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PostPosted: 25-06-2012 22:16    Post subject: Reply with quote

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New Deglaciation Data Opens Door for Earlier First Americans Migration
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120621141351.htm

New research suggests that the possible coastal migration of people from Asia into North America and South America could have begun as much as two millennia earlier than thought. (Credit: © David Alary / Fotolia)
ScienceDaily (June 21, 2012) — A new study of lake sediment cores from Sanak Island in the western Gulf of Alaska suggests that deglaciation there from the last Ice Age took place as much as 1,500 to 2,000 years earlier than previously thought, opening the door for earlier coastal migration models for the Americas.

The Sanak Island Biocomplexity Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, also concluded that the maximum thickness of the ice sheet in the Sanak Island region during the last glacial maximum was 70 meters -- or about half that previously projected -- suggesting that deglaciation could have happened more rapidly than earlier models predicted.

Results of the study were just published in the professional journal, Quaternary Science Reviews.

The study, led by Nicole Misarti of Oregon State University, is important because it suggests that the possible coastal migration of people from Asia into North America and South America -- popularly known as "First Americans" studies -- could have begun as much as two millennia earlier than the generally accepted date of ice retreat in this area, which was 15,000 years before present.

Well-established archaeology sites at Monte Verde, Chile, and Huaca Prieta, Peru, date back 14,000 to 14,200 years ago, giving little time for expansion if humans had not come to the Americas until 15,000 years before present -- as many models suggest.

The massive ice sheets that covered this part of Earth during the last Ice Age would have prevented widespread migration into the Americas, most archaeologists believe.

"It is important to note that we did not find any archaeological evidence documenting earlier entrance into the continent," said Misarti, a post-doctoral researcher in Oregon State's College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. "But we did collect cores from widespread places on the island and determined the lake's age of origin based on 22 radiocarbon dates that clearly document that the retreat of the Alaska Peninsula Glacier Complex was earlier than previously thought."

"Glaciers would have retreated sufficiently so as to not hinder the movement of humans along the southern edge of the Bering land bridge as early as almost 17,000 years ago," added Misarti, who recently accepted a faculty position at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks.

Interestingly, the study began as a way to examine the abundance of ancient salmon runs in the region. As the researchers began examining core samples from Sanak Island lakes looking for evidence of salmon remains, however, they began getting radiocarbon dates much earlier than they had expected. These dates were based on the organic material in the sediments, which was from terrestrial plant macrofossils indicating the region was ice-free earlier than believed.

The researchers were surprised to find the lakes ranged in age from 16,500 to 17,000 years ago.

A third factor influencing the find came from pollen, Misarti said.

"We found a full contingent of pollen that indicated dry tundra vegetation by 16,300 years ago," she said. "That would have been a viable landscape for people to survive on, or move through. It wasn't just bare ice and rock."

The Sanak Island site is remote, about 700 miles from Anchorage, Alaska, and about 40 miles from the coast of the western Alaska Peninsula, where the ice sheets may have been thicker and longer lasting, Misarti pointed out. "The region wasn't one big glacial complex," she said. "The ice was thinner and the glaciers retreated earlier."

Other studies have shown that warmer sea surface temperatures may have preceded the early retreat of the Alaska Peninsula Glacier Complex (APGC), which may have supported productive coastal ecosystems.

Wrote the researchers in their article: "While not proving that first Americans migrated along this corridor, these latest data from Sanak Island show that human migration across this portion of the coastal landscape was unimpeded by the APGC after 17 (thousand years before present), with a viable terrestrial landscape in place by 16.3 (thousand years before present), well before the earliest accepted sites in the Americas were inhabited."

