Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

No evidence for Clovis comet catastrophe, archaeologists say
University of Chicago Press Journals ^ | September 29, 2010 | Unknown

Posted on 09/29/2010 3:41:46 PM PDT by decimon

New research challenges the controversial theory that an ancient comet impact devastated the Clovis people, one of the earliest known cultures to inhabit North America.

Writing in the October issue of Current Anthropology, archaeologists Vance Holliday (University of Arizona) and David Meltzer (Southern Methodist University) argue that there is nothing in the archaeological record to suggest an abrupt collapse of Clovis populations. "Whether or not the proposed extraterrestrial impact occurred is a matter for empirical testing in the geological record," the researchers write. "Insofar as concerns the archaeological record, an extraterrestrial impact is an unnecessary solution for an archaeological problem that does not exist."

The comet theory first emerged in 2007 when a team of scientists announced evidence of a large extraterrestrial impact that occurred about 12,900 years ago. The impact was said to have caused a sudden cooling of the North American climate, killing off mammoths and other megafauna. It could also explain the apparent disappearance of the Clovis people, whose characteristic spear points vanish from the archaeological record shortly after the supposed impact.

As evidence for the rapid Clovis depopulation, comet theorists point out that very few Clovis archaeological sites show evidence of human occupation after the Clovis. At the few sites that do, Clovis and post-Clovis artifacts are separated by archaeologically sterile layers of sediments, indicating a time gap between the civilizations. In fact, comet theorists argue, there seems to be a dead zone in the human archaeological record in North America beginning with the comet impact and lasting about 500 years.

But Holliday and Meltzer dispute those claims. They argue that a lack of later human occupation at Clovis sites is no reason to assume a population collapse. "Single-occupation Paleoindian sites—Clovis or post-Clovis—are the norm," Holliday said. That's because many Paleoindian sites are hunting kill sites, and it would be highly unlikely for kills to be made repeatedly in the exact same spot.

"So there is nothing surprising about a Clovis occupation with no other Paleoindian zone above it, and it is no reason to infer a disaster," Holliday said.

In addition, Holliday and Meltzer compiled radiocarbon dates of 44 archaeological sites from across the U.S. and found no evidence of a post-comet gap. "Chronological gaps appear in the sequence only if one ignores standard deviations (a statistically inappropriate procedure), and doing so creates gaps not just around [12,900 years ago] but also at many later points in time," they write.

Sterile layers separating occupation zones at some sites are easily explained by shifting settlement patterns and local geological processes, the researchers say. The separation should not be taken as evidence of an actual time gap between Clovis and post-Clovis cultures.

Holliday and Meltzer believe that the disappearance of Clovis spear points is more likely the result of a cultural choice rather than a population collapse. "There is no compelling data to indicate that North American Paleoindians had to cope with or were affected by a catastrophe, extraterrestrial or otherwise, in the terminal Pleistocene," they conclude.

###

Vance T. Holliday and David J. Meltzer, "The 12.9-ka ET Impact Hypothesis and North American Paleoindians." Current Anthropology 51:5 (October 2010).

Current Anthropology is a transnational journal devoted to research on humankind, encompassing the full range of anthropological scholarship on human cultures and on the human and other primate species. The journal is published by The University of Chicago Press and sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

SMU is a private university in Dallas where nearly 11,000 students benefit from the national opportunities and international reach of SMU's seven degree-granting schools. For more information see www.smu.edu.


TOPICS: History
KEYWORDS: catastrophism; davidmeltzer; godsgravesglyphs

1 posted on 09/29/2010 3:41:49 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Clovisn’t ping.


2 posted on 09/29/2010 3:42:30 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon

What if it had wiped out the Fresno people instead?


3 posted on 09/29/2010 3:45:13 PM PDT by pogo101
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon

Ha! Everyone knows the Clovis people were wiped out by the Cletis tribe.


4 posted on 09/29/2010 3:45:26 PM PDT by RobRoy (The US Today: Revelation 18:4)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: decimon
Holliday and Meltzer believe that the disappearance of Clovis spear points is more likely the result of a cultural choice rather than a population collapse.

So the Paleo Indians, as a "culture" decided to quit make Clovis points?

5 posted on 09/29/2010 3:50:24 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (Had God not driven man from the Garden of Eden the Sierra Club surely would have.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pogo101

You just have the Sanger’s to deal with then...


6 posted on 09/29/2010 3:51:41 PM PDT by Rev DMV
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: decimon

Not surprising,

All these “A comet/asteroid caused Ice Age/Post Ice age extinctions” hypothesizes are just last ditch efforts to save the Myth of the Noble Savage.

