The First Americans (Peopling Of The Americas)

Mighty_Emperor

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Fire Pit Dated to Be Over 50,000 Years Old

Thu Nov 18,10:10 AM ET

Top Stories - AP

By AMY GEIER EDGAR, Associated Press Writer

COLUMBIA, S.C. - In the growing debate about when people first appeared on this continent, a leading archaeologist said Wednesday he has discovered what could be sooty evidence of human occupation in North America tens of thousands of years earlier than is commonly believed.

University of South Carolina archaeologist Al Goodyear said he has uncovered a layer of charcoal from a possible hearth or fire pit at a site near the Savannah River.

Samples from the layer have been laboratory-dated to more than 50,000 years old. Yet Goodyear stopped short of declaring it proof of the continent's earliest human occupation.

"It does look like a hearth," he said, "and the material that was dated has been burned."

Since the 1960s, anthropologists have generally accepted that hunters migrated to North America about 13,000 years ago over a land bridge into Alaska following the retreat of Ice Age glaciers.

But other sites, including the Topper dig in South Carolina, have yielded rough stone tools and other artifacts suggesting that humans lived in North America thousands of years earlier when the climate was much colder. While there is no ironclad proof that an older culture existed, scientists are increasingly open to the idea that humans arrived from many other directions besides the northwest, perhaps even sailing across oceans.

But a 50,000-year-old fire pit would scorch the prevailing occupation theory.

Goodyear's evidence was examined by other scientists, who performed radiocarbon tests on samples to determine their age. However, he made his initial case for the fire pit Wednesday in a news conference rather publishing data in a scientific journal edited by other researchers.

Goodyear, who has worked the Topper site since 1981, discovered the charcoal layer in May.

Thomas Stafford, director of Stafford Laboratories in Boulder, Colo., then took samples of the substance for tests at the University of California at Irvine.

The results showed that wood varieties — oak, pine, red cherry and buckeye — had been burned in a low-temperature fire at least 50,300 years ago, he said.

Stafford described the burnt layer as measuring 2 or 3 inches thick and about 2 feet wide. Rather than a simple black band in the soil, Stafford said the layer had the "shape of a very shallow plate."

He said it could have been the result of a fire tended by humans, or the ashes could have been deposited by wind, rain or flooding.

Other researchers were more skeptical of Goodyear's discovery, noting that previous claims of very old occupation at other sites never have been verified.

"We still need to be cautious," said Vanderbilt University anthropologist Tom Dillehay. "I would not yet rewrite the books. The find is very significant and shows that there is much we don't understand and can't easily reject or accept."

Other scientists were blunter.

"I think it's a 50,000-year-old geologic deposit," said University of Texas archaeologist Mike Collins. "It has almost nothing to do with the story of the peopling of North America."

Modern humans are believed to have emerged from Africa 100,000 years ago and spread around the world, elbowing out less capable human cousins like Homo erectus and Neanderthals.

Source
 
A

Anonymous

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Red Race original inhabitants of the America's

Hello Everyone,

According to Edgar Cayce the first American's were the red race from Atlantis. Or so I have read. It could explain how the Native Americans were here in the first place. Also, nomatter who claims to have been here first, from the Vikings to Vespucci, to Columbus...they all encountered Native Americans already on and in the land.

WW
 

PeniG

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WW, since the marvelous finds in Chile flooded the Clovis barrier and swept almost every American archaeologist before it, the First Americans have been a very hot topic and you should be able to find lots of material on them without resorting to Cayce - although I see by the ads in the back of this month's *Fate* that his work on the subject has been re-issued, as well. You might find a comparative read interesting. Tom Dillehay's *The Settlement of the Americas,* J.M. Adovasio and Jake Page's *The First Americans: In Pursuit of Archaeology's Greatest Mystery,* and Brian Fagan's new revision of *The Great Journey: The Peopling of Ancient America* should be readily available and will give you a sense of the state of the field.

I will spare you my own thoughts on the subject, but if you care what I think after several years of research on the subject, I put it all on the web in order to get it out of my head, at http://www.txdirect.net/~griffin/iceage.htm .

Click on "Populating the Western Hemisphere" in the table at the top.
 

rynner2

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I was googling for something else, and found this interesting page:
http://farshores.org/a03giine.htm

It's too long to quote, but it covers early European voyages and settlements in North America by Irish Monks, Vikings, and the Welsh.
 

lopaka

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Emperor said:
An 8-Year Fight Ends Over a 9,200-Year-Old Man

By ELI SANDERS

Published: July 20, 2004



SEATTLE, July 19 - The ending of a long legal battle between Northwest Indian tribes and scientists last week is expected soon to put Kennewick Man, a 9,200-year-old skeleton, into the hands of anthropologists hoping for powerful clues to the mystery of who first populated the Americas.


Scientists to Begin Studying Kennewick Man

By WILLIAM McCALL, Associated Press Writer Wed Jun 29, 5:04 PM ET

PORTLAND, Ore. - After nearly a decade of court battles, scientists plan to begin studying the 9,300-year-old skeleton known as Kennewick Man next week.


A team of scientists plans to examine the bones at the University of Washington's Burke Museum in Seattle beginning July 6, according to their attorney, Alan Schneider.