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by Oregon State University.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

Nicole Misarti, Bruce P. Finney, James W. Jordan, Herbert D.G. Maschner, Jason A. Addison, Mark D. Shapley, Andrea Krumhardt, James E. Beget. Early retreat of the Alaska Peninsula Glacier Complex and the implications for coastal migrations of First Americans. Quaternary Science Reviews, 2012; 48: 1 DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2012.05.014
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 11-07-2012 23:49    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Native American populations descend from three key migrations

July 11th, 2012 in Biology / Biotechnology

Scientists have found that Native American populations — from Canada to the southern tip of Chile — arose from at least three migrations, with the majority descended entirely from a single group of First American migrants that crossed over through Beringia, a land bridge between Asia and America that existed during the ice ages, more than 15,000 years ago.

By studying variations in Native American DNA sequences, the international team found that while most of the Native American populations arose from the first migration, two subsequent migrations also made important genetic contributions. The paper is published in the journal Nature today.

"For years it has been contentious whether the settlement of the Americas occurred by means of a single or multiple migrations from Siberia," said Professor Andres Ruiz-Linares (UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment), who coordinated the study. "But our research settles this debate: Native Americans do not stem from a single migration. Our study also begins to cast light on patterns of human dispersal within the Americas."

In the most comprehensive survey of genetic diversity in Native Americans so far, the team took data from 52 Native American and 17 Siberian groups, studying more than 300,000 specific DNA sequence variations called Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms to examine patterns of genetic similarities and differences between the population groups.

The second and third migrations have left an impact only in Arctic populations that speak Eskimo-Aleut languages and in the Canadian Chipewyan who speak a Na-Dene language. However, even these populations have inherited most of their genome from the First American migration. Eskimo-Aleut speakers derive more than 50% of their DNA from First Americans, and the Chipewyan around 90%. This reflects the fact that these two later streams of Asian migration mixed with the First Americans they encountered after they arrived in North America.

"There are at least three deep lineages in Native American populations," said co-author David Reich, Professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School. "The Asian lineage leading to First Americans is the most anciently diverged, whereas the Asian lineages that contributed some of the DNA to Eskimo–Aleut speakers and the Na-Dene-speaking Chipewyan from Canada are more closely related to present-day East Asian populations."

The team also found that once in the Americas, people expanded southward along a route that hugged the coast with populations splitting off along the way. After divergence, there was little gene flow among Native American groups, especially in South America.

Two striking exceptions to this simple dispersal were also discovered. First, Central American Chibchan-speakers have ancestry from both North and South America, reflecting back-migration from South America and mixture of two widely separated strands of Native ancestry. Second, the Naukan and coastal Chukchi from north-eastern Siberia carry 'First American' DNA. Thus, Eskimo-Aleut speakers migrated back to Asia, bringing Native American genes.

The team's analysis was complicated by the influx into the hemisphere of European and African immigrants since 1492 and the 500 years of genetic mixing that followed. To address this, the authors developed methods that allowed them to focus on the sections of peoples' genomes that were of entirely Native American origin.

"The study of Native American populations is technically very challenging because of the widespread occurrence of European and African mixture in Native American groups," said Professor Ruiz-Linares.

"We developed a method to peel back this mixture to learn about the relationships among Native Americans before Europeans and Africans arrived," Professor Reich said, "allowing us to study the history of many more Native American populations than we could have done otherwise."

The assembly of DNA samples from such a diverse range of populations was only possible through a collaboration of an international team of 64 researchers from the Americas (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Russia and the USA), Europe (England, France, Spain and Switzerland) and Russia.

More information: 'Reconstructing Native American population history' is published in the journal Nature on 11 July 2012. DOI: 10.1038/nature11258
Provided by University College London

"Native American populations descend from three key migrations." July 11th, 2012. http://phys.org/news/2012-07-native-american-populations-descend-key.html
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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 14-07-2012 11:25    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Oregon stone tools enliven 'earliest Americans' debate
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18814522
By Jonathan Amos
Science correspondent, BBC News

Western Stemmed points differ significantly from Clovis design at their base

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Scientists studying how North America was first settled have found stone spearheads and darts in Oregon, US, that date back more than 13,000 years.

