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Calico: A 200,000-year Old Site In The Americas?
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Posted on 12/17/2001 2:22:22 PM PST by blam

Calico: A 200,000-year old site in the Americas?

New World archaeological sites inferred to be even slightly older than the 11.5 ka Clovis complexes have been controversial; so claims for a 200 ka site in North America have heretofore been treated with substantial disdain. But the acceptance of Monte Verde and Diring may soon change that.

The classic "ancient site" in the New World is "Calico," located in the Central Mojave Desert of California (Shlemon and Budinger, 1990). Two issues have dogged acceptance of Calico by mainstream archaeologists: (1) the authenticity of the artifacts; are they truly the product of human manufacture, or merely naturally produced "geofacts?" and (2) the obvious pre-Clovis age of the deposits (see, for example, lengthy discussions in Leakey and others, 1968; Haynes, 1973; Bryan, 1978; Taylor and Payen, 1975; Carter, 1980; Meighen, 1983; Patterson, 1983; and Budinger and Simpson, 1985).

Thought to be about 200 ka old, the deeply buried chert and chalcedony tools of Calico are usually dismissed as being artifacts. However, if shown to respected Old World archaeologists, many Calico assemblages are readily described as typical Paleolithic implements. Regardless, when told that the ancient tools come from the New World, these same archaeologists then often reject their original interpretation! So much for unbiased reasoning in science! Nevertheless, although it will take time, the pre-Clovis Monte Verde site in Chile and the 260 ka Diring site in Siberia may well provide a "stepping stone" for mainstream archaeological acceptance of the Calico site.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: acrossatlanticice; americaneden; americanorigin; americas; archaeology; artifacts; australia; bering; brucebradley; calico; california; clovis; dennisstanford; dillehay; dna; geofacts; ggg; godsgravesglyphs; history; mojavedesert; mtdna; multiregionalism; nagpra; neandertal; paleontology; preclovis; precolumbian; primates; replacement; solutreans; tomdillehay
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I will post a number of related articles on this thread as it progresses. I do believe these sites are this old.
1 posted on 12/17/2001 2:22:22 PM PST by blam
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To: LostTribe;SurferDoc;Right Whale;sawsalimb
Targeting Early Man Sites

Though Calico and many other previously inferred pre-Clovis sites may ultimately be accepted as "legitimate," the real challenge is to predict the general location and to actively explore other such sites. But where? Logically, they should occur on surfaces about 200 ka old. But such surfaces are rare owing to rapid fluvial dissection or to later covering by sediments. Indeed, most of the world's geomorphic surfaces are no older than Holocene (~10.5 ka). There are exceptions, however. For example, some remnant, high-level alluvial fans in the Mojave Desert are more than about 100 ka old, recognized by their tightly packed desert pavement, their dark- colored patina (desert varnish), and their strongly developed surface soils (relict paleosols; Shlemon, 1978). But such desert surfaces are, and were, inherently inhospitable for continued human occupance. Therefore, few high concentrations of undisturbed artifacts are likely to be found.

In contrast, the most promising, unequivocal Early Man targets are buried, often under many meters of sediments. Only a fraction of the ancient surfaces (buried paleosols) are ever seen, usually in fortuitous road or mining cuts. The most favorable Early Man targets are old shorelines that mark the junction of diverse environments, and thus are particularly susceptible to artifact concentration and preservation (Budinger, 1992).

Though rare, such paleo-environments may also be exposed in natural cuts. Ironically, one of the best Early Man "targets" are natural exposures that occur very near the Calico site. Indeed, the full acceptance of Calico may not come from collecting more on-site artifacts, but from systematic observation and possible excavations in the nearby Manix Lake beds (Shlemon and Budinger, 1990). The stratigraphy of the well exposed Manix beds is remarkable, for these beds range in age from about 20 ka to 290 ka, recording climatic and sedimentation change in this part of California for much of middle and late Quaternary time; they interfinger distal fan sediments that emanated from the Calico Mountains and other nearby "quarry sites;" they bear several datable ash beds, one of which is an estimated 185 ka, tantalizing close to the 200 ka age for the Calico artifact-bearing beds; and they contain abundant vertebrate fossils. In sum, the Manix Lake beds are a classic Early Man target. They may indeed be the place for a new breed of archaeologists and their geoscience colleagues to explore unabashedly for pre-Clovis sites. Such endeavors are no longer far fetched, particularly in light of the recent Monte Verde and Diring discoveries.
Accordingly, it appears that we will soon see a "quiet revolution" in New World archaeology whereby mainstream archaeologists reinterpret their data and thus "document" pre-Clovis sites. If so, New World archaeology will take a giant step forward, perhaps analogous to the now-famous 1970's "plate tectonic revolution" in geology.

