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Lecture

GEOG 2RC3 Lecture Notes - Ecumene, Louis Agassiz, James Hutton


Department
Geography
Course Code
GEOG 2RC3
Professor
Walter Peace

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Land, People, Regions, Identity The Peopling of the Americas
Is that a Fact?
-fact: thing certainly known to have occurred; what is true or existent
-true: in accordance with fact or reality, not false of erroneous
-reality: the property of being real
-real: actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact
The Peopling of the Americas
-migration major theme in human history, beginning 1.5 to 2 million years ago
-movement out of Africa into Europe, Middle East
-Australia reached 50,000 years ago
-Native American oral history no story about coming from elsewhere
The Pleistocene Epoch
-began 2 million years ago
-most recent Ice Age Wisconsin began 100,000 years ago
-maximum extent reached 20,000 years ago
-global sea levels much lower during the Ice Age
-rising more than 100m by the end of the glacial period
-860,000sq km of late Pleistocene coastal plain submerged
The Conventional Wisdom
-when end of the Wisconsin Ice Age (10-12,000 years ago)
-from where Siberia; northeastern Asia
-how migration into Alaska via Beringia (“land bridge” connecting Asia to Alaska)
-subsequent dispersal via “ice-free corridor” (Mackenzie River Valley) into the interior of North America
Questions about Conventional Wisdom
-what were the origins of this conventional wisdom?
-what alternative views have emerged?
-what is the validity/credibility of these alternative views?
-what are the facts?
A Chronology of Discovery
-1650s James Ussher (bishop of the church) determined that Earth was created on October 23 4004BC
-Earth less than 5,000 years old
-late 1700s James Hutton (Father of Geology) argued Earth was much older
-unsure how much older
-1830 Charles Lyell “Principles of Geology”
-sets people on the quest to determine how old the Earth is
-1840 Louis Agassiz published a study of glaciers
-first comprehensive study
-landforms the consequence of ice
-1859 French archaeologist Jacques Boucher de Crevecoeur de Perthes offers evidence that humanity is
much older than the Bible suggests
-1859 Charles Darwin “Origin of Species”
-1863 Charles Lyell “Geological Evidence for the Antiquity of Man”
-no real estimate
-1900s prevailing belief that the human presence in North America was no more than 4-5,000 years
-1907 Hrdlicka “America has been peopled by immigration from Asia at the end of or shortly after the last ice
age”
-earliest reference to conventional wisdom
-1926 discovery of artifacts at Folsom, New Mexico
-1932 discovery of artifacts at Clovis, New Mexico
-late 1930s “Clovis First Theory”
-Clovis site determined to be older than the Folsom site
-accepted as earliest evidence of humans in the New World
-best guess 10,000 years
-1940s radiocarbon dating methods of artifacts
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-late 1960s “Clovis First Theory” accepted as conventional wisdom
The “New Truth”
-evidence contradicting the conventional wisdom:
-Monte Verde, Chile dated to be 12,500 years old (at which time Beringia was blocked by glacial ice)
-possible as old as 33,000 years
-first confirmed pre-Clovis site
-Thomas Dillehay principal investigator
-Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Pennsylvania radiocarbon dating of artifacts
-19,000 years ago
-James Adivasia principal investigator
-Pendejavo Cave, New Mexico radiocarbon dating = 19,000 years old
-earlier layer = 27,800 years old
-lowest layer = 38,000 years old
-Scotty MacNeish principal investigator
-overwhelming evidence for the presence of humans before 12,900-38,000 years
What is the Truth?
-paradigm: currently accepted ideas (conventional wisdom) which determine boundaries of
knowledge/research
-paradigm shift: as a result of anomalies and contradictions to an existing paradigm, a new paradigm is
accepted, replacing the existing one
-in the case of the first peoples in the Americas, the Clovis First paradigm is replaced by the Pre-Clovis
Presence paradigm
Possible Explanations
1) Pre-Clovis people migrated into southern parts of North America before the ice sheet developed
2) From Asia using a coastal route that is now submerged
-sea levels much lower at this time
3) From Australia/southeast Asia by boat
4) From Europe on the southern edge of ice sheet (or by boat across the north Atlantic)
Social and Economic Trends
What is Social Geography?
-geography: the study of spatial patterns and processes
-social: culture, ethnicity, demography, welfare etc
-the geography of human condition
Important Trends
-population:
-1951 14 million
-1981 24 million
-1991 27 million
-2001 30 million
-2006 31 million
-2011 34.3 million
-population more than doubles in a half century
-urban population as of 2006 80% urban
-urban: places with 1000 or more people and a density of at least 400 persons per square km
-urbanization: process of societal change whereby the proportion classed as urban increases
-over time:
-1851 13%
-1911 42%
-1931 52%
-1971 76%
-2006 80%
-doubling time 116 years
-crude birth rate 11 per 1000
-crude death rate 8 per 1000
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