Prehistory of NA Test 1 Lecture 3 (An American Paleolithic)

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  1. Who were the “First” Americans?
    • ☀currently an active debate about who and where the first settlers of North America came from. 
    • ☀Idea of being first is very American framed way of looking at things
    • ☀ Binary argument in that one side must lose.
    • ☀ who the first is being played out in a political debates involving sovereignty, land, power, identity etc.
    • ☀ In this debate, being “first” really matters. 
    • ☀Terms such as Native American or First Nations (the terminology used in Canada) , paleoindian, or paleoamerican is not coincidental, but a way to lay claims on the past as well as to the present through assertions of being, or not being, “first” in the past.  
    • ☀These debates over who owns the past has been an over-a-century-old academic feud.
  2. Charles Lyell
    • geologists
    • cemented the concept of uniformitarianism.
    • Defined and described the Pleistocene in geological terms and that it contained fauna of extinct animals
    • declared that there were no human remains or tools co-mingled with Pleistocene deposits (which at the time was an accurate assessment).
    • This assessment began to change almost as soon as it came in to being.
  3. Jacques Boucher de Perthes (1788-1868)
    • french collector
    • spent time looking and collecting stone tools and Pleistocene fossils in the Somme river Valley
    • brought these to the museum and he was ridiculed because there was no human presence in ice age
    • labeled his finds as “antediluvian (before the current age) Celts”.
    • Charles Darwin called his research "rubbish"
    • until........
  4. Brixham Cave- (1858)

    • site in Southwestern England in Cornwall
    • excavated by leading British geologists (including Lyell)
    • undoubtedly found evidence of human-made stone tools under a very hard Pleistocene layer
    • At a meeting of the Royal Society they agreed about human presence in Pleistocene 
    • Boucher de Perthes’ discoveries were reintroduced and accepted. 
    • Lyell visited the Somme Valley and cleared de Perthe of the ridicule
    • Darwin also acknowledged that de Perthes research was "rubbish no more"
    • after 1859 there is acknowledgement of human presence in the Pleistocene
  5. The European Paleolithic was thus
    established officially in 1859, but what about the American one?
    • ☀As early as 1781 people were formally asking the governor of Virgina “from whence came those aboriginal inhabitants of America?”
    • ☀Unlike Europe in the early 19th century there was no presence of human in Pleistocene deposits, or no American Paleolithic....yet.
  6. Charles C. Abbott (1843-1919)
    • ☀Cousin of Timothy Abbott Conrad
    • ☀Amateur archaeologists
    • ☀Trained in medicine, but left
    • ☀started farming in Trenton NJ.
    • ☀published accounts on Trentons history and archaeology by traveling around his state and looking up the history
    • ☀found artifact gravel t Trenton Gravels near his farm that resembled to him european paleolithic materials.
    • ☀In 1877, he contacted Nathaniel Shaler (a harvard geologist) who declared that Abbots artifact bearing gravels were deposits during the ice age. 
    • ☀Abbott wrote in his diary “I have discovered glacial man inAmerica”
    • ☀he believed he was the American equivalent of Jacques Boucher de Perthes.
    • ☀At first Harvard archaeologist Frederic Ward Putnam agreed, and only breifly there seemed to be an American paleolithic..... until....
  7. who is timothy Abbot Conrad?
    described and identified NA ice age
  8. William Henry Holmes (1846-1933)

    • ☀Worked for Bureau of American Ethnology ☀affiliated with United States Geological Survey
    • ☀At Piney Branch Site in Washington DC. he uncovered large surface debitage of stone tools ranging from a few flakes struck off, to nearly finished items that had broken or been rejected in its final stages.
    • ☀concluded that he found full suite of tool manufacturing from beginning to end
    • ☀Observed that the flakes that had been struck off resembles "primitive stone tools"
    • ☀published in 1880 In "American Anthropologist: that people were confusing primitive (early stages of manufacture) and antiquity and that what they were looking at was early stages of manufacture and not anything that was old at all
    • ☀therefore, all of abbots findings were thrown in to question
    • ☀Holmes invited Abbott to visit Piney Branch site, which Abbott did and he agreed that, at least at Piney Branch,Holmes was right.