Four Northwest Indian tribes had opposed the study, claiming the skeleton could be an ancestor who should be buried. The Interior Department and the Army Corps of Engineers had sided with the tribes.

But a federal judge in Portland, backed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, ruled that the researchers could study the bones to determine how the man died and to find clues to prehistoric life in North America.

"What they're getting is absolutely essential baseline information that has never been obtained for this skeleton," Schneider said Tuesday.

The bones quickly attracted attention from scientists after they were found in 1996 on a Columbia River bank near Kennewick, Wash.

The skeleton is one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found on the continent. The long, narrow shape of the skull shows characteristics unlike modern American Indians, raising questions that researchers hope to answer with extensive study.

"Understanding human variation is really critical," said Cleone Hawkinson, Portland anthropologist who founded Friends of America's Past to support scientific access to the ancient remains. "We can't close off an entire chapter in history."

She noted the eight anthropologists who filed the original lawsuit seeking access had to pay for their legal costs and the research, or seek funding for it. No government money was involved.

"It's all coming out of the scientists' pockets," Hawkinson said.

The researchers plan to do what is called a "taphonomic" examination of the skeleton, taking measurements and making observations about the processes that affect animal and plant remains as they become fossilized. Further study is planned based on the initial findings, Schneider said.

"Taphonomy is really a forensic examination," Schneider said. "You try to determine everything that has affected the skeleton from day of death until you study it."

A coalition of four tribes — the Umatilla, Yakama, Colville and Nez Perce — claimed the bones were covered by the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act and belonged to the tribes.

U.S. District Judge John Jelderks and the appeals court, however, ruled the tribes could prove no direct link to the bones and the act did not apply.

The tribes have appealed the most recent 9th Circuit ruling, but attorneys involved in the case and Jelderks' office said a decision still is pending. Calls to tribal officials were not immediately returned.

Legislation remains under consideration in Congress that would allow federally recognized tribes to claim ancient remains even if they cannot prove a link to a current tribe.

___

Copyright © 2005 The Associated Press.

SOURCE
 

Breakfastologist

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It's bizarre how people who should know better dig their heels in over this
They want to be careful with that. Heaven only knows how long your footprints might last if you really dig your heels in...
 

KeyserXSoze

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The Times November 21, 2005

America prediscovered
By Norman Hammond, Archaeology Correspondent

THE VEXED question of American independence has arisen once again: not, in this case, in 1776, but before Columbus came to the New World.
It is generally accepted that the Amerindian population originated in Asia, probably more than 15,000 years ago, but whether there were subsequent transoceanic contacts and influences remains a matter of hot debate. Vikings from Maine to Minnesota, Romans crossing from Africa to Brazil, and Chinese and Japanese voyagers hitting the Pacific coastline have all been proposed. Now a new candidate for transpacific contact has reached a major academic journal.

Language and technology, specifically in canoe construction, indicate Polynesian impacts on southern California some 1,500 years ago, according to American Antiquity. Terry Jones and Kathryn Klar point out that “three words used to refer to boats, including the distinctive sewn-plank canoe used by Chumashan and Gabrielino speakers, appear to correlate with East Polynesian terms associated with woodworking and canoe construction”. These were adopted between AD400 and 800.

This is just the period, Jones and Klar say, when ocean exploration by Polynesians led to the discovery and settlement of Hawaii. They add that the Polynesians “had the capabilities of navigation, boat construction and sailing, as well as the cultural incentives to complete a one-way passage from Hawaii to the mainland.” But such passages may not all have been one-way: 15 years ago the presence of prehistoric sweet potatoes was confirmed on Mangaia in central Polynesia.

The sweet potato is a New World species: the new evidence suggests that Polynesians may have reached the Americas on several occasions, sometimes taking back useful resources, sometimes leaving good ideas, but in neither case having a major impact on the evolution of pre-Columbian civilisation.

American Antiquity Vol. 70: 457-484
 

Quake42

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This thread is fascinating. I also saw the BBC documentary, referred to several pages back, which suggested common ancestry between the "original" Americans and the Australian Aboriginals, and also that a more aggressive technologically advanced tribe (the ancestors of today's Native Americans) pushed them further and further down the continent until only a tiny group remained in Tierra del Fuego.

What puzzles me is the idea that Native Americans (or other groups - there is a similar controversy over evidence of pre-Maori settlement in New Zealand for example) should need to fear the results of scientific investigation. I mean, even if their ancestors did wipe out another group thousands of years ago, in what way does that make it OK for them to be treated like crap more recently?
 

Peripart

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Interesting stuff, but going off at at slight tangent, I watched QI the other night, where Stephen Fry claimed that America was not named after Amerigo Vespucci, but rather after a Welshman named A'Merrick, who sponsored John Cabot's voyage.

Annoying, isn't it, how something you're sure is true can turn out to be almost certainly wrong?
 

ramonmercado

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Americas Settled by Two Groups of Early Humans

Americas Settled by Two Groups of Early Humans, Study Says

Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News

December 12, 2005
At least two distinct groups of early humans colonized the Americas, a new study says, reviving the debate about who the first Americans were and when they arrived.

Anthropologists Walter Neves and Mark Hubbe studied 81 skulls of early humans from South America and found them to be different from both modern and ancient Native Americans.


