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Archaeologica.org • View topic - Problematic Discoveries

Problematic Discoveries

The Western Hemisphere. General term for the Americas following their discovery by Europeans, thus setting them in contradistinction to the Old World of Africa, Europe, and Asia.

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby circumspice » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:26 am

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby circumspice » Tue Aug 21, 2018 2:45 am

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Springhead » Wed Aug 22, 2018 1:50 pm

Shawomet,

Thanks for your comments. Jack has described quite a few artifacts seen on the Portable Rock Museum site gallery as "provable Pleistocene." I think your blanket rejection of all the pieces as natural rocks may be premature. One example, the very pure red jasper hammerstone (grouped with a gastrolith and possible dinosaur egg) is obvious even in the image with a flattened work end to the right. I could go on, but I am not here to take anyone to task or espouse any expertise. Advice I get here says find a reputable archaeologist to analyze the finds. Having done so, now that person is said to be mistaken. I doubt Jack would devote time to a forum when he has many Pleistocene sites to figure out in Virginia. His most recent book would be instructive relative to Pleistocene archaeology in the mid Atlantic.

I appreciate the time you have taken to post on this thread. I do not think you are part of some conspiracy, rather an example of orthodox thinking in archaeology today. I respect your experience with Holocene artifacts, but I do wonder about any training you might have in Pleistocene archaeology in the Americas and elsewhere. I personally am on a very steep learning curve with this subject and must depend on expertise from Jack and any related reading. As to the veracity of my claim that Jack categorized twenty or so pieces in my possession as "provable Pleistocene," you may want to verify with him if my truthfulness is an issue.

Thanks Again, Shawomet
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Springhead » Wed Aug 22, 2018 2:33 pm

Hello Circumspice,

I am sorry you feel this thread has become (or always was?) a waste of bandwidth, but I certainly respect your stance and choice to step back. I have never been likened to a cat before, and truly, I am not a herd animal. My ability to care for animals, children, and the aged is reasonably OK despite the fact that I say reality can be elusive. I would not want to be part of a world where all sought the comfort of a static base line. I do agree that perceptions change, but are not our perceptions the tools with which we qualify reality, and as these perceptions change or evolve our understandings, whose perception of reality is correct?

As I mentioned to Shawomet, Jack is an extremely busy guy (who is confident in his ideas and theories and knows a lot about tools and how they were made to include the eccentricities of Pleistocene materials). I have no wish to drag Jack into some debate on my behalf, and I was initially hesitant to even mention his name. Eventually, with his permission, I did so. If you have a bone to pick you might contact him.

Thanks for your responses over time (sans the insults and amateur hour psychoanalyses), and if I am better able to characterize or represent this assemblage, I hope you will respond then.
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby circumspice » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:33 pm

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Thu Aug 23, 2018 2:17 pm

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:17 pm

Here is a surface find for which it can safely be said it is "provable Pleistocene" in age:

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/new ... s-science/

You cannot say that about the so-called art shown at the portable rock art page.

You cannot, generally, provide more then relative age to any artifact found on the surface. Since we know the ages of specific types of projectile points, for instance, since each style has been found in a professionally excavated context that yielded dates via accepted dating methodology, one can, when finding a know point style on the surface, assign a relative age, a date range, such as Late Archaic, Woodland, and Paleo in the case of known Paleo aged projectiles.

It's a whole different story with the rocks found on the portable rock art page. Not only do they show no physical evidence of tooling by humans, not only do they show no recognizable evidence at all of being images created by man, on rock, or rocks shaped by man into effigies, but how many were found in a professional excavation where either relative or absolute age could be determined? I'm pretty sure I know the answer since almost all are contributions by enthusiastic amateurs with no training beyond their fecund imagination.

"Provable Pleistocene". What a joke. A meaningless term without context, assigned, apparently, if we are to believe the OP, to rocks that show no evidence of alteration by humans. And if assigned by Hranicky, an even bigger joke, since the man should know better. If I were conducting a controlled excavation and reached a layer that could be demonstrated to date to some stage of the Pleistocene, I could, provided all other depisitional circumstances were eliminated, assign an ordinary rock found in that layer as having been deposited in the Pleistocene. But it would need to show actual evidence of having been altered or utilized by humans before I could call it an artifact.

The rocks at the portable rock art site are the surface finds, for the most part, not the controlled excavation finds, of amateurs with very fertile imaginations. How one can say "provable Pleistocene", if such a term applies to man altered or man utilized rocks dating to the Pleistocene, to surface collected(i.e. no datable context) ordinary rocks with no such sign of workmanship or utilization, is beyond me. I guess it's just another example of our passage into the Post Truth Era, where it's true if someone simply says it's true. No evidence required. And neither the original poster, nor Hranicky, has provided any evidence whatsoever in this thread to demonstrate their rocks are artifacts, or rock art, dating from the Pleistocene.
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Springhead » Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:49 am

Hi Circumspice,

This thread was never intended to troll members past, present, and future. Paranoid is a strong and highly derogatory term that does not describe my mind set. I might be described better as a generalist with wide ranging pursuits. My interest in archaeology has been life long, and early on was sparked by travel to various archaeological sites. Currently I am in the midst of an accidental realization that a long owned property is an archaeological site that appears to bear an unknown assemblage. Seeking advice, I contacted Jack, he visited and helped me form an understanding of what I had found. You know the rest.