    • ☀Holmes published that abbott agreed to his conclusions, which made abbott mad
    • ☀abbott stated that holmes had a unique site but overall his findings did not conform to his
    • ☀holmes retaliated by calling abbott and amateur
    • ☀so now other people were involved to question trenton gravels no one is happy damn it!!!!
  9. Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin (1843-1928)
    • worked for United States Geological Survey (USGS)
    • became involved in the debate and together with holmes layed down a critique of abbotts findings
    • basically saying that he was difficult to persuade
    • abbott decided to respond to his critics in a published verse in journal science which made things worse.
    • we should keep in mind that holmes, chamberlin, and mcgee are in established organizations.
    • it turned in to a debate between the amateur and the establishment
  10. William John McGee (1853-1912)
    • USGS and Bureau of American Ethnology(BAE)
    • became involved in the debate and together with chamberlin and holmes layed down a critique of abbotts findings
    • basically saying that he was difficult to persuade
    • abbott decided to respond to his critics in a published verse in journal science which made things worse.
    • we should keep in mind that holmes, chamberlin, and mcgee are in established turned in to a debate between the amateur and the establishment...therefore it becomes really ugly
  11. George Frederick Wright  (1838-1921)
    • his Man and the Glacial Period publication made things worse
    • it didnt go through proper channels, not peer reviewed
    • advocates for an american paleolithic
    • unintentionally challenges the USGS work on multiple glacial events
    • his publication came under critic especially by the USGS, the smithisonian, and BAE (coincidentally, establishments that involve, holmes, mcgee, and chamberlin)
    • it was an orchestrated attack by these institutions who were beginning to lay claim on how geology and archaeology should be practiced and who dictates proper protocol
    • these institutions were soon under fire by the public for their "attacking" of citizens.
    • fed gov't slashed these institutions funding and made things worse.
  12. Aleš Hrdlička (1869-1943)
    • ☀Bohemian born (now Czech Republic)
    • ☀physical anthropologist
    • ☀first curator of physical anthropology at the Smithsonian.
    • ☀Became friends with William Henry Holmes
    • ☀was a sceptic against an American Paleolithic.
    • ☀argued that if there were humans in America in pleistocene they should have physical neanderthal features
    • ☀chamberlin, holmes, Hrdlicka formed antiamerican paleolithic
    • ☀together they rejected finds such
    • -1899, The Trenton femur (New
    • Jersey)
    • -1902, The Lansing skeletons
    • (Kansas)
    • -1906, The Gilder Mound crania
    • (Nebraska)
    • -1914, Rancho La Brea skull
    • (California)
    • -1916, Vero remains (Florida)
    • ☀however, they were right in rejecting these sites bc of the rigorous standards they held for accepting data
  13. A Coming Rain and The Tides Change:
    all these debates started to change!!!!
    • August 27th, 1908, heavy rain in NE New Mexico caused the Dry Cimarron River to flood
    • Sarah Rooke, the local telephone operator was asked to alert everyone in the town of Folsom to get to higher ground bc of flash flood. she died
    • The flood changed the town of Folsom and American archaeology.