The 7,500- to 11,000-year-old remains suggest that the oldest settlers of the Americas came from different genetic stock than more recent Native Americans.

Modern Native Americans share traits with Mongoloid peoples of Mongolia, China, and Siberia, the researchers say.

But Neves and Hubbe found that dozens of skulls from Brazil appear much more similar to modern Australians, Melanesians, and Sub-Saharan Africans.

Neves and Hubbe describe their findings in this week's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Who Was First?

The scientists examined 81 skulls unearthed over many decades in Brazil's Lagoa Santa region. They represent the largest collection of early American remains, many of which had to be tracked down in European museums.

These "paleoamerican" or "paleoindian" skulls feature projecting lower jaws, broad noses, and broad eye sockets, the researchers report. These traits are unlike those of modern Native Americans.

This strongly suggests that those early Americans were in fact a distinct group, Neves says.

He adds that the group could have crossed the Bering Strait land bridge—the once-exposed landmass between Siberia and Alaska—thousands of years earlier than the Siberian populations who are believed to be the ancestors of modern Native Americans.

Other paleoamerican skulls have displayed similar traits to the Lagoa Santa skulls, which has led to controversy and differing theories about how and when the Americas were settled.

"I don't want people to think that we are proposing any kind of transoceanic migration from Africa or Australia," said Neves, of the University of São Paolo in Brazil.

"We know that these [paleoindian] people had reached China around 20,000 years ago. The Mongoloid population that you see in [northeast] Asia today is more recent. So we don't have to think about transoceanic migrations to explain this."


Genetic Drift

Recent genetic studies of modern human populations have also suggested multiple early migrations across the Bering land bridge.

Neves and colleagues have not been able yet to extract ancient DNA from the Lagoa Santa remains—but excavations are yielding additional ancient remains.

"We have already found at least 20 new skeletons older than 8,000 years that are not part of our paper," he said.

Still, not all scientists are convinced that the variations found in the skulls are proof of multiple migrations to the Americas.

"There is a huge amount of variation among the first Americans, more than you see among any other population outside of the Pacific," said Joseph Powell, an anthropologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

"Much of that is genetic, and it comes from the fact, I think, that these first Americans had very small colonizing populations, and they have a great degree of genetic variation due to genetic drift."

Genetic drift describes random variations in a group's genetic makeup. Small populations are especially prone to the phenomenon, because the genes of a single individual play a proportionately larger role in successive generations.

American Theories

For decades most scientists believed that the first Americans were a group of hunters, known as the Clovis people, who entered the Americas via the Bering land bridge some 11,000 to 12,000 years ago.

"I think it has become more widely accepted in the archaeological community that people were here prior to Clovis," said Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of First Americans at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Sites in Siberia have shown that people lived in the harsh region on the Asian of the land bridge as early as 27,000 years ago, he added.

"People could survive in that Arctic environment and survive quite well," Waters said. "There would be nothing to stop them from heading east into present-day Alaska."

Moreover, sites like Chile's Monte Verde, where tools have been dated to 12,500 years ago, have bolstered the theory that people were in the Americas before the Clovis period.

"If you look at the time periods when people could have come over by land, it must have been very late, just before Clovis, or prior to the ice sheets that formed over North America reaching their maximum extent around 20,000 years ago," Waters said.

Yet the land bridge theory no longer holds a scientific monopoly.

Some scholars favor coastal migration theories, in which early settlers hopped along the Pacific coast in boats.

More controversial theorists won't rule out the possibility of ocean crossings from Europe or Africa.

However those first Americans arrived, the remains they left behind may be the only clues that could someday tell their story.

Early
 

gerardwilkie

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Early Americans with African features reminds me of the giant Olmec heads found in Central America . Their facial features are distinctly African , so there may be something in this theory.
 

PinkTaffy

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gerardwilkie said:
Early Americans with African features reminds me of the giant Olmec heads found in Central America . Their facial features are distinctly African , so there may be something in this theory.

Thousands of years from now, someone's going to find the remnants of a Picasso and think we were all a bunch of freaks...

I realise this isn't entirely on topic, but... Isn't it highly possible that the giant heads were just Olmec art? It seems to me that it's an awfully huge leap to believe that that's what the Olmec's looked like, just because that's what they carved.
 

gerardwilkie

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PinkTaffy said:
gerardwilkie said:
Early Americans with African features reminds me of the giant Olmec heads found in Central America . Their facial features are distinctly African , so there may be something in this theory.

Thousands of years from now, someone's going to find the remnants of a Picasso and think we were all a bunch of freaks...

I realise this isn't entirely on topic, but... Isn't it highly possible that the giant heads were just Olmec art? It seems to me that it's an awfully huge leap to believe that that's what the Olmec's looked like, just because that's what they carved.

Sure , but they would recognize that as abstract art , as we can tell the difference between abstract and general art of previous cultures . The Mesoamericans tended to sculpt what they could see and what they knew . Sure , some of their sculptures and art were abstract and we recognize that as such , but Olmec art depicts humans with negroid faces . Maybe it was just a style that they liked , but we may never know for sure.

Check out this website on Mesoamerican art and culture

http://www.mesoweb.com/features/jpl/01.html
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Americas Settled by Two Groups of Early Humans, Study Says

Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News
December 12, 2005

At least two distinct groups of early humans colonized the Americas, a new study says, reviving the debate about who the first Americans were and when they arrived.