It just hurts the liberal feelings that the “at one with nature” ancient man could have actually waged wars, committed genocide and hunted many species to extinction, so they try and blame it on comets/asteroids instead.


7 posted on 09/29/2010 4:06:57 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Inyo-Mono

Clovis became Folsom.

http://www.thefurtrapper.com/prehistoric_indians.htm

http://www.saguaro-juniper.com/i_and_i/history/clovis_folsom_transition.htm

http://www.ele.net/art_folsom/pre-clovis_2004/preclovis2004.htm


8 posted on 09/29/2010 4:07:05 PM PDT by rdl6989 (January 20, 2013- The end of an error.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: Inyo-Mono
So the Paleo Indians, as a "culture" decided to quit make Clovis points?

I read this as saying that sites of Clovis occupation were temporary and that different sites found provide a continuous record of Clovis occupation, hence existence.

9 posted on 09/29/2010 4:10:35 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: decimon

Ping


10 posted on 09/29/2010 4:14:55 PM PDT by Circle_Hook
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: qam1

“It just hurts the liberal feelings that the “at one with nature” ancient man could have actually waged wars, committed genocide and hunted many species to extinction, so they try and blame it on comets/asteroids instead.”

After watching a show the other night on how the Roman army wiped out the human sacrificing-cannibal-diet crazy mother Druids, I’m GLAD there have been some ancient tribes gone from the earth.

Thank you Rome!


11 posted on 09/29/2010 4:28:56 PM PDT by Beowulf9
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: decimon
Who says the Clovis people disappeared? Simply because they stopped using a specific tool doesn't necessarily mean they vanished. They just moved along, adapted to the new world and changed tools as the needs came up. The needs for the larger Clovis style points just wasn't there anymore but a lighter faster atlatl throwing smaller darts at higher speeds may have been just the ticket. I knap points the same way they did using only antler, bone and stone and I can tell you right now the Clovis is if not the, one of the most difficult points to produce. I would have stopped using it the first chance I got. Here's a few I made. Photobucket
12 posted on 09/29/2010 4:33:18 PM PDT by Dusty Road
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dusty Road

Are your neighbors wary of you? ;-)


13 posted on 09/29/2010 4:49:37 PM PDT by decimon
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

I'm reminded of the joker who used his thesis (don't remember for which level) to try to build a wall of denial regarding the 12th c impact on the Moon, for which a single eyewitness account survives. Thanks decimon.

The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes: Flood, Fire, and Famine in the History of Civilization The Cycle of Cosmic Catastrophes:
Flood, Fire, and Famine
in the History of Civilization

by Richard Firestone,
Allen West, and
Simon Warwick-Smith


14 posted on 09/29/2010 6:09:51 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


15 posted on 09/29/2010 6:13:01 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: gleeaikin; 75thOVI; aimhigh; Alice in Wonderland; AndrewC; aragorn; aristotleman; Avoiding_Sulla; ..
Thanks decimon.
 
Catastrophism
 
· join · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post new topic · subscribe ·
 

16 posted on 09/29/2010 6:13:41 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon; StayAt HomeMother; Ernest_at_the_Beach; 1010RD; 21twelve; 24Karet; 2ndDivisionVet; ...

· GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother, and Ernest_at_the_Beach ·
· join list or digest · view topics · view or post blog · bookmark · post a topic · subscribe ·

 
 Antiquity Journal
 & archive
 Archaeologica
 Archaeology
 Archaeology Channel
 BAR
 Bronze Age Forum
 Discover
 Dogpile
 Eurekalert
 Google
 LiveScience
 Mirabilis.ca
 Nat Geographic
 PhysOrg
 Science Daily
 Science News
 Texas AM
 Yahoo
 Excerpt, or Link only?
 


Thanks decimon.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list.
 

· History topic · history keyword · archaeology keyword · paleontology keyword ·
· Science topic · science keyword · Books/Literature topic · pages keyword ·


17 posted on 09/29/2010 6:14:29 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon

I thought Clovis was one of Marcel’s brothers.