The hunting implements, which are of the "Western Stemmed" tradition, are at least as old as the famous Clovis tools thought for a long time to belong to the continent's earliest inhabitants.

Precise carbon dating of dried human faeces discovered alongside the stone specimens tied down their antiquity.

Science magazine has the full report.

It has published the scholarly findings of an international team investigating the Paisley Cave complex in south-central Oregon.

Researchers, led by Dennis Jenkins, describe a range of projectile points discovered 1-2m (3-7ft) down in the cave sediments.

"Mostly, we're looking at discards; these are broken and left behind," said the University of Oregon archaeologist.

"Most of these appear to be dart points and have been cast at an animal and broken in the process of being used," he told reporters.

Human faeces
Western Stemmed projectile points differ from comparable Clovis tools at their base, which reflects the way they were shaped and attached to a wooden shaft.

Previous examples found at dig sites in the western US and which have been reliably dated would suggest the technology is more recent than the Clovis tradition.

But Jenkins' group has been able to show the Paisley artefacts were being used contemporaneously to, and perhaps even before, the other cultural tradition.

To do this, the scientists employed state-of-the art radiocarbon dating techniques on human coprolites - desiccated excrement - found in the same layers of the cave's sediments.

"These coprolite samples were all taken under very controlled conditions," explained Eske Willerslev, from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

"When they were discovered in the sediments, people with full body suits, face masks and gloves took the coprolites out and put them into a sterile container."

The samples were sent to independent labs to establish their status - their age and DNA content.

'Clovis first'
Multiple tests placed the coprolites and, by association, the oldest projectile points at 13,200 years before the present day - concurrent with our time estimates for the use Clovis technology in other parts of North America.


Dennis Jenkins holds a human coprolite dating to about 13,000 years ago
The scientists did date Paisley faeces as far back as 14,500 years ago, but no stone tools were found alongside those specimens, and so no really firm conclusions can be drawn about whether Western Stemmed points predated Clovis.

"We've got people in the cave at [14,500 years ago]; we have them showing up again right down through 13,000 years [ago], and there's no evidence of Clovis or precursor to Clovis. Therefore, the most likely answer is that it's Western Stemmed - but we have not proven that," cautioned Prof Jenkins.

For decades, it was assumed that the people associated with Clovis technology were the first human inhabitants of the New World - that they were the ancestors of all the indigenous cultures of North and South America.

It was argued that they crossed from Siberia into Alaska via a land bridge which became exposed when sea levels dropped about 13,500 years.

But this narrative has lost its currency in recent years as more and more evidence has emerged of earlier occupations - some of them confirmed to 15,000-16,000 years ago.

The new Paisley finds further undermine the simplistic "Clovis first" model.

Genetic studies
No-one really knows if the humans using Western Stemmed weaponry represented a completely separate immigrant population to those using Clovis technology, but clearly the traditions of the two groups are different - and it is impossible now for anyone to argue that Clovis is some sort of precursor to Western Stemmed.

What seems to be emerging is a much more nuanced story of how modern humans came to settle in the Americas.

Genetic research published by the journal Nature this week would indicate that the peopling of the Americas from Asia/Siberia occurred in at least three major streams - that modern Native American populations cannot trace their ancestry to a single immigration.

The Jenkins study in Science has something to add to this analysis through the DNA pulled out of the coprolites, although the location in human cells from where that material is derived limits its scope, concedes Prof Willerslev.

"The haplogroups, or the DNA types, are similar to what you find among certain Asian groups, also among [modern] Native American groups. So, in terms of the mother line, this definitely suggests that [the Paisley Cave] people are Asians in origin and possibly - it's not 100% certain - could be ancestral to Native Americans."
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 27-11-2012 22:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

Popped across to Above Top Secret, tonight. Always nice to get a slightly different perspective.

There was a new thread: The Giants Of Ancient America: “8' Tall With Double Rows Of Teeth”, with a link to a You Tube vid of a lecture given by stone mason and keen amateur archaeologist, Jim Vieira, at a recent 'TEDx' event, that's well worth a visit.