Anthropologists Walter Neves and Mark Hubbe studied 81 skulls of early humans from South America and found them to be different from both modern and ancient Native Americans.

The 7,500- to 11,000-year-old remains suggest that the oldest settlers of the Americas came from different genetic stock than more recent Native Americans.

Modern Native Americans share traits with Mongoloid peoples of Mongolia, China, and Siberia, the researchers say.

But Neves and Hubbe found that dozens of skulls from Brazil appear much more similar to modern Australians, Melanesians, and Sub-Saharan Africans.

Neves and Hubbe describe their findings in this week's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Who Was First?

The scientists examined 81 skulls unearthed over many decades in Brazil's Lagoa Santa region. They represent the largest collection of early American remains, many of which had to be tracked down in European museums.

These "paleoamerican" or "paleoindian" skulls feature projecting lower jaws, broad noses, and broad eye sockets, the researchers report. These traits are unlike those of modern Native Americans.

This strongly suggests that those early Americans were in fact a distinct group, Neves says.

He adds that the group could have crossed the Bering Strait land bridge—the once-exposed landmass between Siberia and Alaska—thousands of years earlier than the Siberian populations who are believed to be the ancestors of modern Native Americans.

Other paleoamerican skulls have displayed similar traits to the Lagoa Santa skulls, which has led to controversy and differing theories about how and when the Americas were settled.

"I don't want people to think that we are proposing any kind of transoceanic migration from Africa or Australia," said Neves, of the University of São Paolo in Brazil.

"We know that these [paleoindian] people had reached China around 20,000 years ago. The Mongoloid population that you see in [northeast] Asia today is more recent. So we don't have to think about transoceanic migrations to explain this."

Genetic Drift

Recent genetic studies of modern human populations have also suggested multiple early migrations across the Bering land bridge.

Neves and colleagues have not been able yet to extract ancient DNA from the Lagoa Santa remains—but excavations are yielding additional ancient remains.

"We have already found at least 20 new skeletons older than 8,000 years that are not part of our paper," he said.

Still, not all scientists are convinced that the variations found in the skulls are proof of multiple migrations to the Americas.

"There is a huge amount of variation among the first Americans, more than you see among any other population outside of the Pacific," said Joseph Powell, an anthropologist at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

"Much of that is genetic, and it comes from the fact, I think, that these first Americans had very small colonizing populations, and they have a great degree of genetic variation due to genetic drift."

Genetic drift describes random variations in a group's genetic makeup. Small populations are especially prone to the phenomenon, because the genes of a single individual play a proportionately larger role in successive generations.

American Theories

For decades most scientists believed that the first Americans were a group of hunters, known as the Clovis people, who entered the Americas via the Bering land bridge some 11,000 to 12,000 years ago.

"I think it has become more widely accepted in the archaeological community that people were here prior to Clovis," said Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of First Americans at Texas A&M University in College Station.

Sites in Siberia have shown that people lived in the harsh region on the Asian of the land bridge as early as 27,000 years ago, he added.

"People could survive in that Arctic environment and survive quite well," Waters said. "There would be nothing to stop them from heading east into present-day Alaska."

Moreover, sites like Chile's Monte Verde, where tools have been dated to 12,500 years ago, have bolstered the theory that people were in the Americas before the Clovis period.

"If you look at the time periods when people could have come over by land, it must have been very late, just before Clovis, or prior to the ice sheets that formed over North America reaching their maximum extent around 20,000 years ago," Waters said.

Yet the land bridge theory no longer holds a scientific monopoly.

Some scholars favor coastal migration theories, in which early settlers hopped along the Pacific coast in boats.

More controversial theorists won't rule out the possibility of ocean crossings from Europe or Africa.

However those first Americans arrived, the remains they left behind may be the only clues that could someday tell their story.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... ricas.html
 

KeyserXSoze

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Rediscovering the New World
Ancient bones offer glimpse into how earliest settlers lived


Editor's note: The following is a summary of this week's Time magazine cover story.

(Time.com) -- It's been more than a decade since the bones of an ancient hunter were found along the banks of the Columbia River in Benton County, Washington, near the town of Kennewick.

The remains are more than 9,000 years old, putting them in scarce class that could shed light on how the New World was first settled.

Although the skeleton, known as Kennewick Man, was found in the summer of 1996, the local Umatilla Indians and four other Columbia Basin tribes almost immediately claimed it as ancestral remains under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

A group of researchers sued, starting a legal tug-of-war and negotiations that ended only last summer, with the scientists getting their first extensive access to the bones. And now, for the first time, we know the results of that examination.

What we're learning was worth the wait. Sophisticated forensic techniques have allowed scientists to plumb these remains for secrets of how life began in the New World. The skeleton not only reveals the personal condition of one man some 9,000 years ago, but it also offers a rare glimpse into how the first settlers may have lived and survived.

Consider, for example, what scientists can now tell us about Kennewick Man's physical attributes. He stood about 5 feet 9 and was fairly muscular. He was clearly right-handed: the bones of the right arm are markedly larger than those of the left. In fact, says forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, "the bones are so robust that they're bent," the result, he speculates, of muscles built up during a lifetime of hunting and spear fishing.