18 posted on 09/29/2010 6:17:38 PM PDT by Some Fat Guy in L.A. (Wanna learn humility? Become a Pittsburgh Pirates fan!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: pogo101

Then Encino man wouldnt have existed. =)


19 posted on 09/29/2010 6:35:52 PM PDT by Redcitizen
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: decimon; SunkenCiv
Correted title: No Evidence For Clovis Comet Catastrophe, TWO Archaeologists Say
20 posted on 09/29/2010 6:47:27 PM PDT by ApplegateRanch (Made in America, by proud American citizens, in 1946.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: decimon
So, these two scholars offer speculation, conjecture and opinion but ZERO evidence in their "publication" to rebut the impact theory or some other catastrophic event? I get it; publish or die! Anyway, when they aren't sun gazing they might want to spend a little time looking into the contemporaneous disappearance of the mega fauna. Not that they could be connected...
21 posted on 09/29/2010 6:54:12 PM PDT by ForGod'sSake (You have just two choices: SUBMIT or RESIST with everything you've got!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: ApplegateRanch

/bingo


22 posted on 09/29/2010 7:42:21 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: Dusty Road
Here's one I found in my front yard:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A lifetime of looking has yielded only three complete Clovis points, along with a good assortment of heart breakers.
23 posted on 09/30/2010 1:02:52 AM PDT by ComputerGuy (HM2/USN M/3/3 Marines RVN '66-'67)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: ComputerGuy

Been hunting them most my life and never found a Clovis, we do find allot of plainviews and similar paleo type points.

A center piece to any collection, very nice!


24 posted on 09/30/2010 4:55:27 AM PDT by Dusty Road
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Dusty Road
Here are some most of my best finds.
The Clovis at upper right is fluted from base to tip.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
25 posted on 09/30/2010 5:18:48 AM PDT by ComputerGuy (HM2/USN M/3/3 Marines RVN '66-'67)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: txhurl

Check out these points.

I have the same as #3, 6 & 10 of the top row.

#1, 2 & 4 of the second row.

#1, 3, 5 & 9 on the third row.


26 posted on 09/30/2010 6:28:18 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Remember in November. Clean the house on Nov. 2. / Progressive is a PC word for liberal democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Dusty Road
How many Clovis Points constitute an arsenal?

W

27 posted on 09/30/2010 1:18:51 PM PDT by WLR (Remember 911 Remember 91 Iran delinda est.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: ComputerGuy

Must have one heck of a “front” yard... :-)


28 posted on 09/30/2010 5:04:26 PM PDT by bigheadfred (We built a tower of stone. With our flesh and bone. Just to see him fly .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: ApplegateRanch; decimon; SunkenCiv; ForGod'sSake
So, these two scholars offer speculation, conjecture and opinion but ZERO evidence in their "publication" to rebut the impact theory or some other catastrophic event?

Correted title: No Evidence For Clovis Comet Catastrophe, TWO Archaeologists Say

Man, I hate it when I go looking for my glasses and then realize...I'm wearing them.

29 posted on 09/30/2010 5:09:46 PM PDT by bigheadfred (We built a tower of stone. With our flesh and bone. Just to see him fly .)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: bigheadfred

I think these reading glasses would work better if they were somehow made part of the monitor — easier to keep clean.


30 posted on 09/30/2010 5:54:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: ComputerGuy; Arrowhead1952

Nice!


31 posted on 09/30/2010 5:56:22 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: bigheadfred; SunkenCiv
I understand completely.

Just like trying to find (Honey, where the *&^$ did you hide the (^&*^$#@@*&!!! phone book THIS time!?!) the phone book, when your elbow is resting on it.

And, yes; I also wear glasses. She threatened to get me one of those beeper gizmoes to help me find them, until I pointed out I would then just lose the clicker thing.

OTOH, neither of us have to put up with having to bear this guy's cross:

“(AP) Jackie Woody looks over his flooded kitchen in Carolina Beach, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 30, 2010”

Thank the Good Lord I didn't have to go through junior high & high school with a name like that, AND glasses!

32 posted on 09/30/2010 8:23:15 PM PDT by ApplegateRanch (Made in America, by proud American citizens, in 1946.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 29 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv; decimon; All

So there was a sterile space between Clovis and newer cultures. However, how many of these gaps occurred at the same time in widely spaced locations.

What about the Black Mat? What about the directionality of the axes of the eliptical Carolina and other Bays? What caused the Younger Dryas? Why did megafauna and Clovis disappear at the same time?

Yes, if the large animals were gone, it would make sense to use smaller points.


33 posted on 10/01/2010 12:45:32 AM PDT by gleeaikin (question authority)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

To: bigheadfred
Only the first pic is from my front yard - the single Clovis.
The rest are from MO, TN, KY and NC mostly.
34 posted on 10/01/2010 1:09:52 AM PDT by ComputerGuy (HM2/USN M/3/3 Marines RVN '66-'67)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: SunkenCiv

Thanks. I found most of mine in Travis county near Lake Travis, but some are from the farm in Lee county. There is an Indian burial ground on the part of the farm which I inherited and will remain as is.


35 posted on 10/01/2010 5:12:20 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Remember in November. Clean the house on Nov. 2. / Progressive is a PC word for liberal democrat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 31 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
General/Chat
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson