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Pre-Columbian Archaeology of North America

Pre-Columbian Archaeology of North America

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Pre-Columbian Archaeology of North America

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  1. Pre-Columbian Archaeology of North America Week 4: The Peopling of the New World:New Interpretations

  2. Challenges to the Clovis-first theory • Calico Mountains (California) • Old Crow (Yukon, Canada) • Meadowcroft Cave (Pennsylvania)

  3. Calico Mountains - Background • Located in the Mojave Desert of California • Excavated by Louis Leakey and Mary Simpson in the late 1950s through 1983 • Site located in alluvial fan • Fan dated using the uranium-thorium dating (U234→Th230) method to 193-260 kya • Extensive amounts of lithic materials recovered • 800 purported stone tools • 60,000 flakes • Charcoal recovered • At least one stone “circle” also found • Reported to be a hearth N

  4. Alluvial Fan

  5. Calico Mountains - Problems • Lithic materials appear to be the result of natural percussion (rocks rolling down the slope of the alluvial fan and banging into each other) • Flakes show that the angle between the bulb of percussion and the striking platform is more than 90°, a sign that the percussion is the result of natural processes. • Human knapping produces an angle of less than 90° • Tools are mostly classified as choppers (Early Paleolithic technology) • Charcoal and stone circles appear to be the result of a combination of natural forest fires burning tree stumps on the slope and stones rolling down the fan. • Stones will naturally form circles around these stumps (either before or after they have burned) • Generally rejected as a site showing evidence for early human occupation of the Americas N

  6. Flakes and Cores

  7. Old Crow Site • Site along Old Crow River in northern Yukon territory • Excavated by W. N. Irving of the University of Toronto in the mid to late 1980s • Artifacts are primarily bone • More than 10,000 • Primarily horse and mammoth • Bone-tool industry • Radiocarbon dating on bone and charcoal • c. 20,000 – 27,000 BP • Dates claimed as early as 100,000 BP • Criticisms: • Are bone tools actually the product of human manufacture • Taphonomic modification by natural processes along the river bank • Rolling, splintering, impacts resulting from collisions with rocks in river bed • High energy stream • Problems with radiocarbon (C-14) dating • Contaminated samples • Materials probably late Pleistocene (c. 10-12,000 BP) • Rejected as providing clear evidence of early entry N

  8. Old Crow Site profile

  9. Bone tool industry • Excavated at nearby site of Bluefish Cave • Also claimed as early site • This artifact from stratum dated to 25,000 BP • Good evidence for late Pleistocene arrival • Dates c. 13,000 BP • Validity of early evidence question

  10. Old Crow River

  11. Old Crow River Basin

  12. Meadowcroft Rockshelter • Excavated in the 1970s • James Adovasio • Extremely careful and meticulous excavations • Rockshelter located in SW Pennsylvania • Long-term occupation documented in 11 strata covering at least 700 – 12,000 BP • Lowest strata • Radiocarbon dated to 19,600 B.P. +/- 2400 • In association with clear human artifacts • Unlike other sites, no clear stratigraphic problems N

  13. A View of Meadowcroft Rockshelter

  14. Meadowcroft Excavations • Lowest levels in the area known as “the Hole”

  15. Meadowcroft Tools

  16. Meadowcroft: Problems • Rockshelter occurs in area naturally rich in coal deposits and with a high water table • Coal particles may have seeped into the site contaminating radiocarbon samples • This “explanation” was championed by C. Vance Haynes, leading American Paleo-Indian specialist • Unresolved N

  17. Problems with Clovis • If Clovis represents industry produced by first humans in the Americas AND • If humans arrived in the Americas across Beringia, THEN: • Analogous industries should exist in this period (pre-12,000 BP) in Siberia • Large blades, bifacial retouch, etc. • No such industries exist in Siberia • This period in Siberia and east Asia is dominated by micro-blade industries • Existence of ice-free corridor between glaciers challenged • Challenge comes from geology • Conditions between 21,000 and 12,000 BP would probably not have allowed for travel • Cold, semi-arid steppe with scant precipitation and only 10-25 percent of the land bearing sparse grass and sagebrush, a rock-desert tundra where mammals and birds were rare because of the extremely low biomass N

