The First Americans

Mungoman

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Learning from the past.

An interdisciplinary team of scientists studying thousands of oyster shells along the Georgia coast, some as old as 4,500 years, has published new insights into how Native Americans sustained oyster harvests for thousands of years, observations that may lead to better management practices of oyster reefs today.

Their study, led by University of Georgia archaeologist Victor Thompson, was published July 10 in the journal Science Advances.

The new research argues that understanding the long-term stability of coastal ecosystems requires documenting past and present conditions of such environments, as well as considering their future. The findings highlight a remarkable stability of oyster reefs prior to the 20th century and have implications for oyster-reef restoration by serving as a guide for the selection of suitable oyster restoration sites in the future.

Shellfish, such as oysters, have long been a food staple for human populations around the world, including Native American communities along the coast of the southeastern United States. The eastern oyster Crassostrea virginica is a species studied frequently by biologists and marine ecologists because of the central role the species plays in coastal ecosystems.

https://phys.org/news/2020-07-ancient-oyster-shells-historical-insights.html
The ultimate conservationists written large in the landscape. It speaks so much about the First Nation People of the South Eastern Coast of the United States - more probably, the whole of the Seaboard of North America.
 

ramonmercado

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Resisting the invaders.

About 130 kilometers from modern-day Atlanta, a three-story-tall earthen pyramid once rose among the rolling hills of the Oconee Valley.

Atop the mound were red cedar pergolas and two large platforms—one with food scraps and cooking fires, the other with meticulously swept floors and clay hearths simmering sacred drink.

For centuries, this monument was used in ceremonies by an Indigenous alliance of chiefdoms that flourished between the Appalachian slopes and the sea. Then, Spanish colonizers arrived: In 1540, an expedition led by Fernando de Soto blazed through the valley in 11 days. The encounter brought disease, destabilization, and—most archaeologists thought—swift social collapse. Now, a new study shows people in the Oconee Valley—ancestors of the later Muscogee, or Creek tribes—continued their Indigenous traditions at the monument, Dyar mound, for nearly 130 years after Spanish contact.

“They didn’t just stop like, ‘Oh, civilization’s over. We’re going to go ahead and jump into [colonial history] now,’” says Turner Hunt, an archaeologist with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Historic and Cultural Preservation Department who is also Muscogee. Along with RaeLynn Butler, manager of the same department, he advised the authors of the new study. Butler calls the new finding “a big deal, because this solidifies what we already believe to be true … that we’re descendants of the mound builders.”

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/202...ee-tribes-resisted-colonial-culture-130-years
 

ramonmercado

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New findings regarding the Clovis Culture.

There is much debate surrounding the age of the Clovis—a prehistoric culture named for stone tools found near Clovis, New Mexico in the early 1930s—who once occupied North America during the end of the last Ice Age.

New testing of bones and artifacts show that Clovis tools were made only during a brief, 300-year period from 13,050 to 12,750 years ago.

Michael Waters, distinguished professor of anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans, along with Texas A&M anthropologist David Carlson and Thomas Stafford of Stafford Research in Colorado, have had their new work published in the current issue of Science Advances.

The team used the radiocarbon method to date bone, charcoal and carbonized plant remains from 10 known Clovis sites in South Dakota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, Montana and two sites in Oklahoma and Wyoming. An analysis of the dates showed that people made and used the iconic Clovis spear-point and other distinctive tools for only 300 years. ...


https://phys.org/news/2020-10-tools-north-america-earliest-inhabitants.html
 

ramonmercado

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It's California Man!

Scientific debate about the most controversial archaeological site in the Americas has entered rocky new territory.

In 2017, scientists reported that around 130,000 years ago, an unidentified Homo species used stone tools to break apart a mastodon’s bones near what is now San Diego. If true, that would mean that humans or one of our close evolutionary relatives reached the Americas at least 100,000 years earlier than previously thought, dramatically reshaping scientists’ understanding of when the region was settled (SN: 4/26/17).

Critics have questioned whether the unearthed stones were actually used as tools. And other researchers suggested that supposed tool marks on the bones could have been created as the bones were carried by fast-moving streams or caused by construction activity that partially exposed the California site before its excavation in 1992 and 1993.

