Prehistory of NA Test 1 Lecture 4 (Clovis Wars)

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Prehistory of NA Test 1 Lecture 4 (Clovis Wars)
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  1. Clovis discovery
    • two years after Folsom had been accepted as a “Paleoindian” site.
    • Ridgely Whiteman Discovered clovis in 1929
    • Distinctive points continued to be unearthed at Blackwater Draw near Clovis, New Mexico, between 1932 and 1938 by Edgar Howard - uncovered a number of these clovis points
  2. Clovis characteristics
    • leaf like bifacial point
    • Often has a bifacial flute
    • done by horizontal pressure flaking
    • refined technique done with overshot (outre passé) flaking (creating a crack and applying pressure to radiate the object)
    • drawn from selected quarry sites - Stone sources High in silicates
    • not all points are fluted (usually away from resources like raw material)
    • distinctly a NA phenomenon
  3. Dates for Clovis
    • ☀Clovis points exhibit a chronological
    • horizon that is rather narrow (from 11,500-11,000 RCYBP (uncalibrated C14 date)
    • ☀in calibrated dates this is 13,500- 13,000years ago, and has since been refined to 13,200-12,900 BP
    • ☀ all C14/radio metric dates need to be callibrated against dendrochronology (tree ring dates)
    • ☀c14 needs to be aligned with C12 in the environment
    • ☀these dates form neatly with the opening of the corridor of the ice sheets opening up
    • ☀clovis lasts for 300 years
  4. George Frison
    • experimental arch traveled to Africa with his modern made Clovis points
    • coined the term Frisson Effect: process through which the shape of stone tools changes during their life use
    • penetrated elephant hide to see their effectiveness
    • it dulled quickly
  5. Clovis Predates Folsom:
    Goshen points?
    Plano Points?
    in reading
  6. Don Crabtree
    • spent his time trying to recreate lithic technology by flint knapping
    • made arrowheads, spearpoints, and eccentric lithic forms
    • he had declining health issues and bc of crutch leaning he was very likely pressure flaking not striking folsom points
    • long flutes hard to replicate
    • Friar Juan D.T.Q mentions lithic industry - a crutch was used to flake off
  7. Clovis First, as it came to be called, was what was taught in school.  Virtually all archaeologists working in the United States today have been schooled and inculcated with the co-occurrence of Clovis technology and the arrival of people in the New World
    Any artifacts argued to have come before Clovis, or competing theories that threw into question the Clovis-first idea, are ridiculed and discredited by the archaeological establishment, discredited as bad science, or ignored.
  8. Clovis criteria proposed by Aleš Hrdlička

    • 1)Undeniable traces of humans, either their artifacts or skeletal remains.
    • 2)These must be recovered from undisturbed geological deposits in proper stratigraphic position.
    • 3)All must be accompanied by indisputable radiometric dates
    • While they appear seemingly
    • unharmful they are exceedingly difficult
    • to meet, not because they cannot be satisfied, but because of the qualitative nature of words such as undeniable, undisturbed, and indisputable.
  9. Meadowcroft Rock Shelter
    • Located 50 km west of Pittsburgh
    • Discovered by Albert Miller in 1955
    • Excavated by James Adovasio from 1973-1979
    • Excavations continued viaUniversity of Pittsburgh until 1989
    • Since the 1990s Adovasio has resumed excavation at the site (he is reknowned)
    • site was stratigraphically challenging, yet excavators dug through 4.6 meters divisible into 11 natural strata (each with its own micro-stratigraphy)
    • The site is anchored by 52 radiocarbon dates
    • analyzed by several different laboratories
    • dates range in age from 31,400 BP to the Historic Period (1500 AD)
    • each chronological horizon was in sequence that conforms to the stratigraphy.
  10. Various features of human occupation,
    mostly from later (Woodland) occupations, but in the deeper levels of Stratum
    II A was a rich record of Archaic hunter-gatherers.
    • the pre-Clovis action is down in the middle of Stratum IIa, which is bracketed by firm dates of 11,300-12,800 BP (uncalibrated predating clovis period)
    • and also a lower level of Stratum IIa, which has 6 radiocarbon dates from 12,800-16,175 BP along with associated artifacts that pushes these dates way back when ice sheets dont have a corridor in it
    • Adovasio’s conservative interpretation indicates a human presence at Meadowcroft around 14,250 BP
    • meadowcroft was an anomoly bc of the dates and that the dates
  11. Meadowcroft Anomoly (abnomal)
    • At 14,250 BP the Laurentide
    • Ice-Sheet is only 150km from Meadowcroft.

    • Hence ecological conditions ought
    • to resemble permafrost and tundra, or at the very least, a boreal setting with
    • cold-thriving flora and fauna.

    • Instead, the Pleistocene levels
    • exhibit deciduous trees (oak, hickory, and walnut) along with white-tailed
    • deer, a southern flying squirrel, and a passenger pigeon, which speak to a
    • temperate environment.