The video is the best thing I've seen, in ages!

Stone Builders, Mound Builders and the Giants of Ancient America | Jim Vieira at TEDxShelburneFalls yeay

There are slides of 'New England Root Cellars' with some of the very best dry stone corbelling I've seen since I visited and dug at neolithic chambered tombs in the Orkneys and in the Cotswolds. Extraordinary archaeological remains that barely get a mention in the official literature.

Then, just over half way through, as Vieira says, his lecture enters, 'The Twilight Zone'. Eight, nine foot, plus, giants with double rows of teeth and talk of cover ups at the Smithsonian... Wonderful stuff. Vieira's heart is definitely in the right place. There's one picture, near the end, of an apparently nine foot tall native American mummy that I've never seen before. Most Fortean thing you'll watch tonight.

I would love to see Vieira give a talk at the next UnCon! Smile
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PostPosted: 27-11-2012 22:33    Post subject: Reply with quote

Multiple posts, what happened?
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 27-11-2012 22:41    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mythopoeika wrote:
Multiple posts, what happened?

All fixed. There was an unrecognised character (a single quotation mark) and I got 'unrecognised word match' warnings. When I refreshed the thread, I couldn't see the multiple posts.

Another, longer, video of one of Vieira's lectures:

Mysterious Stone Chambers of New England- Jim Vieira

Haven't watched all of it yet, but much more about the amazing and earth mounds and stone chambers of North Eastern America.
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PostPosted: 27-11-2012 23:27    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pietro_Mercurios wrote:
The video is the best thing I've seen, in ages!

Stone Builders, Mound Builders and the Giants of Ancient America | Jim Vieira at TEDxShelburneFalls yeay

There are slides of 'New England Root Cellars' with some of the very best dry stone corbelling I've seen since I visited and dug at neolithic chambered tombs in the Orkneys and in the Cotswolds. Extraordinary archaeological remains that barely get a mention in the official literature.

Then, just over half way through, as Vieira says, his lecture enters, 'The Twilight Zone'. Eight, nine foot, plus, giants with double rows of teeth and talk of cover ups at the Smithsonian... Wonderful stuff. Vieira's heart is definitely in the right place. There's one picture, near the end, of an apparently nine foot tall native American mummy that I've never seen before. Most Fortean thing you'll watch tonight.

I would love to see Vieira give a talk at the next UnCon! Smile

Interesting, although I found he tended to gabble somewhat, and the video image and sound are not well synchronised.

I got the feeling of an interesting story, but not well presented.
(Some photos of the 'double rows of teeth' would have been useful.)

The best thing in his favour are the Comments from the American religious right. Wink
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Pietro_Mercurios
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PostPosted: 27-11-2012 23:36    Post subject: Reply with quote

The stories of 'giants' (with, or without, double rows of teeth), have that tenuous quality of most Fortean phenomena, always just out of reach, or just around the next corner. As Theo Paijmans has pointed out, 19th and early twentieth century local papers in the US abound with tall tales of all sorts, giant's graves included. The enormous mounds and earth works probably share a lot in common with native American built stuff, from a lot further south. But, those 'root cellars' and 'glacial erratics', deserve some serious investigation.

There's clearly still some very weird, anomalous and under-explored archaeology out there in North Eastern America.
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PostPosted: 30-01-2013 13:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Archaic Native Americans built massive Louisiana mound in fewer than 90 days, research confirms
January 30th, 2013 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils


A group of school students visits the Washington University excavations of Mound A at Poverty Point. While doing work at the site, researchers collaborate closely with the Louisiana Office of State Parks to conduct educational and outreach efforts that enhance understanding of the rich history and archaeology of America’s Native inhabitants. Credit: Wustl
(Phys.org)—Nominated early this year for recognition on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which includes such famous cultural sites as the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu and Stonehenge, the earthen works at Poverty Point, La., have been described as one of the world's greatest feats of construction by an archaic civilization of hunters and gatherers.

