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Lecture 16

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Anthropology 1032
Trevor Orchard

Early Holocene Hunter-Gatherers I November 7 , 2013 Pleistocene – Ice Ages  Pleistocene – 2,000,000 to 12,000 ya ◦ Several Ice Ages in the Pleistocene  Most recent Ice Age: ◦ Weichsel glaciation (Wisconsin in North America) – ca. 115,000 - 12,000 ya ◦ alternating periods of extreme cold (glaciers advance) and warming (glaciers melt) ◦ most recent advance – 20,000 - 12,000 ya A Sense of Scale?  During Ice Age, much water remains on land, in form of ice, and is removed from the oceans  Ice thickness in southern Ontario around 20,000 years ago ◦ 2000 meters  CN Tower: ◦ 553 meters Impacts of Glacial Conditions  Glaciers push out and kills off plants, animals, fish which lived in the area ◦ Change the conditions for human adaptation  Ocean level drops, exposing ocean bed as dry land ◦ land bridges form between continents (Sunda, Sahul, Beringia)  Major influence on human populations ◦ Where did the native peoples of the Americas come from?  First Nations Perspectives ◦ Have occupied the land since mythological times (“time immemorial”)  Archaeology / Biological Anthropology ◦ Most evidence points to an origin in northeastern Asia  Possibly a common ancestor with the modern Ainu and Kitchak peoples of Japan and Siberia ◦ moved from NE Asia into Alaska via Bering Strait(?) Route of Access to North America?  Bering Strait: exposed land from 25,000 to 12,000 ya ◦ land connection between Asia and North America  Beringia ◦ ~ 1000 km north to south ◦ low and flat, for the most part, and covered with bogs and shallow lakes ◦ noaagov.gif Humans in Beringia  probably crossed Beringia in small groups, slowly following food sources ◦ Lived for many generations in Beringia ◦ Probably moved back and forth between Asia and North America, following herds of caribou or horse ◦ Wintered in sheltered areas or in boreal forests of the mainlands Moving South  There are only so many ways into North America. ◦ Ice Free Corridor / Clovis First ◦ Coastal Migration  Others have suggested non-Beringia routes: ◦ Atlantic Crossing  Can be examined through: archaeological, environmental, biological, and linguistic data The Ice-Free Corridor / Clovis First Hypothesis  End of Pleistocene – Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets separated along the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains ◦ “Ice-Free Corridor” from Alaska to Montana  Clovis Paleo-Indians – First Occupants of North America ◦ Moved south into North America through this corridor Clovis Tradition  Named for the Clovis Site, New Mexico  Identified by Clovis points ◦ Large (7 - 15 cm long) point, with comparatively short flutes extending 1/4 to 1/2 the length of the tool. Mostly worked by percussion flaking.  Associated with remains of mammoth Example: The Colby Mammoth Site  Four Clovis points  Bones of at least seven Columbian mammoths  Three radiocarbon dates on mammoth bones: two within Clovis range (11,000 - 10,000 BP) + one far too recent. Changing Perspectives on Clovis  Most archaeologists now feel that fluted points were invented in the southern Plains ◦ Appear and end at about the same time across North America ◦ No real evidence of a gradual development  There are no known fluted points, let alone fluted point traditions, in Asia.  Fluted points are uncommon in the North ◦ Quite late compared with those of the Plains. Pre-Clovis Sites  A number of purported pre-Clovis sites are known ◦ such sites challenge the Clovis First hypothesis.  Most of these sites turned out to be rife with problems, and have not been widely accepted. Meadowcroft Rockshelter  Pennsylvania.  Excavated by James Adovasio  Radiocarbon dates of 13,230 BP and perhaps as old as 19,000 BP.  over 2,000 stone flakes and tools, 150 fire pits and 1 million animal remains.  Coal in the area  contaminated the radiocarbon samples?  Most archaeologists believe the date to be closer to 12,000 -12,500 BP and related to Clovis.  But, good possibilities of at least a small pre-Clovis occupation. Pedra Furada  Brazil.  Dated to 50,000 BP.  Thousands of flaked stone tools.  Bottom of exfoliating cliff face.  Skeptics argue flakes are “ecofacts” not artifacts.  Not widely accepted. Monte Verde  Southern Chile.  Excavated by Tom Dillehay  Numerous radiocarbon dates as old as 14,000 BP and many around 12,000-12,500 BP.  Visi
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