2 posted on 12/17/2001 2:26:10 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Thanks for the article. Very interesting. My grandmother insists we were always here. Since I am part of the tribe(Athabascan) that supposably came here 35,000 years ago from Asia on a landbridge. These people make these theorys and teach them as fact.
3 posted on 12/17/2001 2:29:10 PM PST by Iwentsouth
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To: blam
Push it back,push it back.Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back!
4 posted on 12/17/2001 2:29:29 PM PST by tet68
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To: Sabertooth;white rose;rightofrush;Le-roy;okie01;MarkWar
The Diring Yuriakh Site, Siberia

The year 1997 saw another break through, albeit indirect, for acceptance of pre-Clovis man in the Americas. Published in the prestigious journal "Science," Michael Waters and colleagues dated the so-called "Diring" site, a lower Paleolithic assemblage of stone artifacts in central Siberia (Waters and others, 1997). Based on deep trench exposures, the stone tools are reportedly of undoubted human manufacture. They occur in eolian sands, sediments amenable to thermoluminescence (TL) dating techniques. The cultural horizons prove to be about 260 ka old, almost 250 ka older than artifacts recovered from unconformably overlying sediments, a stratigraphic relationship similar to several, heretofore generally rejected Early Man sites in the Americas.

Uncertainties always accompany various dating techniques, and hence Diring will likely be questioned. However, the dates were obtained by a well-known geologist, a specialist in the field of TL analysis and one of the co-authors. Waters, himself, is a distinguished archaeologist. He also teaches at a prestigious American university, and thus gives substantial credibility to the 260 ka age for the Diring site.

The Diring dates have profound implications for dating the possible entry of pre-Clovis man into the Americas, for they imply that ancient stone tool makers lived and perhaps even prospered in the harsh Siberian environment; and that crossing into the New World via Beringia may have indeed taken place long before the blossoming of Clovis cultures.

5 posted on 12/17/2001 2:32:34 PM PST by blam
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To: Iwentsouth
These people make these theorys and teach them as
fact.

Evidence be damned, right?

6 posted on 12/17/2001 2:33:50 PM PST by gcruse
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To: blam
The Monte Verde Site in Chile

So contentious have been the arguments about possible pre-Clovis man in the Americas that it appeared inevitable that acceptance would only occur if such a site contained skeletons or artifacts of unambiguous human origin, was well dated both by stratigraphic context and by unequivocal numeric dating techniques, and was excavated by highly regarded traditional archaeologists. Such a site has finally been found, not in North America geographically close to a presumed Beringia migration route, but at Monte Verde in Chile (Dillehay, 1966; Meltzer, 1997).

By 1997, some 80 earth-science specialists visited Monte Verde, many participated in the excavations, and still others collected samples and conducted laboratory analyses. The results are remarkable: now documented are 70 species of plants collected by Early Man, the remnants of mastodon meat, the remains of wooden canoes, mortars, and hundreds of stone artifacts including projectile points and cutting and scraping tools. Additionally, some 30 radiocarbon dates were obtained from abundant charcoal, wood and ivory found within the artifact-bearing strata. These dates indicate that Monte Verde was occupied about 12.5 ka ago, a full thousand years before Clovis (Meltzer, 1997). Now, perhaps, even the most skeptic, pre-Clovis non-believers may well have been converted.

But questions still remain: How long did it take for man to migrate from Beringia to Monte Verde? Did this occur thousands of years before 12.5 ka ago? If so, could such migration(s) have taken place during times of maximum ice extent, even though the environment would have been extremely inhospitable. Or did such migrations really take place before the last major glaciation, perhaps before about 20 ka, or even 35 ka ago? Prior to Monte Verde, the conventional answer would be "where is the evidence for such Early Man?" In reality, such evidence may well have been seen previously, but largely dismissed owing to the traditional dogma of "no pre-Clovis sites in the Americas." Accordingly, with Monte Verde now reasonably accepted, it seems likely that traditional archaeologists will soon "find" other pre-Clovis sites in the New World.