    • Nearly 1 million faunal bones have
    • been recovered, but only 278 come from the lower reaches of Stratum IIa,
    • and of those only 11 could be identified.

    • The same is true for the
    • plants.  1.4 million fragments of wood,
    • charcoal, and seeds were recovered, but only 11.9 grams are from glacial-age
    • levels
  12. Let’s Disagree to Agree to Disagree
    James Adavasio
    C. Vance Haynes started questioning
    • ☀Maybe the C14 dates were wrong? (different labs would pick it up and if every lab was incompetent)
    • ☀What if they were contaminated by coal? (closest coal source is a km away from site)
    • ☀Maybe only the lower layer of
    • stratum IIa sat in contaminated groundwater? (over 10 meters below the site)
    • ☀Why not date some of the seeds and
    • nuts from stratum IIa since they are less susceptible to contamination? (adavasio responded that it doesnt matter what he dates haynes will continue to discredit)
  13. The Fight Turns South: Monte Verde and the Demise of Clovis First

    • site in monte verde, On the banks of the Chichihuapi Creek in southern Chile, 50km from the Pacific Ocean.
    • discovered by Tom Dillehey in the the 1970's
    • monte verde Entered archaeological “consciousness” ca. 1989 through a conference at the University of Maine.
    • site had unique preservation which makes it unique.  Unlike most Paleoindian sites, Monte Verde has yielded wooden artifacts, house planks, fruit, seeds, leaves, animal hide, and human coprolites.
    • Preservation due to the Rio Maullín becoming dammed after departure of people living at site.
    • a water-saturated, sterile, grass-matted peat deposit formed over the research area creating an oxygen starved(anaerobic) environment conducive to preservation.
    • dates were presented between 12,000 - 16,000 years ago - there was huge disbelief over this
    • he became under fire and was being actively removed from the discipline, particularly bc nothing like this demonstrated anything like it
  14. why else Monte verde is uniqu Cont.
    • Pre-Clovis stratum, the MKII
    • surface yielded 75 species of plants.  Of these
    • 30% were carbonized from cooking. 
    • Roughly 25% were brought to the site from the coast some 30-50km distant.

    Huts and rectangular structures arranged like a row house and framed by log planks anchored by wooden stakes that supported walls of wooden poles that still had bits of animal skin clinging to them.

    • Most of the artifacts on the MKII surface are wooden objects such as digging sticks, mortars, and lances, while others are made of bone and ivory.  Lithics are, of course, present, but they do not constitute the dominant raw material
    • for tools (a lot of these stone “tools” are unmodified)

    Radiocarbon analyses conducted by multiple labs yield dates of 11,790-13,565 RCYBP (ca. 14,800 BP).
  15. What Planet Is This From?  Resistance to Monte Verde
    • Tom Dillehay anticpated resistance to the site’s age and meticulously prepared for the dispute to come.
    • He excavated at the site and beyond (To verify and illustrate cultural vs. non-cultural areas)
    • He published a volume on the paleoenvironmentof the site in 1989 (To forestall claims that the stratigraphy or environmental data were inquestion)
    • He made sure C14 dates were sent to multiple labs (To disarm claims thatcontamination, incompetence, or bias influenced the dates)
    • In 1997 he published a 1500 pagevolume on the archaeological remains from Monte Verde (5 times more than are typically published for a site)
    • In spite of these precautions manyrefused to accept the site’s authenticity.
  16. dillahey still under fire with Questions and Suggestions
    Dena Dincauze- “Pervasive strangeness” of materials was interesting, but was it archaeological? (Translation: Do you know how to identify evidence of human modification properly?)

    • Thomas Lynch-  Disputed artifacts as artifacts,
    • and those that existed such as lanceolate
    • projectile points found in association with mastodon bones could be
    • “essentially Clovis time”.  (Translation: You don’t know what artifacts look like and your interpretation of stratigraphy and formation
    • processes is off, therefore so are your dates.)

    • Lynch also questioned why anyone would
    • “camp” in such an environment. (Translation: I like to make things up.)

    C. Vance Haynes- Have you ever visited a site that looked just like the way you thought it would based on what you’d read of it beforehand? (Translation: I don’t believe you and I will have to see it to believe it (double translation: only if I excavated this myself would I ever believe it was accurate).
  17. Monte Verde site visit: IT IS A PRE-CLOVIS SITE
    • In 1997 National Geographic sponsored an
    • official site visit to Monte Verde

    • After a tense exposé of artifacts at the
    • University of Kentucky and a visit to the site itself, the matter was attempted to be settled at La Caverna, a local bar near the site.

    • After consensus a press conference was
    • held in the United States and a statement on Monte Verde prepared for American Antiquity

    Stuart Fiedel then compared the statement to Dillehay’s volume and ambushed the conclusions in the popular archaeology magazine Discovering Archaeology.

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