But new analyses bolster the controversial claim, says a team that includes some of the researchers involved in the initial finding. Chemical residue of bones appears on two stones previously found among mastodon remains at the Cerutti Mastodon site, the scientists report in the December Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. The two Cerutti rocks also show signs of having delivered or received hard blows where bone residue accumulated, the team says. The larger stone may have served as a platform on which the bones were smashed open with the smaller stone, possibly to remove marrow for eating or to obtain bone chunks suitable for shaping into tools. ...

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/stones-mastodon-bones-debate-america-first-settlers
 

EnolaGaia

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Mungoman

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For some, I suppose, it would be egg on their face, and their reputation, that mankind crossed over into The Americas at this suggested time.

Who knows...maybe there will be, soon found indicators that there always has been humanity, and it's ancestor on the America's.
 

PeniG

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It's not just a matter of "egg on face," it's a matter of "huge evidence gap."

Now, as disposing of the Clovis First paradigm has shown, huge evidence gaps can be the result of many things. In American archaeology in particular, these things can include "racism," "poor preservation conditions," "technical difficulties," and "looking in the wrong place." But they can also be the result of nothing being in the gap. Illusions, compromised sites, and hoaxes are all real things and no one wants to be the archaeologist taken in by them.

Archaeology is a conservative discipline; and American archaeology is conservative even by those standards. The number of hugely popular fringe theories of the Graham Hancock and Von Daniken sorts, not to mention religious hobbyhorses, hanging over their heads every time they give a newspaper interview or conduct a site tour is nothing short of mindboggling. I'm sure as many people are excited at the possibilities here and eager to look at the evidence as are dismissive and assume this evidence is all artifact and fantasy - but it doesn't pay to get visibly excited or be an early adopter of any theory that doesn't fit comfortably with what we've got now.
 

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If the >100 000-year-old dates pan out, and especially if the > 200 000-year-old ones do, then some of the artifacts could have been made by other species of genus Homo. The broader implications for hominid presence in the Americas would be significant.

Of course, all of this hinges on accurately dating the available evidence. I look forward to further research in this area...
 

blessmycottonsocks

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There's a few posts in this thread commenting on alleged links - both in DNA terms and the similarity of ancient artefacts, between native Americans and the Basque people.

Today's Quora contained an article describing some linguistic coincidences, such as the Basque word for dog (txakurra) phonetically resembling dog in the Alaskan Haida language (Xa).

A quick Google reveals other similarities between Basque and Native American vocabulary:

Basque everything "dena" ; Alaskan the people or all of us "dene"
Basque to eat "jan" ; Mattole (Native Californian) to eat "yan"; Hupa to eat "tang"
Basque: Moon "ilargia" ; Sarcee (Alberta) Moon " Yilnágha "

Even the name Alaska (from the Aleut language) is reminiscent of the Basque alatz (miracles) -ka (suffix denoting continuous action, unending).
So Alaska could mean the land of continual miracles?

There's a long list of apparent similarities given in the link below. Whilst I'm not convinced, it is interesting and would merit further research.

https://faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/bronze/eskimo.htm#vocabularycompare
 

Mungoman

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There's a few posts in this thread commenting on alleged links - both in DNA terms and the similarity of ancient artefacts, between native Americans and the Basque people.

Today's Quora contained an article describing some linguistic coincidences, such as the Basque word for dog (txakurra) phonetically resembling dog in the Alaskan Haida language (Xa).

A quick Google reveals other similarities between Basque and Native American vocabulary:

Basque everything "dena" ; Alaskan the people or all of us "dene"
Basque to eat "jan" ; Mattole (Native Californian) to eat "yan"; Hupa to eat "tang"
Basque: Moon "ilargia" ; Sarcee (Alberta) Moon " Yilnágha "

Even the name Alaska (from the Aleut language) is reminiscent of the Basque alatz (miracles) -ka (suffix denoting continuous action, unending).
So Alaska could mean the land of continual miracles?

There's a long list of apparent similarities given in the link below. Whilst I'm not convinced, it is interesting and would merit further research.

https://faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/bronze/eskimo.htm#vocabularycompare

That is bloody interesting Blessed - I've always thought that a language can tell you a history of the person who speaks it, but the coincidences here, with these comparisons are provoking (in a good way).

Much appreciated.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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That is bloody interesting Blessed - I've always thought that a language can tell you a history of the person who speaks it, but the coincidences here, with these comparisons are provoking (in a good way).

Much appreciated.
It is isn't it?
Rather like how Proto-Indo-European has been reconstructed with a fair degree of authority as a Neolithic language and the common ancestor of everything from Greek, Latin and Sanskrit to the English we're using right now.

Regarding the link I posted above, I did feel the author has over-egged the argument a bit by including comparatively recent terms like Eskimo and Baptise, which would have meant nothing to the ancient Basques or native Alaskans and have probably entered both languages through later Western linguistic circulation. A few fundamental terms do appear to have a degree of similarity though. Whether this is down to mere coincidence or can be taken as evidence that ancient Basques crossed the Bering Strait land-ice bridge into Alaska taking their language with them, is debatable.
 

blessmycottonsocks

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Considering how unique basque is, I should think it more likely alaskan and basque had a common origin from a third place. Atlantis?
It would not surprise me if the ancient inhabitants of the Azores (the most likely location of Atlantis IMHO) did make it to the Americas.
After all, they made it almost halfway there by reaching the Azores plateau from either Africa or the European mainland.
Just posted some further evidence about ancient occupation of the Azores to the Atlantis thread.
 

PeniG

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Why assume that Basque is the closer language to the original?

The indigenous languages of Alaska are part of a language group that also includes Navajo. It is far more likely that an Asian language spread both to Western Europe and to the Americas from a common source, and that it throve in the Americas and survives only in one place in Western Europe, than that a group identifiably "Basque" went to the Americas.

Modern ethnic and language identities are the end results of long chains of events. Claiming that any modern group descends from any other modern group is like saying humans descend from monkeys.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Why assume that Basque is the closer language to the original?

The indigenous languages of Alaska are part of a language group that also includes Navajo. It is far more likely that an Asian language spread both to Western Europe and to the Americas from a common source, and that it throve in the Americas and survives only in one place in Western Europe, than that a group identifiably "Basque" went to the Americas.

Modern ethnic and language identities are the end results of long chains of events. Claiming that any modern group descends from any other modern group is like saying humans descend from monkeys.
Off-topic but thanks for using the word "throve". Not seen that for a while. :)
 

Mungoman

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Considering how unique basque is, I should think it more likely alaskan and basque had a common origin from a third place. Atlantis?

I'm of the opinion that there was more than a country called Atlantis, rather, it was an age of Atlantean building around the world for approximately the same length of time, which cataclysmically ended - which begs the thought...If, all these buildings were being erected around the world, what was the culture behind the desire, how comprehensive was it, and where did the knowledge come from, and of course, why did it end.
 

Endlessly Amazed

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I am not a linguist, but here are my thoughts on the Basque and Native American (NA) language similarities:
it seems possible, but unlikely. Here are some things I would want to know before provisionally thinking that the two languages are related:

What is the percentage of commonalities between Basque and NW North American languages?
What is the percentage of commonalities between Basque and other North American languages?
What is the percentage of commonalities between NW North American languages and other NA Athabascan-descended languages?
What is the percentage of commonalities between French and NW north American languages?
What is the percentage of commonalities between Spanish or Portuguese and NW north American languages?

It may be that the commonalites, if they occur no more frequently than other, historically unrelated commonalities, are just a coincidence. To test this, we would compare the commonalities between known historically related languages, and then among the non-related languages. It would be nice to know, as well, generally how long it takes sub-language evolution to be markedly different. Also, I suspect that language evolution and change (drift) is affected differently if the languages are written as well as spoken during the drift period.

Help! Any fortean linguists online?

ps - wasn't there a recent discussion somewhere on these hallowed threads that the news report of a Basque sheepherder in SW United States finding ancient Basque artifacts was an April Fool's joke?
 
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