An examination of the joints showed that Kennewick Man had arthritis in the right elbow, both knees and several vertebrae but that it wasn't severe enough to be crippling. He had suffered plenty of trauma as well. "One rib was fractured and healed," says Owsley, "and there is a depression fracture on his forehead and a similar indentation on the left side of the head."

The revelations are all the more remarkable when you consider the limitations placed on the team by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for the skeleton because the Corps has jurisdiction over the federal land on which it was found.

The researchers had to do nearly all their work at the University of Washington's Burke Museum, where Kennewick Man has been housed in a locked room since 1998, under the watchful eyes of representatives of both the Corps and the museum. And, says Owsley, "we only had 10 days to do everything we wanted to do. It was like a choreographed dance."

One of the big unanswered questions was whether Kennewick Man was Caucasian. The answer, it turns out, is probably no. He's more likely Polynesian or closer to Ainu, an ethnic group that is now found only in northern Japan but in prehistoric times lived throughout coastal areas of eastern Asia, say researchers.

That assessment will be tested more rigorously when scientists compare Kennewick Man's skull with databases of several thousand other skulls, both modern and ancient.

But provisionally, at least, the evidence fits in with a revolutionary new picture that over the past decade has utterly transformed anthropologists' long-held theories about the colonization of the Americas.

And thanks to a deeper understanding of Kennewick Man and much more scientific research into ancient artifacts and migration patterns, scientists are piecing together a picture of human life in this hemisphere that's far more complex and certainly much older than anyone had previously imagined.
 

boynamedsue

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Sophisticated forensic techniques have allowed scientists to plumb these remains for secrets of how life began in the New World

Not sure if "plumb" is a verb I like used in connection with human remains.

One of the big unanswered questions was whether Kennewick Man was Caucasian. The answer, it turns out, is probably no. He's more likely Polynesian or closer to Ainu, an ethnic group that is now found only in northern Japan but in prehistoric times lived throughout coastal areas of eastern Asia, say researchers

Is there a "Bad Anthropolology" page anywhere to post this on? His bones seem to most ressemble typical skeletons of those current cultural groups, but he could have been completely hairless and green-skinned from all we can tell from his bones.
 

OldTimeRadio

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TIME (US Edition) - March 13, 2006 - WE'RE VINDICATED!

TIME magazine for March 13, 2006, boasts a cover story "The Untold Saga of Early Man in America."

The article is quite open to European settlement of the eastern United States circa 11,000 - 12,000 BC and in Brazil as much as 45,000 BC (although acknowledging that these dates are yet "in dispute").

There's a decent color map showing the revised dates for the earliest settlements of the United States and South America. (Canada was still under glacial ice.)

Unfortunately, the article doesn't mention the recent finds from Mexico, as I'd hoped that it would.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Archaeologist's find could shake up science

By HEATHER URQUIDES
Published January 7, 2007


Archaeologist Albert Goodyear is working on the find of his life.

Based on radiocarbon tests and artifacts he's found along the Savannah River in South Carolina, Goodyear believes that humans existed in North America as many as 50,000 years ago, shattering the long-held notion that the earliest settlers arrived here about 13,000 years ago in Alaska via a lost land bridge.

Not everyone is convinced, but Goodyear believes further excavation and testing at the South Carolina location, known as the Topper site, will confirm his findings.

He's taking a break next week to come to St. Petersburg for a talk at the Science Center about Florida's first inhabitants. It's a coming home for him. After all, it was here that his interest in all things old first began.

You're from St. Petersburg?

I was born in St. Petersburg. I went to Boca Ciega High School, graduated in 1964.

What drew to you archeology?

I think it was in second grade, at Mount Vernon Elementary, we had a unit on Florida heritage. You study the state tree and the bird and all that, and we studied the Seminole Indians. I was really captivated. I thought, 'Hmm, that's the way to live.' I think that sort of predisposed me. When I was 8, my grandmother pulled out an old family trunk with an Indian arrowhead. That really fired up my imagination.

Your work at the Topper site in South Carolina showed that humans existed in North America far earlier than previously thought. Why does that matter?

People, just regular people, are extremely interested. ... I think it taps into a deep curiosity that humans have about their origins. I don't care whether you're in France or South Africa or South Carolina.

Do you think the Topper site will be your greatest discovery or is that yet to come?

I hope it is. Not just for our site, but for the sake of the program. The profession is slowly moving along to accept that there really were people here before the Clovis (roughly 13,000 years ago). The Topper site is unique ... it looks to me like it's the oldest radiocarbon site in North America. That's a huge statement. We're still working on it. Just to have literally found a site of that antiquity, the implications are just enormous. It does say, if it's that old, that people were getting into the United States the same time they were getting into Australia. That's part of that very old migration story. Literally, if it all works out, and I'm convinced that it will, obviously it will be the find of my lifetime.

What's it like to now be the one that people come to listen to?

It comes with the notoriety of the Topper site. ... People are curious about it and want to know what it is, and is it true? I try to cover that when I give these presentations. For me it's fun. It's pretty gratifying because I've always liked working with the public - especially amateur archeologists, since I started out as one.