Now, new research in the current issue of the journal Geoarchaeology, offers compelling evidence that one of the massive earthen mounds at Poverty Point was constructed in less than 90 days, and perhaps as quickly as 30 days—an incredible accomplishment for what was thought to be a loosely organized society consisting of small, widely scattered bands of foragers.
"What's extraordinary about these findings is that it provides some of the first evidence that early American hunter-gatherers were not as simplistic as we've tended to imagine," says study co-author T.R. Kidder, PhD, professor and chair of anthropology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

"Our findings go against what has long been considered the academic consensus on hunter-gather societies—that they lack the political organization necessary to bring together so many people to complete a labor-intensive project in such a short period."

Co-authored by Anthony Ortmann, PhD, assistant professor of geosciences at Murray State University in Kentucky, the study offers a detailed analysis of how the massive mound was constructed some 3,200 years ago along a Mississippi River bayou in northeastern Louisiana.

Based on more than a decade of excavations, core samplings and sophisticated sedimentary analysis, the study's key assertion is that Mound A at Poverty Point had to have been built in a very short period because an exhaustive examination reveals no signs of rainfall or erosion during its construction.


"We're talking about an area of northern Louisiana that now tends to receive a great deal of rainfall," Kidder says. "Even in a very dry year, it would seem very unlikely that this location could go more than 90 days without experiencing some significant level of rainfall. Yet, the soil in these mounds shows no sign of erosion taking place during the construction period. There is no evidence from the region of an epic drought at this time, either."

Part of a much larger complex of earthen works at Poverty Point, Mound A is believed to be the final and crowning addition to the sprawling 700-acre site, which includes five smaller mounds and a series of six concentric C-shaped embankments that rise in parallel formation surrounding a small flat plaza along the river. At the time of construction, Poverty Point was the largest earthworks in North America.

Kidder analyzes the varied colors and layers of the soils of Mound A, which are a result of the building process. Indians carried basket-loads of dirt weighing roughly 55 pounds and piled them up carefully to form the mound.
Built on the western edge of the complex, Mound A covers about 538,000 square feet [roughly 50,000 square meters] at its base and rises 72 feet above the river. Its construction required an estimated 238,500 cubic meters—about eight million bushel baskets—of soil to be brought in from various locations near the site. Kidder figures it would take a modern, 10-wheel dump truck about 31,217 loads to move that much dirt today.

"The Poverty Point mounds were built by people who had no access to domesticated draft animals, no wheelbarrows, no sophisticated tools for moving earth," Kidder explains. "It's likely that these mounds were built using a simple 'bucket brigade' system, with thousands of people passing soil along from one to another using some form of crude container, such as a woven basket, a hide sack or a wooden platter."

To complete such a task within 90 days, the study estimates it would require the full attention of some 3,000 laborers. Assuming that each worker may have been accompanied by at least two other family members, say a wife and a child, the community gathered for the build must have included as many as 9,000 people, the study suggests.

"Given that a band of 25-30 people is considered quite large for most hunter-gatherer communities, it's truly amazing that this ancient society could bring together a group of nearly 10,000 people, find some way to feed them and get this mound built in a matter of months," Kidder says.

Study co-authors Anthony Ortmann (standing) and T.R. Kidder (center) evaluate the Mound A excavations at Poverty Point. Katherine Adeslberger (then a Washington University graduate student, now professor at Knox College (seated left) and Rachel Bielitz (then a Washington University undergraduate student) look on. Credit: Wustl

Soil testing indicates that the mound is located on top of land that was once low-lying swamp or marsh land—evidence of ancient tree roots and swamp life still exists in undisturbed soils at the base of the mound. Tests confirm that the site was first cleared for construction by burning and quickly covered with a layer of fine silt soil. A mix of other heavier soils then were brought in and dumped in small adjacent piles, gradually building the mound layer upon layer.