  18. Ice-Free Corridor

  19. Monte Verde • Located in southern Chile • Excavated between 1979 and late 1990s • Tom Dillehay • Water-logged site • Excellent preservation of normally perishable items • Wood • Footprints • Plant fibers • Bone • Relatively little lithic technology • Not unusual for region • Radiocarbon dating: 13,000 BP • Also claims of artifacts dating to c. 30,000 BP N

  20. Monte Verde location

  21. Monte Verde Description • Hundreds of artifacts. In addition to several kinds of stone tools, a wide variety of wooden artifacts were found including: digging sticks, spears, and a mortar. Artifacts made from stone were also recovered including spherical stones with an encircling groove. These may have been used as bola stones, a South American throwing weapon with 3 leather thongs weighted at each end. The bola is thrown in a spinning fashion and the stone weights wrap the thongs around the prey. Also artifacts such as a gouge made from mastodon ivory. • Wooden house foundations. The timber and earthen foundations of at least 12 structures were preserved at the site. The foundations, made of logs and planks held in place with stakes of a different type of wood, supported rooms 3 to 4 meters long on each side. At intervals along the foundation timbers upright posts were placed to support a sapling framework, which was covered by animal skins. Small pieces of what may be animal hide were preserved next to the timber foundation. • Food plants. Plants were extremely important in the diet of the Monte Verde people. Some 42 edible species of plants have been identified at the site, including wild potatoes, bamboos, mushrooms, juncus seeds, berries from various plants, nuts, and fruits. Also, because many of these plants are from species that ripen throughout the year, it's likely that the site was occupied year-round. Further evidence of the important of plants in the diet of the Monte Verde people is the large numbers of grinding stones found there. • Exotics. A wide variety of items not locally available were imported by the Monte Verde people: plants, beach-rolled pebbles, quartz, and bitumen (an adhesive tar). • Medicine plants. The remains of some 22 species of plants were recovered from the site; analysis revealed them to be non-food types but identical to plants used today by local native peoples in curing. • Meat. Animals bones were well preserved. Most came from mastodons. One of the bones still had a piece of meat attached to it. • Human footprint. Preserved in the sandy mud, only about five inches long, it was probably made by a child. N

  22. Monte Verde artifacts (1) • Tent stakes • Bits of animal skin attached

  23. Monte Verde artifacts (2)

  24. Monte Verde artifacts (3) • Footprint • 15 cm long • Child’s

  25. Monte Verde artifacts (4)

  26. Monte Verde Reconstruction

  27. Monte Verde Conclusions • Solid evidence for human occupation of southern South America at the time first humans arriving in the Americas according to the Clovis Theory • Monte Verde was not occupied by big-game hunters but rather broad-spectrum hunter/gatherers with a decided marine focus • Dillehay cautious about earliest dates. • Challenges to Monte Verde (C. V. Haynes and others) • Lack of lithic technology • Poor excavation techniques, lack of stratigraphy etc. • Rebutted by visits to site (à la the Folsom and Clovis sites)

  28. Coastal Entry Model • Monte Verde (and other evidence) led to a reevaluation of the traditional Clovis/Beringia Theories • Coastal entry proposed • First proposed by Knut Fladmark (U. of British Columbia) in the 1970s • Using boats • Technology was known • Settlement of Australia c. 50,000 BP (Lake Mungo) • Moved along coastline of Asia and the Americas (the Pacific Rim) • Sites would have mostly been lost as ocean levels rose at end of Pleistocene • Increasing numbers of human remains that are clearly pre-Clovis N

  29. Coastal entry map

  30. Pre-Clovis Human Remains • Kennewick Man • Arlington Springs Woman • Spirit Cave Man • Luiza • Peñon Woman • Buhl Woman N