(There is another site near Monte Verde that is believed to date to 35-50,000 years old)

7 posted on 12/17/2001 2:38:15 PM PST by blam
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To: Marie;vannrox;Ditter;Ernest_at_the_Beach;horsewhispersc
Targeting Early Man Sites

Though Calico and many other previously inferred pre-Clovis sites may ultimately be accepted as "legitimate," the real challenge is to predict the general location and to actively explore other such sites. But where? Logically, they should occur on surfaces about 200 ka old. But such surfaces are rare owing to rapid fluvial dissection or to later covering by sediments. Indeed, most of the world's geomorphic surfaces are no older than Holocene (~10.5 ka). There are exceptions, however. For example, some remnant, high-level alluvial fans in the Mojave Desert are more than about 100 ka old, recognized by their tightly packed desert pavement, their dark- colored patina (desert varnish), and their strongly developed surface soils (relict paleosols; Shlemon, 1978). But such desert surfaces are, and were, inherently inhospitable for continued human occupance. Therefore, few high concentrations of undisturbed artifacts are likely to be found.

In contrast, the most promising, unequivocal Early Man targets are buried, often under many meters of sediments. Only a fraction of the ancient surfaces (buried paleosols) are ever seen, usually in fortuitous road or mining cuts. The most favorable Early Man targets are old shorelines that mark the junction of diverse environments, and thus are particularly susceptible to artifact concentration and preservation (Budinger, 1992).

Though rare, such paleo-environments may also be exposed in natural cuts. Ironically, one of the best Early Man "targets" are natural exposures that occur very near the Calico site. Indeed, the full acceptance of Calico may not come from collecting more on-site artifacts, but from systematic observation and possible excavations in the nearby Manix Lake beds (Shlemon and Budinger, 1990). The stratigraphy of the well exposed Manix beds is remarkable, for these beds range in age from about 20 ka to 290 ka, recording climatic and sedimentation change in this part of California for much of middle and late Quaternary time; they interfinger distal fan sediments that emanated from the Calico Mountains and other nearby "quarry sites;" they bear several datable ash beds, one of which is an estimated 185 ka, tantalizing close to the 200 ka age for the Calico artifact-bearing beds; and they contain abundant vertebrate fossils. In sum, the Manix Lake beds are a classic Early Man target. They may indeed be the place for a new breed of archaeologists and their geoscience colleagues to explore unabashedly for pre-Clovis sites. Such endeavors are no longer far fetched, particularly in light of the recent Monte Verde and Diring discoveries. Accordingly, it appears that we will soon see a "quiet revolution" in New World archaeology whereby mainstream archaeologists reinterpret their data and thus "document" pre-Clovis sites. If so, New World archaeology will take a giant step forward, perhaps analogous to the now-famous 1970's "plate tectonic revolution" in geology.

8 posted on 12/17/2001 2:42:01 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
Thanks for the heads up blam, it's about time everything's coming out in the open. I doubt very much that the Vatican will respond as they never have in the past, for people would start going huh! lol
9 posted on 12/17/2001 2:53:04 PM PST by horsewhispersc
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To: spycatcher;callisto;ada coddington;JudyB1938;Lancey Howard
Calico Site Update

The Calico Early Man site, located east of Barstow, California, has been an archaeological site of some distinction ever since Louis Leakey visited it in 1964 shortly after its discovery. Although no human remains such as bone or teeth have been unearthed as yet, over 60,000 tools and flakes have been collected. Most of these are kept in the San Bernardino County Museum under the watchful eye of Ruth Simpson, Museum Director and archaeologist. There exists a debate over whether the artifacts were made naturally or by the hand of man. Many experts in the scientific community are now convinced of the authenticity of the site.

The latest dating of the alluvial deposit where the implements reside has been set at 135,000 years old! This establishes the approximate geological date of the artifact-bearing level. You might say, "Sure, the geologic level may be that old but how do you know when the tools were actually made?" Good question! In 1981 scientists Ku and Bischoff used the uranium-thorium method to yield a date of 200,000 years (+/- 20,000) for the artifacts at the bottom of the geologic level in question. The topmost soil layer was estimated at 100,000 years. Therefore, the artifacts which were made and then covered over by later deposits have to be older than the youngest layer above them. Fred Budinger, assistant director of the site, says that this "new date is scientifically important because it provides a second independent age assessment of these beds."