As Kidder notes, previous theories about the construction of most of the world's ancient earthen mounds have suggested that they were laid down slowly over a period of hundreds of years involving small contributions of material from many different people spanning generations of a society. While this may be the case for other earthen structures at Poverty Point, the evidence from Mound A offers a sharp departure from this accretional theory.

Kidder's home base in St. Louis is just across the Mississippi River from one of America's best known ancient earthen structures, the Monk Mound at Cahokia, Ill. He notes that the Monk Mound was built many centuries later than the mounds at Poverty Point by a civilization that was much more reliant on agriculture, a far cry from the hunter-gatherer group that built Poverty Point. Even so, Mound A at Poverty Point is much larger than almost any other mound found in North America; only Monk's Mound at Cahokia is larger.

"We've come to realize that the social fabric of these socieites must have been much stronger and more complex that we might previously have given them credit. These results contradict the popular notion that pre-agricultural people were socially, politically, and economically simple and unable to organize themselves into large groups that could build elaborate architecture or engage in so-called complex social behavior," Kidder says.

"The prevailing model of hunter-gatherers living a life 'nasty, brutish and short' is contradicted and our work indicates these people were practicing a sophisticated ritual/religious life that involved building these monumental mounds."

Provided by Washington University in St. Louis

"Archaic Native Americans built massive Louisiana mound in fewer than 90 days, research confirms." January 30th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-01-archaic-native-americans-built-massive.html
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PostPosted: 23-06-2013 22:35    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Prehistoric rock art maps cosmological belief
June 19th, 2013 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

University of Tennessee professor finds prehistoric rock art connected; maps cosmological belief

This art features a bird holding ceremonial maces and a ceremonial monolithic axe transforming into a human face. Credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood/Antiquity Publications Ltd.

This art features a bird holding ceremonial maces and a ceremonial monolithic axe transforming into a human face. Credit: Jan Simek, Alan Cressler, Nicholas Herrmann and Sarah Sherwood/Antiquity Publications Ltd.

It is likely some of the most widespread and oldest art in the United States. Pieces of rock art dot the Appalachian Mountains, and research by University of Tennessee, Knoxville, anthropology professor Jan Simek finds each engraving or drawing is strategically placed to reveal a cosmological puzzle.
Recently, the discoveries of prehistoric rock art have become more common. With these discoveries comes a single giant one—all these drawing and engravings map the prehistoric peoples' cosmological world.

The research led by Simek, president emeritus of the UT system and a distinguished professor of science, is published in this month's edition of the journal Antiquity. The paper is co-authored by Nick Herrmann of Mississippi State University, Alan Cressler of the U.S. Geological Survey and Sarah Sherwood of The University of the South.

The researchers proposed that rock art changed the natural landscape to reflect a three-dimensional universe central to the religion of the prehistoric Mississippian period.

"Our findings provide a window into what Native American societies were like beginning more than 6,000 years ago," said Simek. "They tell us that the prehistoric peoples in the Cumberland Plateau, a section of the Appalachian Mountains, used the rather distinctive upland environment to map their conceptual universe onto the natural world in which they lived."

Simek and his team analyzed 44 open- air art sites where the art is exposed to light and 50 cave art sites in the Cumberland Plateau using nondestructive, high-tech tools, such as a high-resolution laser scanner. Through analysis of the depictions, colors, and spatial organization, they found that the sites mimic the Southeastern native people's cosmological principles.

"The cosmological divisions of the universe were mapped onto the physical landscape using the relief of the Cumberland Plateau as a topographic canvas," said Simek.

The "upper world" included celestial bodies and weather forces personified in mythic characters that exerted influences on the human situation. Mostly open-air art sites located in high elevations touched by the sun and stars feature these images. Many of the images are drawn in the color red, which was associated with life.

The "middle world" represented the natural world. A mixture of open air and cave art sites hug the middle of the plateau and feature images of people, plants and animals of mostly secular character.