  31. Kennewick Man • Discovered in Columbia River at Kennewick, Washington • Nearly complete skeleton • Male • 40-55 years of age • 170-175 cm tall • Flattened skull (cradleboard) • Radiocarbon dates 8410 +/- 60 B.P. • Not similar to modern Native American populations • The skull is dolichocranic (cranial index 73.8) rather than brachycranic, the face narrow and prognathous rather than broad and flat. • Modern aboriginal populations in North America tend to have shorter, broad heads and broad, flat faces • Cheek bones recede slightly and lack an inferior zygomatic projection; the lower rim of the orbit is even with the upper. • Other features are a long, broad nose that projects markedly from the face and high, round orbits.  The mandible is v-shaped,with a pronounced, deep chin.   Many of these characteristics are definitive of modern-day caucasoid peoples, while others, such as the orbits are typical of neither race.  Dental characteristics fit Turner's (1983) Sundadont  pattern, indicating possible relationship to south Asian peoples.  • Initial media reports called him “Caucasian” but further analysis shows a close relationship to other east/south Asian peoples such as the Ainu

  32. Kennewick Man skull

  33. Arlington Springs Woman • Santa Rosa Island (Channel Islands) off the coast of California • Original excavations in 1959/60 • Two femurs and partial humerus recovered • Female estimated to have been between 150-157 cm tall • Recently new radiocarbon dates ran on bones • 13,000 BP (first estimates were only 10,000 BP) • DNA testing • Restriction analysis of one of the samples initially indicated that the mitochondrial DNA of Arlington Springs Woman belonged to Haplogroup B (one of the five predominant clades of mitochondrial DNA lineages found among Native Americans).

  34. Arlington Springs

  35. Spirit Cave Man • Partially mummified remains of a man found in central Nevada in 1940 • The hunter survived to his mid-40s. • But he had broken his right hand and suffered chronic back pain from arthritis, herniated disks and a fracture in his spine. A blow to the left temple dented and cracked his skull, which had just begun to heal when he died, perhaps from that injury or the advanced abscesses in his upper and lower jaws. • He was buried lying on his right side, arm flexed so his hand rested beneath the chin, in a shallow grave dug in a desert cave. • The cave's climate preserved patches of skin and reddish-brown shoulder-length hair on the skull, making him North America's oldest mummy. Dried intestines contained fish bones from a final meal. • Also preserved were his rabbit fur robe, two shrouds of woven tule reeds, and well-worn moccasins of three kinds of animal hide, sewn with hemp and sinew, and patched on the soles. • Recently new radiocarbon dates the skeleton to 13,300 to 13,100 BP

  36. Spirit Cave Reconstruction

  37. Luiza • Fossilized skull and a third of a skeleton found in Lapa Vermelha, Minas Gerais state in Brazil in the mid-1970s • New radiocarbon dates to 11,500 BP • Skull shares features with Australiasian populations (modern Aborigines)

  38. Peñon Woman III • The skull and the almost-complete skeleton of Peñon woman was actually unearthed in 1959 and was thought to be no older than about 5,000 years. It formed part of a collection of 27 early humans in the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City that had not been accurately dated using the most modern techniques. • Re-dated in 2002 to 12,700-13,000 BP • Long, narrow skull, short narrow face

  39. Skull and reconstruction ofPeñon Woman III

  40. Buhl Woman • Complete skeleton recovered from gravel quarry in 1989 in Buhl, Idaho • Radiocarbon dating shows minimum date of 10,600 BP

  41. Other Pre-Clovis Sites • Cactus Hill (Virginia) • 16,000 – 20,000 BP • Pentangular points • Possibly pre-Clovis • Faunal remains • Turtle, White-tail deer • Many sites in western North America

  42. Conclusion • It appears likely that human beings arrived in the Americas in more than one wave. Possibly two or more from Asia: • 1st prior to LGM (c. 18,000) using a coastal route (marine exploitation) • May or may not have contributed to later Amerindian populations • 2nd towards end of the Pleistocene (big-game hunters/Clovis) • Some have proposed arrivals from Australia (based on Luiza) or even Europe • Connection with Solutrean technology based on similarities in technology • Very controversial • Creates a new picture

  43. Solutrean-Clovis Comparison • This link is apparent in the early stages of Clovis point manufacture which were accomplished by removing large, flat percussion flakes from a biface. These flakes left scars that extended past the middle of the face of the biface and created a platelike biface which is different than a biface with a medial ridge. Occasionally, these flakes would travel all the way across the biface and remove a portion of the edge on the far side. In France these flakes that run all the way across the biface are known as outre passé flakes. Flake scars #1 and #2 in the image are examples of outre passé flakes scars. • The outrepassé flake is generally associated with the Solutrean tradition (17,500 to 19,500 BP) of the Upper Paleolithic. The later Solutrean (18,000 BP) is even more famous for its exquisitely thin bifaces (artifact on the left in the image) that were created with the same soft hammer percussion technique that the Clovis people used. • Dennis Stanford (Smithsonian Institution) is the leading proponent of this theory