-----------------
If you go

What: Albert Goodyear talks about "Florida's First Peoples"

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Science Center, 7701 22nd Ave. N

Details: Tickets are $6. For more information, go to www. sciencecenterofpinellas.com or call 384-0027.

[Last modified January 7, 2007, 01:37:07]

www.sptimes.com/2007/01/07/Neighborhood ... ind_.shtml
 

Hanslune

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Some comments:

Olmecs, 17 large heads have been found, 3 have the 'African' looking features. If you go to that area of Mexico you will notice that a number of the Indians have more sub-saharan african lips and facial structure than other Indians. However this is due to a local trait not an outside genetic hybridization in most opinions. Blood and genetic markers point to an Asian origin.

There were probably multiple migrations from Asia and possibily some limited contact with the Polynesian long after the initial movements. Evidence for European and African migrations is at best limited at this time. The older the materials are the more difficult it becomes to tie it to any regions or existing 'race'. That is because the 'group' you are attempting to link to has also changed during the same time frame.

Kennie man? Probably from the same group as the Ainu or earlier Asian stock.
 

OldTimeRadio

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If the current Young Turk theories of the trans-Atlantic settlement of prehistoric eastern North America pan out, it's going to mean that the early 19th Century antiquarians were more right than they knew. They were obviously in error postulating the Indians as the descendants of Atlanteans or the Ten Lost Tribes, but they at least erred in the right direction.
 

Hanslune

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We wish them luck. The evidence they have now is mighty thin versus the overwhelming Asian data.

Yes the 18-19th century guys were desperately trying to hammer square pegs into round holes to back up the Bible. Heck the LDS was still trying to do that in 60-70s I do believe.
 

OldTimeRadio

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Hans, I thought the theory of the "Red Paint People" crossing from northernmost Europe to the New World in prehistoric times was now fairly-well accepted. Or am I again in error?
 

Hanslune

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The Laurentian tradition or Maritime archaic are (AFAIK) native americans of Asian origin. They had a fairly well adaptive culture for deep sea and coastal maritime harvesting. Some of their tools looked similar to European tools. However this is probably a result of the tools doing the same task. ie bow and spear all tend to look alike as do certain tools which were designed to do a specific thing.

Although contact between Europe and NA cannot be discounted the difficult of the trip would seem to make it unlikely. If it did occur it left no detectable trace.

Unlike the Vikings, Inuit and Spanish/Portuguese who came later and whose trace is clearly seen.
 

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First Americans Arrived Recently, Settled Pacific Coast,

First Americans Arrived Recently, Settled Pacific Coast, DNA Study Says
Stefan Lovgren
for National Geographic News

February 2, 2007
A study of the oldest known sample of human DNA in the Americas suggests that humans arrived in the New World relatively recently, around 15,000 years ago.

The DNA was extracted from a 10,300-year-old tooth found in a cave on Prince of Wales Island off southern Alaska in 1996.


The sample represents a previously unknown lineage for the people who first arrived in the Americas.

The findings, published last week in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, shed light on how the descendants of the Alaskan caveman might have spread.

Comparing the DNA found in the tooth with that sampled from 3,500 Native Americans, researchers discovered that only one percent of modern tribal members have genetic patterns that matched the prehistoric sample.

Those who did lived primarily on the Pacific coast of North and South America, from California to Tierra del Fuego at the southernmost tip of South America (see map).

This suggests that the first Americans may have spread through the New World along a coastal route.

Brian Kemp, a molecular anthropologist who sequenced the DNA, said the discovery underlines the importance of genetic research in understanding human migration.

"I think there's a lot of information in these old skeletons that's going to help us clarify the timing of the peopling of the Americas and perhaps where Native Americans originated in Asia," said Kemp, a Ph.D. candidate at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

On Your Knees Cave

When and how the first people came to the Americas has been a subject of intense debate.

The prevailing theory has been that the first to arrive descended from prehistoric hunters who walked across a thousand-mile (1,600-kilometer) land bridge from Asia to Alaska.

This migration probably occurred at least 15,000 years ago—the oldest human remains discovered so far are 13,000 years old—but some scientists have proposed that the first Americans arrived up to 40,000 years ago.


The Alaskan tooth was discovered in a cavern called On Your Knees Cave, named by the explorer who first crawled inside it.

(See a National Geographic magazine feature on the search for the first Americans.)

Using material taken from the tooth, Kemp isolated fragments of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which is passed down from mothers to their offspring, and Y chromosome DNA, which is passed from father to son.

From a genetic database of 3,500 Native Americans, Kemp found 47 individuals in North and South America who exhibited the same genetic markers as the caveman. Some of the samples were drawn from living people and others from ancient bones.

He then compared the tooth DNA with the matching, modern samples and tracked the mutations that had occurred in that DNA over time.

By measuring the rate of mutation, Kemp found that so-called molecular evolution—the process by which genetic material changes over time—had taken place two to four times faster than researchers believed mtDNA could evolve.

That, Kemp said, suggests people entered the Americas within the last 15,000 years, because the DNA has evolved too fast for the arrival to have occurred any earlier.

"I would say that humans were probably not here much before that date," said Kemp. "A 15,000-year-old entry is [also] much more consistent with the archaeological record."

Genetic Markers

All of the mtDNA lineages among Native Americans are associated with five founding lineages believed to have originated in Asia.

