, as well as good drainage and soft soil. It also faced
south - which provided more sunlight during the day.

"The amazing thing about the fragments is that they weren't
buried; they were left on the ground, and time has added more and
more material over them," said Doug Halley, a Friends of Pine
Hawk member and Acton's Board of Health director. "It's hard
to believe that over a period of 4,000 years, almost 4 feet of it
has fallen on the ground."

Added Ferrera: "It works out to be that about an inch of soil is
built up per century, or approximately a foot per each millennium.
The process is similar to reading tree rings to determine their
age."

This story ran on page N1 of the Boston Globe on 1/5/2003.

Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

Mike Ruggeri's Ancient America and Mesoamerica News and Links
http://community.webtv.net/Topiltzin-2091/AncientAmericaand


Copyright © AZTLAN <[email protected]> 2002.
All rights reserved.

And for all you londoners, no, its not Acton W3 !
 

rynner2

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Long article about how retreating glaciers are revealing archaeological evidence of early man in America (and elsewhere).

(It also mentions the Alpine Ice Man: BBC2 prog on him starts at 2010 tonight.)
 
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Anonymous

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Re: Kennewick

FraterLibre said:
I thought we'd discussed Kennewick somewhere on this forum, but can't seem to spot where.

It was an interesting case, largely because the U.S. Army, on whose land it was found, actually hid the skeleton from scientists during a lawsuit in which local Indians claimed it as a relative and thus off-limits when it came to archaeological investigation, etc.

The Indian lawsuit was eventually thrown out and Kennewick Man released to scientists, but beyond that I've heard nothing.

The racisim inherent in many of the arguments that arose, not to mention the cultural bigotry, besmirched all sides. Facts don't care about such socio-political considerations, and ought to be discovered on their own merits.

A little late in replying, but this has to be said.

Yes, that would be true in a perfect society. The history of Native Americans and Europeans isn't exactly based on scientific understanding.

For years some Europeans have been fabricating artifacts, rewriting history, and manufacturing facts to support their theory that the Native Amercians are nothing but mindless brutes who couldn't have created anything of merit. Some even have gone as far as to speculate that the Native Americans are the result of an invasion that wiped out the "higher cultures" that created the mounds of Middle America.

Then there's the broken treaties, the fact that it was against U.S. law to speak your own language and practice your religion for years, being pushed off your land and burial sites, seeing those burial sites being turned into golf courses, etc, etc, etc.

Can you blame them? Why should they trust the white man now? When you see science, we see exploitation.
 
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