Variability in perceptions is a dynamic that keeps people searching for new and better explanations with which we can better understand what reality is. So we chase truth though we can only approach it. Benefit in the process is the progressive accumulation of perceived snippets of truth which may provide jumping off points for new or improved ideas. This does not appear to me to be a static system. Secular and religious "fencing" provides comfort to those who want or need it because they prefer a static system. Others may thrive on modification or replacement of orthodoxy. We need both, the former to keep us from floating away, and the latter to keep us from fossilizing. Ideally, these approaches should benefit one another and be infused with mutual respect.
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Springhead » Sat Aug 25, 2018 8:48 am

Hello Shawomet,

"Proof by citing authority does not cut it with me."

Any surface find has a context problem but may still fit into a pattern with volume of finds, their relation to natural and man made features, and their function as a tool, effigy, etc. Jack was able to see that certain found pieces from the mountain site were Pleistocene artifacts. "Provable Pleistocene" are the exact words he used to describe the twenty or so artifacts that he sorted out from about three hundred pieces. He said that I should hang on to everything I had found as he had seen no Holocene finds amongst them. The provable pieces showed him their Pleistocene creation by such things as striking angles and similarities to artifacts with tight context from Europe and Africa. What this boils down to is that he can prove the pieces were fashioned in the Pleistocene by form, function, and technique.

How would finding a dozen archaeologists to consult with regarding the subject stones sway your opinion if citing authority does not cut it with you?

I appreciate your link to the mammoth bone carving, a truly wonderful artifact. This is a very late version of artistic endeavor if one includes the Valsequillo Gompother bone carving.

I as well lament the "Post Truth Era" we have allowed and engineered to happen. "Apparently" orthodox thinking in archaeology bears no connection to this despite the fact that they say no to whatever offends them while relieving themselves of the burden of proof they clamour for from others. Cultural unraveling may continue unabated and accelerated by the PTE, to include anthropology.

Thanks for your thoughts, and I hope RI hydrangea blooms have remained inspiring.
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby circumspice » Sat Aug 25, 2018 12:22 pm

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Springhead » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:45 am

Hello Circumspice,

You are running with the bit in your teeth, as you may suspect that I have done. Your recall of some of my offbeat ideas and analyses of stones is impressive. Yes, a distinction needs to be made about what Jack endorses about this assemblage. As stated previously, Jack has said that twenty or so of the finds are "provable Pleistocene" (and these pieces are characterized by the inclusion of art in the form of carving, chipping, abrading, baas relief, intaglio, painting, subtractive compositions accomplished by strategic removal of applied pitch {my list, his guidance}, and as is common in rock art, the opportunistic use of natural form and mineral colors in the creation of art). Jack has in no way endorsed my personal ideas and analyses that you mention.

Jack was instrumental in calling to my attention that the assemblage is characterized by the incorporation of art. His expertise is in tools and material culture, and his analyses are based on mechanics of production and what they say about the era and style they were made in.

Jack has in no way acted irresponsibly in this matter. His most recent book (see archeology.org {Virginia Academic Press}) would be a good start in understanding his thinking about Virginia Paleo archaeology. The mountain site is one of six similar assemblages he is working on in Virginia.

Thanks for your comments and the opportunity to set strait what Jack did and did not endorse.
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby circumspice » Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:26 pm

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby Springhead » Wed Aug 29, 2018 1:09 pm

Hello Circumspice,

The facts of this thread were established from the get go. Speculation (not theory) I have espoused has never been attributed to others. These speculations would have to be way more fleshed out to be hypotheses much less theories. Strait line logic and common sense are my tools of thought, and the artifacts' subject matter is the inspiration for conjectures I have made.

Do you find "twenty or so" "provable Pleistocene" artifacts to be insignificant or irrelevant as a starting point in assessing thousands of finds on the mountain site? Should I put up or shut up if I cannot leap in a single bound to some airtight theory that sounds plausible? I keep hearing "follow the evidence" in archaeology yet am apparently seen as concocting a tall tale so I can be some hero.........there are far easier ways to be a hero than asking strangers to believe you, if one saw the oft misused term "hero" as a desirable label in the first place. This is not my world.

Thanks for the spelling lesson. Maybe I should stick with phonetics.
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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby shawomet » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:51 pm

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Re: Problematic Discoveries

Postby circumspice » Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:33 am

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