Peopling of Americas

The science or study of primitive societies and the nature of man.

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Beagle
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Post by Beagle » Mon May 05, 2008 12:15 pm

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08125/878625-85.stm
Meadowcroft Rockshelter, near Avella, is reopening to the public Saturday after undergoing a massive renovation that will make it an accessible tourist destination for people who want to see what is considered the oldest archaeological site in North America.

Compared to neighboring Meadowcroft Village -- a slice of rural life in 19th century Western Pennsylvania that drew about 12,000 visitors last year -- the Rockshelter had fewer visitors, despite its impressive historical significance.

The site was discovered in 1955 when Albert Miller found some archaeological evidence in a groundhog hole on his property. A few of the artifacts were linked to ancient hunters, and in 1973 archaeologist James Adovasio, then at the University of Pittsburgh and now at Mercyhurst College, asked to excavate.
This is one of the most important pre-Clovis sites in America. Now it has been renovated and made accessible for an old guy like myself. I'll be planning on going. 8)

Beagle
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Post by Beagle » Mon May 05, 2008 12:19 pm

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 65730.html
Radiocarbon dating in 1974 showed that burnt wood from an ancient campfire dated 16,000 years -- far older than 11,000-year-old artifacts recovered near Clovis, N.M., long the oldest evidence of people in North America.

The finding ignited a fierce debate about when people arrived in North America. Later finds in Virginia and South Carolina corroborated that people were in the eastern United States at least 5,000 years before Clovis.

Once word got out about his archaeological dig, Adovasio assumed the occasional role of tour guide, explaining the discovery to the visitors who started showing up. In 2003, stairs were built to the site and regular public tours began.

It was difficult to accommodate crowds, and many of the more interesting finds were impossible to see without disturbing the dig.

"It was rather cramped previously," said Ross Kronenbitter, who used to work for the History Center and now is a project manager for Clear Story Creative, a South Side design firm that installed theatrical lighting to illuminate key features of the site. "Now it's so airy and open and you can see so much more."
Here's a little more info on the preceeding post.

santyago
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Post by santyago » Mon May 05, 2008 2:56 pm

Possible reason for resistence to the idea of pre-Clovis occupation:

99% of the field archaeology in the US is conducted by archaeologists in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) firms. This archaeology is done to meet State and Federal requirements for certain types of projects that are funded with tax dollars or are regulated by the State or the Feds (roads, pipelines, levees, etc). Tens of thousands of these archaeological surveys are done each year, along with numerous site testings and full-scale excavations.

Shovel testing and trenching on these projects is done to the depth of the Holocene deposits. If people were in the Americas before the Holocene, that would render thirty years worth of CRM surveys (that have cost hundreds of millions of dollars) insufficient. It would also very substantially increase the cost of any future CRM surveys, if they will need to excavate well into the Pleistocene soils to be sure that areas are properly cleared for development.

There is resistance to the concept of pre-Clovis populations in North America among academics -- and the argument against pre-Clovis is that that the evidence is very slim (though I think that tide may slowly be turning). But imagine how strong the resistance will be outside the Ivory Towers where the oil companies and housing developers and Departments of Transportation have to pay CRM companies to clear their projects before they can go to construction? If every survey suddenly doubles in cost, the dollar amounts are potentially huge. And who should pay? The oil companies will just pass it on to the consumer. The Departments of Transportation are taxpayer funded anyway.

I guess my only point is that accepting pre-Clovis is an expensive proposition!

Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Mon May 05, 2008 3:00 pm

and the argument against pre-Clovis is that that the evidence is very slim

True but, as you logically pointed out before, only a handful of brave souls were actually looking for it.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

santyago
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Post by santyago » Mon May 05, 2008 3:22 pm

I'm not sure those brave souls were even looking. I think they were just excavating their sites and were quite shocked at the dates from the carbon samples they submitted for analysis.