The "lower world" was characterized by darkness and danger, and was associated with death, transformation and renewal. The art sites,
predominantly found in caves, feature otherworldly characters, supernatural serpents and dogs that accompanied dead humans on the path of souls. The inclusion of creatures such as birds and fish that could cross the three layers represents the belief that the boundaries were permeable. Many of these images are depicted in the color black, which was associated with death.

"This layered universe was a stage for a variety of actors that included heroes, monsters and creatures that could cross between the levels," Simek said.

Interestingly, weapons are rarely featured in any of the art sites.
Simek said the scale of the rendering is most impressive, noting the Cumberland Plateau was a sacred setting, spanning hundreds of miles, in which individual sites were only parts of a greater conceptual whole.

More information: antiquity.ac.uk/ant/087/ant0870430.htm

Provided by University of Tennessee at Knoxville

"Prehistoric rock art maps cosmological belief." June 19th, 2013.
http://phys.org/news/2013-06-professor-prehistoric-art-cosmological-belief.html
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PostPosted: 09-07-2013 12:59    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Mexico unveils stone-age etchings
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-23238606

Ancient rock etchings, or petroglyphs, are seen in Narigua in the hills of southern Coahuila, file image

Archaeologists in Mexico have catalogued thousands of etchings carved into stones that they believe were made by hunter-gatherers 6,000 years ago.

The carvings, known as petroglyphs, mostly consist of wavy lines and concentric circles, with some images representing deer tracks.

Some 8,000 images were found at the site in Narigua in northern Mexico.

Experts say the etchings may be part of hunter-gatherer initiation rites, or representations of stars.

The National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) says it is now preparing to allow tourists into the site, some 100km (60 miles) west of the city of Monterrey.

INAH archaeologist Gerardo Rivas said there was evidence of hunter-gatherer tribes having lived in the area.

He said many of their settlements were temporary, but evidence of cooking implements and stoves still remained.

He said the petroglyphs may reveal clues as to the level of sophistication of the tribes, and the kinds of tools they were able to manufacture.
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PostPosted: 24-11-2013 12:46    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Ancient giant sloth bones suggest humans were in Americas far earlier than thought
November 20th, 2013 in Other Sciences / Archaeology & Fossils

Ancient giant sloth bones suggest humans were in Americas far earlier than thought

Panoramic view and orientation of the bones: (a) the bonebed showing the 1 m grid used to reference collected elements: (b) schematic of the bones to show their orientation. Credit: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2211

Panoramic view and orientation of the bones: (a) the bonebed showing the 1 m grid used to reference collected elements: (b) schematic of the bones to show their orientation. Credit: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2211

(Phys.org) —A team of Uruguayan researchers working at the Arroyo del Vizcaíno site near Sauce, in Uruguay has found evidence in ancient sloth bones that suggests humans were in the area as far back as 30,000 years ago. The team describes their evidence and findings in a paper they've had published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Most scientists today believe that humans populated the Americas approximately 16,000 years ago, and did so by walking across the Bering Strait, which would have been frozen over during that time period. More recent evidence has begun to suggest that humans were living in South America far earlier than that—just last month a team of excavators in Brazil discovered cave paintings and ceramics that have been dated to 30,000 years ago and now, in this new effort, the research team has found more evidence of people living in Uruguay around the same time.

In this new effort, the researchers found over a thousand bones at the Arroyo del Vizcaíno site, (from approximately 27 different animals) most of which once belonged to the now extinct giant sloth. What was most remarkable however, were the deep slash markings on some of the bones—indicative of human stone tools. Also interesting was that the bones were all from the remains of large, full grown sloths—all in a single place where they wouldn't have died in other ways such as from falling off a cliff. Taken together, it appears the sloths were killed individually, as needed, and eaten, most likely, by humans as no other known animal could have pulled off such a feat. The team also found a stone that appears to have been fashioned to serve as a scraping tool.