This date is unusual because it is believed that the first people arrived in North America during the last ice-age, approximately 20,000 - 30,000 years ago, crossing the land-bridge at the Bering Sound, from northeastern Siberia into Alaska. The oldest documented human cultures in North America are Sandia (15000 BC), Clovis (12000 BC) and Folsom (8000 BC).

10 posted on 12/17/2001 2:56:26 PM PST by blam
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To: Dream Weaver;teresat;LarryLied;janus;boris;cva66snipe
Primitive human toolmakers hunted in Siberia

WASHINGTON (AP) Primitive humans thrived in the harsh, cold climate of northern Siberia 300,000 years ago, eons earlier than once believed possible, as indicated by the dating of stone tools found in frozen tundra.
The finding means that primitive humans were clever enough to live in one of the most severe climates on Earth far earlier than most experts had thought possible, said Michael Waters of Texas A&M University, the head of a field expedition to Siberia.
"Prior to this, the oldest known occupants of Siberia were about 30,000 years ago," said Waters. "Before this, it was thought that only (anatomically) modern humans could have lived there."
He added, "It shows us that people even in that early time had the skills to deal with the severe cold."

The study, to be published Friday in the journal Science, adds to a growing body of evidence that primitive humans were more intelligent, organized and resourceful than previously believed. Other scientists reported this week the discovery in Germany of some 400,000-year-old spears and evidence of a skilled hunting culture.
Waters said these findings are a surprise because most researchers had thought sophisticated survival skills came into wide use among ancient humanlike animals only with the appearance about 150,000 years ago of anatomically modern humans.

The Siberian site studied by Waters and his team is called Diring Yuriakh. It is located on a plateau above the Lena River, near the town of Yakutsk about 480 km south of the Arctic Circle.

Russian archaeologists first excavated the site in 1982 and discovered that it was an ancient quarry that had been used during several different periods of human occupation over many thousands of years.
Waters and colleagues from the University of Illinois were invited to determine the age of the oldest site using a technique that counts the number of electrons trapped in the grains of quartzite sand.
The Americans took a number of samples, said Waters, and determined that the crude stone tools were between sediment layers 260,000 to 370,000 years old.

Waters said the weather in Siberia 300,000 years ago is thought to have been very much like the present-day weather. Winter temperatures at Diring Yuriakh routinely drop to minus 50, and the soil freezes down to about 1 meter.
No bones, animal or human, have been found in Diring Yuriakh, and Waters said it is uncertain how long the ancient humans lived there. Their primary food source also is unknown, he said, although the nearby Lena River probably had fish, and large animals, such as elephant-like mammoths, lived in the area.
"We know very little about these humans," said Waters. He said it is not known which of the premodern human species could have lived at the Siberian site 300,000 years ago.

Some scientists have said the crude stone tools found at Diring Yuriakh were actually made by natural processes, not by human hand. But archaeologist Rob Bonnichsen of Oregon State University said he believes the site analyzed by the Waters team clearly was once a home to an ancient people.
"It is obvious that this is a human site," said Bonnichsen. The fist-size stone tools recovered from the site are thought to be quartz stones that were shaped by pounding them against other stones until a sharp edge was developed. The process left markings that could not be made by natural forces, said Waters.

But the ultimate proof came when scientists found a debris pile at what may have been a toolmaker's work station. In the debris pile were distinctive quartz flakes. Some of the flakes could be fitted exactly into the sharpened faces of some of the stone tools, said Waters.

11 posted on 12/17/2001 3:06:28 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
There has been and continues to be a continuous overlay of micrometeorite dust over the entire planet. In the course of a few megayears this is a substantial amount of new material. If we could strip the top ten feet of soil off the entire planet, what would we find? In some places airborne sediment is a lot more than this.
12 posted on 12/17/2001 3:07:49 PM PST by RightWhale
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To: blam
I agree with you. The stupid idea that rasoning man just appeared 6000 years ago is absurb.
13 posted on 12/17/2001 3:13:19 PM PST by vannrox
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To: blam
These reports don't make much sense. THe Siberian layer with a date of 260K was just below layers dated 10K. The article said a lot of these "earliest sites" are like this. How do we know that the makers didn't live 10 K ago and BURY there implements, putting the implements in the 260K old soil?

Lumenessence (sic) is also a suspect method of dating. It gives only maximum dates. The actual date of an artifact could easily be 1/20th that date.

14 posted on 12/17/2001 3:17:46 PM PST by Ahban
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To: vannrox
THE AMERICAN DISCOVERY OF EUROPE!

