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Early Settlement Site in Pa. Debated
Associated Press ^ | 8/22/2003 | ALLISON SCHLESINGER

Posted on 08/22/2003 8:43:52 AM PDT by NukeMan

AVELLA, Pa. - Evidence that humans inhabited western Pennsylvania some 16,000 years ago - thousands of years earlier than most scholars believe - is still dividing archaeologists, 30 years after blade tools and materials to make beads were found in a rock shelter.

Archaeologist J.M. Adovasio and his crew began to unearth the artifacts in the summer of 1973 at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter, about 25 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. Those findings challenged for the first time a belief cemented in the 1950s that humans had crossed the Bering Strait and first settled near Clovis, N.M., about 12,000 years ago.

Adovasio says skepticism over his findings has slowly dissipated over the last three decades, because of extensive study, dozens of radiocarbon tests and the discovery of other sites in North and South America.

"I believe that the site is truly pre-Clovis, but there are some questionable dates and questionable findings," said Robson Bonnichsen, the director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans and professor of anthropology at Texas A&M University.

Adovasio, who was then a new archaeologist at the University of Pittsburgh, was looking for a suitable site for a field school in 1972 when he heard about a rock shelter near a farm in Washington County. He is now the director of the anthropology/archaeology department at Mercyhurst College in Erie.

Even today, the cavern seems like the perfect place to camp for a week. It sits near a tributary of the Ohio River and permanent springs. The interior is dry, well-ventilated and suitable for up to eight people, and hunting and foraging would be easy nearby.

Adovasio's crew uncovered more than 20,000 artifacts, including a fire pit used thousands of years ago and pits that could have been used for storage or refuse.

Radiocarbon dating showed that humans were unquestionably at the site between 14,000 and 15,000 years ago and possibly as early as 16,000 years ago, according to Adovasio's findings.

But some scholars believe the samples could have been contaminated with coal that dissolved into groundwater.

"I'm just asking for a few more independent tests and (he's) refused," said C. Vance Haynes Jr., a professor at the University of Arizona.

Adovasio and his defenders point out that four independent radiocarbon labs and researchers at Boston University have found no evidence of coal contamination.

"There's not much more to test," said Mark McConaughy, who worked on Adovasio's field crew in 1973 and is now a field archaeologist with the state Bureau of Historic Preservation. "They're just being stubborn and, basically, there are certain doubters who will never change their mind."

ON THE NET

Meadowcroft Rockshelter,

http://www.meadowcroftmuseum.org/rockshelter.htm


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events; US: Pennsylvania
KEYWORDS: archaeology; archeology; clovis; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; preclovis; precolumbian

1 posted on 08/22/2003 8:43:52 AM PDT by NukeMan
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To: blam; vannrox; Physicist
A little end-of-summer archeology squabble to brighten the day.
2 posted on 08/22/2003 8:44:54 AM PDT by NukeMan
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To: msdrby
ping
3 posted on 08/22/2003 8:47:54 AM PDT by Prof Engineer (HHD: Middle Earth First, We'll Electrify the Rest Later)
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To: NukeMan
I am sure that some "native americans" are even now filing a suit to require the Army Corps of Engineers to fill the cave with cement. Can't have any proof that today's "native americans" were late-comers who murdered the earlier Americans and took their land...
4 posted on 08/22/2003 8:54:16 AM PDT by pabianice
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To: NukeMan
Radiocarbon dating showed that humans were unquestionably at the site between 14,000 and 15,000 years ago and possibly as early as 16,000 years ago, according to Adovasio's findings.

But some scholars believe the samples could have been contaminated with coal that dissolved into groundwater.

I wonder why the author says "unquestionably", and then follows it immediately with a question.

5 posted on 08/22/2003 9:02:34 AM PDT by Physicist
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To: Physicist
Has no independent verification been allowed? If so, where did he publish?
6 posted on 08/22/2003 9:16:31 AM PDT by balrog666 (Wisdom comes by disillusionment. -George Santanyana)
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To: NukeMan; farmfriend
This compares with some of the dates obtained from the Cactus Hill (Pennsylvania) and Topper (South Carolina) sites.

... and then there is the Windover (Florida) site where 7-8,000 year old 'European" DNA has been found.

7 posted on 08/22/2003 9:16:42 AM PDT by blam
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To: NukeMan
It was the Ice Age, most people lived farther south.
8 posted on 08/22/2003 9:18:43 AM PDT by RightWhale (Repeal the Law of the Excluded Middle)
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To: NukeMan
European DNA Found In 7-8,000 Year Old Skeleton In Florida (Windover)
9 posted on 08/22/2003 9:18:52 AM PDT by blam
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To: Physicist
Heh! Exactly right. If there were no controversy, the article would not exist. Her inclusion of 'unquestionably' reminds me of the misuse of 'literally' - people are often meaning 'figuratively' instead.
10 posted on 08/22/2003 9:55:01 AM PDT by NukeMan
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To: NukeMan
"Heh! Exactly right. If there were no controversy, the article would not exist. Her inclusion of 'unquestionably' reminds me of the misuse of 'literally' - people are often meaning 'figuratively' instead"

LOL...on the other hand, if they were there 'unquestionably' 14,000 or 15,000 years ago, then they're making an awful lot of fuss over a thousand years. The site is still pre-Clovis, and 30 years of testing ought to be worth something.

11 posted on 08/22/2003 11:15:47 AM PDT by cake_crumb (UN Resolutions = Very Expensive, Very SCRATCHY Toilet Paper)
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To: NukeMan; *Gods, Graves, Glyphs; bd476; carenot; CatoRenasci; ckilmer; curmudgeonII; dorothy; ...
Gods, Graves, Glyphs
List for articles regarding early civilizations , life of all forms, - dinosaurs - etc.

Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from this ping list.

12 posted on 08/22/2003 1:03:14 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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To: NukeMan
Thanks! This did make my day!
13 posted on 08/22/2003 1:23:54 PM PDT by ruoflaw
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To: farmfriend
Please put me on the ping list. Thanks
14 posted on 08/22/2003 1:31:49 PM PDT by ruoflaw
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To: ruoflaw
Consider yourself added. Thanks.
15 posted on 08/22/2003 1:35:43 PM PDT by farmfriend ( Isaiah 55:10,11)
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Just updating the GGG information, not sending a general distribution.

To all -- please ping me to other topics which are appropriate for the GGG list. Thanks.
Please FREEPMAIL me if you want on or off the
"Gods, Graves, Glyphs" PING list or GGG weekly digest
-- Archaeology/Anthropology/Ancient Cultures/Artifacts/Antiquities, etc.
Gods, Graves, Glyphs (alpha order)

16 posted on 10/28/2005 7:55:56 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (Down with Dhimmicrats! I last updated my FR profile on Sunday, August 14, 2005.)
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17 posted on 04/05/2006 11:55:16 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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