But it's not much to go on. The list of sites with dates that pre-date Clovis is growing but there are always legitimate scientific skeptics that point out why those dates might be questionable. It only takes one little beetle or mouse or a tree root to move a piece of charcoal up from a culturally sterile older level into a cultural level. The argument will only be won by sheer force of numbers -- more sites, more dates, more consistent pre-Clovis artifacts.

And until then -- nobody's really even looking!

Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Mon May 05, 2008 5:38 pm

Cognito and Charlie are looking. We'll have to rely on them!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Digit
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Post by Digit » Mon May 05, 2008 5:56 pm

Just how many sites are needed? Dinosauria were created as a class on less,
as was HSN. Whether Clovis was first or not, ceasing to dig just because you have found what you are looking for shows the closed mind that is the antithesis of exploration.
How often, for example, have earlier sites been found in England beneath Roman sites? One digs till you reach sterility or bedrock!

Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Mon May 05, 2008 6:04 pm

Just how many sites are needed?
Depends on how many reputations are on the line, Dig.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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Post by Rokcet Scientist » Mon May 05, 2008 6:20 pm

Digit wrote:One digs till you reach sterility or bedrock!
Or oil, or gas, or minerals, or metals, etc. etc.
Anything exploitable.

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Sam Salmon
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Post by Sam Salmon » Mon May 05, 2008 9:06 pm

Minimalist wrote:
Just how many sites are needed?
Depends on how many reputations are on the line, Dig.
Rokcet Scientist wrote:
Digit wrote:One digs till you reach sterility or bedrock!
Or oil, or gas, or minerals, or metals, etc. etc.
Anything exploitable.
Hmmm... it's a hard crowd in this place! 8)

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Digit
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Post by Digit » Tue May 06, 2008 2:08 am

Realists Sam!

Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Tue May 06, 2008 7:49 am

And cranky realists, at that!
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

Beagle
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Post by Beagle » Tue May 06, 2008 9:05 am

http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/chapter54/t ... wcroft.htm

[quoteThe Meadowcroft site is important because it has an enormously long record ofhuman occupation. although that occupation was not continuous. The site was first occupied at a very early date indeed: just under more than 16,000 years ago is the latest estimate for the oldest level found and the site was not finally abandoned until the American War for Independence.

The site was discovered in 1909 by a black foreman who recognised strange bones as too big teven to be buffalo (in fact they turned out later to be of the extinct Bison antiquus). Some bones and artefacts were collected and then sat, forgotten, in a warehouse until the site was re-discovered by Albert Miller in 1955. Scientific excavation with the most modern technologies was finally carried out 1973-1978 by a team led by Dr.James M. Adovasio of the University of Pittsburgh. His discoveries were spectacular and made the site one of the most important in the Americas. It upset the powerful "pre-Clovis does not exist" faction among prehistorians and so it took decades for the message from Meadowcroft to sink in, that there was indeed a pre-Clovis.

The scientific excavation of the rock shelter was so well-organised and documented and the evidence found so clearly layered in undisturbed strata (unlike most other possible pre-Clovis sites) that there was much less room for doubt and controversy than there had been with earlier pre-Clovis claims.

][/quote]

A last note (for now) on Meadowcroft, with pics from before the recent renovation. Adovasio really did a good job at this site. 8)

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Bruce
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Post by Bruce » Tue May 06, 2008 10:40 pm

Cognito and Charlie are looking. We'll have to rely on them!
Does Charlie have any dates yet?
He can find them, but...
Every American citie was built on somebodies elses ashes.
It cracks me up when you talk about migrations then say "what happens
when they meet up with other human populations".
The genetic evidence will prevail when we get a chance to examine the bones
that are being legally barred.
The cultural evidence will prevail when the smithsonsian sites that were buried are properly investigated.
It's all in your backyard! You found anything yet Min?

Minimalist
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Post by Minimalist » Tue May 06, 2008 10:46 pm

No, but I'm not really out there looking.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

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