Wow, that's an inflammatory title, and we must be very wary here. Who could be promoting such an idea? The perpetrator is J. Forbes, a professor of Native American Studies at the University of California-Davis. The title above is, in fact, the title of Forbes' forthcoming book. Forbes recently gave a talk on his thesis in Berkeley, and the evidence below is based on a newspaper account of his talk. The account began with:

"It is a common perception, and one which is taught in most history classes, that the Europeans 'discovered' America. Some scholars, however, postulate that it may be quite the opposite: Native Americans went across the Atlantic and 'found' their European counterparts first." Now for the claimed evidence:

Carribean people were the Polynesians of the Americas. Excellent mariners, they built sophisticated sailing vessels 80-feet long, carrying up to 80 people. With the favorable winds and currents, they had the capabilities of reaching Europe.

There are tales of "redmen" arriving on the west coast of Portugal during the Middle Ages.

Columbus himself, during a visit to Ireland, noted the presence of people resembling North Americans.

Columbus also made notes on Indians in canoes wrecked off the coast of Germany in 1410.

Inuits (Eskimos) are said to have landed in the Orkneys, off Scotland. Old Inuit harpoon heads have been dug up in Ireland and Scotland.

(Kluepfel, Brian; "Native Americans May Have Found Europe, Says Scholar," Berkeley Voice, January 28, 1993. Cr. P.F. Young.

Comment. Obviously, stronger evidence will be required to convince most archeologists. And what about all the purported claims for early contacts with the Americas by Celts, Phonecians, Hebrews, Romans, Africans, etc,?

15 posted on 12/17/2001 3:20:28 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
I have always thought that the reason "old sites" were not found it the Northern Hemisphere was that no one looked. Old sites were obviously in Africa, Asia, etc.

I would look at the edge of old lake beds, river banks, and naturally, caves. I suspect that someone with a "trained eye" could find many interesting artifacts. As an example, looking for shark's teeth. Once one has walked the beach where they are, in a week or so, they just pop out at you. I was standing with one between my feet, and I didn't see it. My friend who lived there said, "I was standing on one." The same is true for pottery shards. Once you look for a while, where there are some, you see them everywhere.

16 posted on 12/17/2001 3:21:52 PM PST by Citizen Tom Paine
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To: blam
THE 50,000-YEAR-OLD AMERICANS OF PEDRA FURADA

French archeologists (not American) have established to the satisfaction of most European archeologists (not American) that humans were present in Brazil at least 50,000 years ago. F. Parenti, with N. Guidon, presented their data at a recent Paris meeting. The main site studied was the sandstone rock shelter of Pedra Furada, which is one of several hundred painted rock shelters discovered in northeastern Brazil. Guidon began her work in 1978; Parenti, in 1984. The fourvolume, 7-kilogram report (actually Parenti's doctoral thesis) concentrates on three lines of evidence:

A coherent series of 54 radiocarbon dates ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 years.

Crudely flaked stones, some 6,000 of which are deemed of human manufacture, even when the most stringent criteria are applied. Many of these came from Pleistocene strata 50,000 years old or older.

Some 50 Pleistocene "structures" consisting of artificial arrangements of stones, some burned, some accompanied by charcoal. These are likely ancient hearths.

(Bahn, Paul G.; "50,000-Year-Old Americans of Pedra Furada," Nature, 362:114, 1993.)

Comment. With the Brazil and Chile (Monte Verde) sites looking more and more convincing, it is reasonable to ask why even older sites have not been found in North America, which is nearer the famous Bering Land Bridge. As a matter of fact, controverted human artifacts have been found at such sites as Calico Hills, California, which are claimed to be much older than 50,000 years. It will be interesting to see how the Pedra Furada data are received in the States.

17 posted on 12/17/2001 3:24:33 PM PST by blam
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To: Iwentsouth;blam
Wow, you sure did go south. Seriously, I love these posts. Thanks, blam. Will be watching for what follows.
18 posted on 12/17/2001 3:40:40 PM PST by Bahbah
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To: RightWhale
"In some places airborne sediment is a lot more than this."

Yup. I've read that (the) Ukraine has a topsoil depth of 150 feet. It blew in there over the eons from other places.

19 posted on 12/17/2001 3:55:26 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
What the hell is ka?
20 posted on 12/17/2001 4:01:53 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead
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