The researchers suggest that if humans were indeed in living in South America as far back as 30,000 years ago, they likely arrived there by floating over from Africa—the prevailing winds would have carried them directly there without the need of paddles or sails. Sloths, they suggest would have been an excellent food source once they arrived—adults would have been up to 15 feet tall and weighed approximately two to four tons, offering enough food for a group of people.

More information: Arroyo del Vizcaíno, Uruguay: a fossil-rich 30-ka-old megafaunal locality with cut-marked bones, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Published 20 November 2013, DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.2211

Abstract
Human–megafauna interaction in the Americas has great scientific and ethical interest because of its implications on Pleistocene extinction. The Arroyo del Vizcaíno site near Sauce, Uruguay has already yielded over 1000 bones belonging to at least 27 individuals, mostly of the giant sloth Lestodon. The assemblage shows some taphonomic features suggestive of human presence, such as a mortality profile dominated by prime adults and little evidence of major fluvial transport. In addition, several bones present deep, asymmetrical, microstriated, sharp and shouldered marks similar to those produced by human stone tools. A few possible lithic elements have also been collected, one of which has the shape of a scraper and micropolish consistent with usage on dry hide. However, the radiocarbon age of the site is unexpectedly old (between 27 and 30 thousand years ago), and thus may be important for understanding the timing of the peopling of America.

© 2013 Phys.org

"Ancient giant sloth bones suggest humans were in Americas far earlier than thought." November 20th, 2013. http://phys.org/news/2013-11-ancient-giant-sloth-bones-humans.html
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PeniGOffline
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PostPosted: 25-11-2013 01:04    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, by far the majority of the archeological work being done currently in t this area (I was at a conference about it in October) agree that boats factored in somewhere and that we have no freaking idea when people got here. 30,000 years is pushing it back pretty far, but this is not the first evidence of that. And that evidence is also from South America!

People are being very cautious about What It All Means, but the possibilities are dizzying.
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PeniGOffline
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PostPosted: 19-02-2014 14:11    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gene sequencing on the Anzick boy.
http://archaeologybriefs.blogspot.com/2014/02/clovis-skeleton-discovered-years-ago.html
Quote:
The remains of a one-year-old Ice Age boy who died 12,600 years ago were discovered near a rock cliff in central Montana in 1968, along with a multitude of distinctive burial artifacts, such as spear points and antler tools. The skeleton and burial artifacts were covered with powdered red ochre, a type of mineral.

An international team of researchers have now sequenced the genome of the "Clovis boy" and compared it with genetic information of modern Native Americans across the Americas, as well as with that of ancient Europeans, Asians and Greenlanders. Their results show that approximately 80 percent of today's Native Americans are direct descendants of the boy's contemporaries - particularly the indigenous people who today live in Mexico and South America. The remaining 20 percent are found among some of Canada's First Nations, who - while not direct descendents - are still more closely related to Clovis than any genetic group from any other continent.

The Clovis boy also shares about a third of his genome with another ancient youth, a 24,000-year-old Siberian child known as the Mal'ta boy, whose remains were also recently analyzed. "The genetic findings mesh well with the archaeological evidence to confirm the Asian homeland of the First Americans... and is consistent with occupation of the Americas a few thousand years before Clovis," said Dr Michael Waters, Director of the Center for the Study of First Americans at Texas A&M University, and lead archaeologist on the team.

The similarities and differences among these native groups suggest a genetic "split" took place within the boy's lineage thousands of years before his time. From one branch came the ancestors of some Canadian First Nations, while the other branch led to the Clovis boy and his family, and their descendants who make up the majority of Native Americans today.


Source: Western Digs, Bio News Texas (12 February 2014)
http://tinyurl.com/mpdg53o
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tonyblair11Offline
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PostPosted: 21-02-2014 04:02    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool news. I thought it was illegal to collect native american dna. Any ideas on how they went about collecting the data?
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