  44. Clovis-Solutrean

  45. Clovis/Pre-Clovis bibliography • Adovasio, J. M. and Pedler, D. R.1997 Monte Verde and the antiquity of humankind in the Americas. Antiquity 71:573-580. • Adovasio, J. M. and Carlisle, R. C.1988 The Meadowcroft Rockshelter. Science 239:713-714. • Adovasio, J. M., Donahue, J., and Stuckenrath, R.1990 The Meadowcroft Rockshelter radiocarbon chronology 1975-1990. American Antiquity 55(2):348-354. • Adovasio, J. M., Donahue, J., and Stuckenrath, R.1992 Never say never again: Some thoughts on could haves and might have beens. American Antiquity 57(2):327-331. • Bonnichsen, R. and Steele, D. G.1994 Introducing First Americans research. In Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of the Americas., edited by Bonnichsen, R. and Steele, D. G., pp. 1-6. Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon. • Chappell, J., Head, J., and Magee, J.1996 Beyond the radiocarbon limit in Australian archaeology and Quaternary research. Antiquity 70:543-552. • Chrisman, D., MacNeish, R. S., Mavalwala, J., and Savage, H.1996 Late Pleistocene human friction skin prints from Pendejo Cave, New Mexico. American Antiquity 61(2):357-376. • Dillehay, Thomas D.1992 Earliest hunters and gatherers of South America. Journal of World Prehistory 6(2):145-203.1989 Monte Verde: A Late Pleistocene Settlement in Chile. ed. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington. • Dillehay, Thomas D. and Collins, M.1988 Early cultural evidence from Monte Verde in Chile. Nature 332:150-152. • Dillehay, Thomas D. and Meltzer, David J.1991 Peopling of the New World: problems, processes and prospects. ed. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida. • Dincauze, D. F.1984 An Archaeological Evaluation of the Case for Pre-Clovis Occupations. Advances in World Archaeology 3:275-323. • Drew, D. L.1979 Early Man in North America and Where to Look for Him: Geomorphic Contexts. Plains Anthropologist 24(86):269-281. • Engelbrecht, W. E. and Seyfert, C. K.1994 Paleoindian watercraft: Evidence and implications. North American Archaeologist 15(3):221-234. • Ferring, C. Reid1994 The role of geoarchaeology in paleoindian research. In Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of the Americas., edited by Bonnichsen, R. and Steele, D. G., pp. 57-72. Oregon State University , Corvallis, Oregon. • Fiedel, Stuart J.1999 Older than we thought: Implications of corrected dates for Paleoindians. American Antiquity 64(1):95-115. • 2000 The peopling of the new world: Present evidence, new theories, and future directions. Journal of Archaeological Research 8(1):39-103. • Goddard, I. and Campbell, L.1994 The history and classification of American Indian languages: What are the implications for the peopling of the Americas? In Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of the Americas., edited by Bonnichsen, R. and Steele, D. G., pp. 189-207. Oregon State University, Corvallis. • Greenberg, Joseph H. 1987. Language in the Americas. Stanford University Press, Stanford California. • Gruhn, Ruth1994 The Pacific Coast route of initial entry: An overview. In Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of the Americas., edited by Bonnichsen, R. and Steele, D. G., pp. 249-256. Oregon State University , Corvallis, Oregon. • Guidon, N. and Arnaud, B.1991 The chronology of the New World: Two faces of one reality. World Archaeology 23(2):167-178. • Guidon, N., Pessis, A.-M., Parenti, F., Fontugue, M., and Guerin, C.1996 Nature and age of the deposits in Pedra Furada, Brazil: Reply to Meltzer, Adovasio, and Dillehay. Antiquity 70:408-421.Notes: combined with Parenti, Fontugue & Guerin. • Holliday, Vance T. and Meltzer, David J.1996 Geoarchaeology of the Midland (Paleoindian) site. American Antiquity 61(4):755-771. • Hrdlicka, Ales1912 Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 52: Early man in South America. ed. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