But the caveman DNA turned out to be an independent founding lineage.

Of the 47 samples that matched the tooth DNA, 4 were from descendants of Chumash Indians living along California's central coast.

"The distribution of people exhibiting this [genetic] type today are all distributed in the western Americas," Kemp said.

"More or less the individuals are smack down the coast. It's a very neat western distribution."

John Johnson, an archaeologist and ethnohistorian at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in California, collected the Chumash DNA samples.

To Johnson, the matching of the Chumash samples to the On Your Knees Cave man is indirect evidence of an ancient coastal migration that may have occurred very rapidly.

"We're interested in who were those first people to arrive here at the Pacific coast," Johnson said.

"I believe the Chumash descended from a very early coastal migration that resulted in the distribution of people down to the tip of South America."

Fishing Cultures?

But where did these coastal migrants come from?

DNA samples of people living in Japan and northeast Asia show some of the genetic mutations found in the cave-tooth and Chumash samples.

"I think that's a clue that there could be a genetic connection," Johnson said.

He said the Chumash descendants may have been skilled fishers before they arrived in the Americas.

"Your techniques for exploiting coastal resources are easily [transferable] and something that maybe can allow you to migrate more quickly than people who are hunters and gatherers, who must get used to new environments as they move into uncharted territory," Johnson said.

"I think that may have allowed a more rapid migration along the Pacific margins of the Americas."

Kemp, meanwhile, said rapidly advancing DNA technology will help scientists piece together the story of the first Americans.

"No expert in morphology could look at the bones and say this person resembles a Tierra del Fuego person. It was only the DNA that could seal the case," Kemp said.

"This really highlights the importance of adding a molecular component to the study of these really ancient remains."

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news ... ation.html
 

boynamedsue

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Im not sure if these "DNA matches" stories shouldnt be taken with a pinch of salt.

All this tooth shows is a rare marker present on the west coast of the americas now was also present 10K years back. Doesnt show who migrated where, or even if this person was part of a population which contributed to the Nat Am gene pool.

Must be weird to have found an object which was actually part of someone whose world view we cant possibly begin to understand... a bit like when i found Jim Davidson's syphilis wracked nose on the floor outside BNP headquarters.
 

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Forensic photography brings color back to ancient textiles



An image of a Hopewell textile retrieved from Ohio Seip burial mounds in southern Ohio. Photographed in simulated daylight (top left), some patterns can be seen by the unaided eye. Credit: Reprinted from The Journal of Archaeological Science , Vol. 34.


Archaeologists are now turning to forensic crime lab techniques to hunt for dyes, paint, and other decoration in prehistoric textiles.

Although ancient fabrics can offer clues about prehistoric cultures, often their colors are faded, patterns dissolved, and fibers crumbling. Forensic photography can be used as an inexpensive and non-destructive tool to analyze these artifacts more efficiently, according to new Ohio State University research.

Forensic photography helps researchers collect information from fragile artifacts before using expensive chemical tests, which cause damage during material sampling. The forensic method also helps researchers narrow areas to sample for colorants, ultimately reducing artifact damage and testing costs.

"Normally when you dig artifacts out of the ground, especially stone or ceramic ones, you wash them and they look sexy. But you can't do that with textiles," said Christel Baldia, Ohio State University doctoral graduate in textiles and clothing. Baldia conducted the study with Kathryn Jakes, professor of textile sciences in the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State, and published their findings in the April, 2007 issue of Journal of Archaeological Science.

Putting forensic photography to the test, Baldia and Jakes examined textiles from burial mounds built by the Hopewell, a prehistoric Native American people that flourished about 1600 years ago. In their study, the two investigators focused on pieces of fabric recovered from Ohio 's Seip burial mounds in southern Ohio. Experts believe some of the pieces belonged to a canopy of fabric that arched over the remains buried inside the mounds.

"Textiles often come out looking like brown rags, yet Native American dress is described as colorful by early travelers or pioneers." Baldia said. "So we asked ourselves: ‘What can we do to better examine ancient textiles for colors we no longer see?'"

Forensic scientists use different light sources, such as ultraviolet and infrared, to visualize stains or fingerprints on clothing, but Jakes said no one has used those methods in looking at ancient textiles. "In a way, it's like shopping for clothes," she said. "You need to see the clothing in different lighting—a fabric looks like it matches in the store's lighting, but when you bring it into sunlight the colors change."

Under non-visible light, many pigments and dyes absorb light energy but release it in different wavelengths, or colors, of light. This behavior is called fluorescence, and it can reveal faded or deteriorated artwork in textiles. Fluorescence normally helps forensic investigators find blood stains, fingerprints, body oils, and other evidence where there appears to be none (such stains can be visible even after washing thoroughly).

To find fluorescent patterns in textiles, Baldia and Jakes simulated daylight, ultraviolet light (between 254 nm and 365 nm), and infrared light (between 800 nm and 900 nm), then photographed the artifacts with special film and light-filtering camera equipment. The photographs ultimately helped them see undetected patterns and markings in some of the artifacts they examined.

"The materials we examined from Hopewell burial mounds show gradations of color under different light sources," Jakes said. "When artifacts have non-random changes in color like that, it indicates to us that there has to be dye or pigment. That's significant for ancient textiles because it reveals technologies prehistoric Native peoples were capable of."