  14. George McJunkin (1851-1922)
    • local ranch handler
    • visited folsom town to assess damages
    • born a slave to slave parents in Texas
    • became a self taught naturalist, zoologist, and ranch handler
    • noticed and noted that the flood washed out and exposed bison bone that was extinct
    • told his friend Carl Schwachheim,of the bones at Folsom who didnt do anything initially
  15. Carl Schwachheim
    • 14 years later he went to folsom and excavated bison bones
    • too it to denver Colorado Museum of Natural History
    • it was then studied by Jesse Figgins and Harold Cook who recognized the remains as Pleistocene bison
  16. Harold Cook
    • rancher, self taught geologist, amateur arch, and history enthusiast
    • curious of first Americans in NA
    • 1896 dutch anatomist eugene dubois discovered Java man in Indonesia - oldest specimen of human ancestor in the world that was in Asia - this peaked cooks interest
    • he wanted to become the NA version of Dubois
    • he thought he discovered a human fossil near his ranch in Nebraska and named it Hesperopithecus haroldcookii, but it turned out to be a pig
    • he also advocated that Lone Wolf Creek in Colorado was a paleolithic site
    • He decided with Jesse Figgins to revisit the Folsom site to see what else was there
    • they found clear cut spear tips that were found to be Pleistocene related
    • contacted Herdlicka who was aware of his other failed attempts at arch and therefore paid no mind to them
    • figgins grew angry and decided to take on Hrdlicka
  17. Cook and Figgins take on Hrdlička:
    Folsom needed to be verified by the establishment
    • Hrdlicka thought of their discovery as interesting
    • encouraged to cook and figgins to continue their investigating, but to call in experts to judge the evidence found
    • Schwachheim continued excavation and found an arrowhead lodged in situ (in original position) between the ribs of a bison.
    • experts like Alfred Kidder, Barnum Brown, and Frank Roberts verified the remains
    • USGS attested to the geological deposits
    • Finally, in 1927 at Folsom, there was an American Paleolithic
  18. Folsom had repercussions:  Folsom taught archaeologists where to look for “Paleoindian” sites.
    • In arroyo channels and ancient lake beds
    • By tracking down reports of large and easily spotted bones of extinct Pleistocene mammals.
    • Carefully combing the site for associated human artifacts you may have paleoindian site
    • Not surprisingly, how archaeologists looked for Paleoindian sites predisposed what they found: Paleoindian sites dominated by kills sites with bones of extinct animals and artifacts. 
    • “Boneless” sites were rare, which in turn led to interpretations that humans were “top predators”.
  19. and along came Clovis......
    • Not too far away from Folsom, south of New Mexico
    • discovered and described in 1929 as being different then folsom points
    • Clovis distributed across Continental United States (folsom confined to southwest and rockies)
    • In 1945 C14 dating was invented - prior to this there was no way of dating
    • turns out Clovis predated folsom
    • Clovis dates to 11,000-11,500 B.P.
    • clovis older then folsom
  20. C. Vance Haynes
    • spotted a concordance between the geological record and the archaeological record
    • the laurentide ice sheet in NA blocking entrance in to NA had an ice free corridor at 12,000 years bp
    • This all made perfect sense
    • a corridor opens up and people populated it making clovis points in search for ice age fauna
  21. Clovis became axiomatic (taken for granted)  A human post-glacial package.
    • everything was framed around clovis and just like the idea of an american paleolithic the discourse of a possible "pre clovis" began
    • any site labeled preclovis was refutted in the same way that the american paleolithic was
    • The coincidental arrival of humans at the end of the Pleistocene explained that the consequences was the the megafauna extinction could be attributed by over hunting, by clovis hunters.
  22. problems with Clovis and megafauna hunting phenomenon
    • megafauna extinction was a global one
    • we have to imagine that humans all over the world came to the same consensus to kill all the megafauna at once
  23. The Extinction of the Megafauna
    • ☀Kill- Proposes that humans were
    • responsible for the demise of the megafauna through overhunting.  I.e. an overkill hypothesis.
    • ☀Chill- Hypothesizes that extreme cold
    • brought an end to the megafauna.
    • ☀ill- Supposes that a microbial pathogen
    • wiped out the megafauna.
    • ☀ likely that the Younger-Dryas was responsible for the extinction of the megafauna bc it
    • was a global event (ca. 12000 years ago).
  24. Pre clovis debate plays out the same way as the American Paleolithic war
    we now look at the clovis wars!!!
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Prehistory of NA Test 1 Lecture 3 (An American Paleolithic)
2015-02-17 08:08:50

lecture 3 test 1
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