  46. Irwin, H. T.1971 Developments in early man studies in Western North America, 1960-1970. Arctic Anthropology 8:42-67. • Jantz, Richard L. and Owsley, Douglas W.1997 Pathology, taphonomy, and cranial morphometrics of the Spirit Cave mummy. Nevada Historical Society Quarterly 40(1):62-84. • Jelinek, Arthur J.1992 Perspectives from the Old World on the habitation of the New. American Antiquity 57(2):345-347. • Kornfeld, Marcel1980 Early Man in North American and Where to Look for Him: A Reply. Plains Anthropologist 25(90):357-362. • MacNeish, Richard S.1978 Late Pleistocene adaptations: A new look at early peopling of the New World as of 1976. Journal of Anthropological Research 34(4):475-496. • Meltzer, David J.1994 The discovery of deep time: A history of views on the peopling of the Americas. In Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of the Americas., edited by Bonnichsen, R. and Steele, D. G., pp. 7-26. Oregon State University , Corvallis, Oregon.1988 Late pleistocene human adaptations in eastern North America. Journal of World Prehistory 2:1-52.1979 Paradigms and the nature of change in American archaeology. American Antiquity 44(4):644-657.1989 Why don't we know when the first people came to NorthAmerica? American Antiquity 54(3):471-490. • Meltzer, David J., Adovasio, James M., and Dillehay, Thomas D.1994 On a Pleistocene human occupation at Pedra Furada, Brazil. Antiquity 68(261):695-714. • Meltzer, D. J., Grayson, D. K., Ardila, G., Barker, A. W., Dincauze, D. F., Haynes, C. V., Mena, F., Nunez, L., and Stanford, D. J.1997 On the Pleistocene antiquity of Monte Verde, Southern Chile. American Antiquity 62(4):69-663. • Merriwether, D. A., Rothhammer, F., and Ferrell, R. E.1995 Distribution of the four founding lineage haplotypes in Native Americans suggests a single wave of migration for the New World. 98:411-430. • Owsley, D. W. and Hunt, D. R.2001 Clovis and Early Archaic Period Crania from the Anzick Site (24PA506), Park County, Montana. Plains Anthropologist 46(176):115-124. • Rogers, R. A., Rogers, L. A., and Martin, L. D.1992 How the door opened: The peopling of the New World. Human Biology 64(3):281-302. • Ruhlen, M.1994 Linguistic evidence for the peopling of the Americas. In Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of the Americas., edited by Bonnichsen, R. and Steele, D. G., pp. 177-188. Oregon State University , Corvallis, Oregon. • Steele, D. Gentry and Powell, Joseph F.1994 Paleobiological evidence of the peopling of the Americas: A morphometric view. In Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of the Americas., edited by Bonnichsen, R. and Steele, D. G., pp. 141-163. Oregon State University , Corvallis, Oregon.1993 Paleobiology of the First Americans. Evolutionary Anthropology 2(4):138-146.1992 Peopling of the Americas: Paleobiological evidence. Human Biology 64(3):303-336. • Straus, Lawrence G.2000  Solutrean settlement of North America? A review of reality. American Antiquity 65:2. • Taylor, R. E., Haynes, C. V. Jr., and Stuiver, M.1996 Clovis and Folsom age estimates: Stratigraphic context and radiocarbon calibration. Antiquity 70:515-525. • Whitley, David S. and Dorn, R. I.1993 New perspectives on the Clovis vs. Pre-Clovis controversy. American Antiquity 58(4):626-647. • Workman, W. B.1994 Giving the dead their due? Reanalysis, repatriation, and reburial at the Uyak site. Review of Archaeology 15(1):28-39. • Xinzhi, W.1994 Pleistocene peoples of China and the peopling of the Americas. In Method and Theory for Investigating the Peopling of the Americas., edited by Bonnichsen, R. and Steele, D. G., pp. 73-78. Oregon State University , Corvalis, Oregon N

  47. North America • Calico (CA) • Old Crow (YU) • Meadowcroft (PA) • Kennewick (WA) • Santa Rosa Island (CA) • Spirit Cave (NV) • Peñon Woman (Mexico) • Buhl (ID)

  48. South America • Monte Verde (Chile) • Lapa Vermelha (Brazil)