When archaeologists are curious about an ancient fabric's colors, they often sample the material at random and cause damage to it. Photographing artifacts with Baldia and Jakes' method before sampling, however, helps archaeologists build a focused game plan for sampling that minimizes harm to the material.

"The code of ethics from the American Institute of Conservation is ‘do no harm'," Jakes said. "For the artifact to stick around for as long possible, you have to be as minimally destructive in your sampling as possible."

Baldia said sampling ancient fabric always requires removing a fiber or piece of yarn. "People essentially do this randomly, but forensic photography helps minimize damage by enabling us to sample strategically," Baldia said. If archaeologists see a pattern in forensic photographs, she said, then the area most likely contains dye or paint—and focusing on such areas ultimately provides more information about ancient civilizations while cutting research costs.

Baldia explained that she and Jakes got the idea to photographically analyze textiles from museum painting conservators.

"Art museums use it to see if a painting has been painted over, if it's a forgery, and so on," Baldia said. "We thought: ‘why aren't we doing this with ancient textiles?' Just like other art, fabrics are dyed and painted, and this is an inexpensive way to gather important information."

The researchers hope their technique will become standard practice for analyzing textiles and even other organic artifacts, like wood or leather.

"I think this will help spur a lot of new findings," Jakes said. "It's a great way to start looking at the stuff in the attics of museums across the country in a new way."

Source: Ohio State University


http://www.physorg.com/printnews.php?newsid=90091563
 

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Published online: 22 February 2007; | doi:10.1038/news070219-10
Who were the first Americans?
Dating study suggests it wasn't the makers of the Clovis culture.
Heidi Ledford



The Clovis culture is characterized by sophisticated stone weapons.

Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University

For decades many archaeologists have believed that the first Americans belonged to what is called the Clovis culture — hunter-gatherers who lived in parts of North America roughly 13,000 calendar years ago.

A new study counters this notion by showing that the Clovis culture is nearly 500 years younger than previously thought, and may have lasted for as little as 200 years. There is evidence of other cultures in the Americas well before this new date.

The Clovis culture is characterized by sophisticated stone weapons, first found in Clovis, New Mexico. They would have been used to hunt mammals, including mammoths and mastodons.

The 'Clovis-first' model posits that the original Americans crossed a land bridge linking Siberia and Alaska during the last ice age, and headed south down the eastern side of the Rockies through a gap in the two ice sheets that covered Canada.

When they got beyond the ice, they dispersed rapidly, reaching the southern tip of South America roughly a thousand years later, and carrying the Clovis culture as far as central America.

This picture has been challenged in recent years, most notably by the discovery of archaeological remains in Chile and Wisconsin that have been dated to over 14,000 years ago. Mainstream thinking has shifted away from the Clovis-first model, says Vance Holliday, a geoarchaeologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson: "But the debate is still out there."

Updating the dating

Michael Waters of Texas A&M University in College Station and geochemist Thomas Stafford Jr of Stafford Research Laboratories in Boulder, Colorado, have now re-evaluated the age of Clovis artefacts, many of which were dated in the 1960s and 70s using carbon-dating techniques that are now obsolete.

The duo re-dated the artefacts using a technique called accelerator mass spectrometry. Like standard radiocarbon dating, this method measures the ratio of different forms of carbon in a sample. But it requires much less material and delivers more precise results.

Clovis technology turns out to be younger than previously thought — 13,100 years old, rather than 13,600 — and to have lasted only 200 to 350 years.

That's not long enough for people to reach the southern tip of the Americas, says Waters. Models suggest that the 14,000-kilometre journey would take 600-1,000 years.

Instead, Waters believes that the Clovis culture spread through a pre-existing population. "The old Clovis-first model would have had the Clovis culture marching down into unpopulated South America, all the way to the southern tip," he says. "But our data are showing that these two populations are contemporaneous." The findings are reported this week in Science.1

Fast movers?

The re-analysis is a landmark finding, says archaeologist Donald Grayson of the University of Washington in Seattle. But, he adds, Waters and Stafford's arguments would be stronger if they had analysed material from more sites — many were excluded out of concern for the quality of the artefacts.

"The bigger your sample, the wider the spread of dates is going to become," says Grayson. "As long as their sample is only 11 sites, it stands to reason that the time period is more constrained than it could be if we had more sites."

The exclusion of the Aubrey site in Texas — believed to be one of the oldest Clovis sites — is particularly worrying, says C. Vance Haynes of the University of Arizona, Tucson, who has studied Clovis culture for more than 40 years. Waters and Stafford excluded that site because the samples may have been contaminated.

Haynes agrees with this decision, but points out that excluding the site might have affected the results.

Geological analyses of Clovis sites support the idea that the culture was relatively short-lived, says Haynes. But he still thinks that people, driven by curiosity and an abundance of game, would have taken much less than 600 years to infiltrate the Americas.

"This is exploration of a new world by a fairly sophisticated group," says Haynes. "I don't believe other people who say it takes hundred of years for this culture to spread."

Visit our newsblog to read and post comments about this story.



References
Waters M. R. & Stafford Jr. T. W. Science, 315 . 1122 - 1126 (2007).



Story from [email protected]:
http://news.nature.com//news/2007/070219/070219-10.html
 
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