You are not logged in.
U.S. Projectile Point Identification Guide
Binghamton University Public Archaeology Facility
Last edited by NanticokePiney (Jan-14-2009 07:15:pm)
Jim Fisher's cool site. He makes neat atlatls.
The Topper Site- One of the oldest Amerindian sites on the East Coast
The Topper Site- One of the oldest Amerindian sites on the East Coast
Sorry, I don't have a source citation for the following. It was sent to me this way.
Why 50,000 bp is a "Crazy Date" for Topper
Saturday February 14, 2009
Later this year, the first peer-reviewed report on the geostratigraphy of the Topper site in South Carolina will be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. I got to look at the paper, and it allows a solid look at the site stratigraphy, and raises a bunch of questions.
The Topper site is a stratified deeply buried site on the Savannah River about fifty miles in from the Atlantic coast in South Carolina. Excavated for the past 20 years by Al Goodyear and the Allendale Paleoindian Expedition, Topper has confirmed archaic and paleoindian occupations, including a well-preserved Clovis. That in itself makes Topper remarkable—there are very few stratified Clovis sites in North America.
But, below the Clovis site are two additional strata, one dated (now firmly) 15,000 RCYBP, and a second (now firmly) at >50,000 RCYBP. Both layers have similar lithic tools, what excavator Al Goodyear calls a smashed core and microlithic industry.
I have said before here that 50,000 years is a "completely crazy" date for human occupation of the Americas. Recently I was called to task for it, because "completely crazy" isn't what you might call a professional way to characterize scientific archaeological research, which is what the Allendale Paleoindian Expedition is, absolutely. I must agree, my tone was wrong—but I stand by my basic meaning. If Topper turns out to be 50,000 years old, then everything we understand about the world and its population will have to be re-addressed. Let me explain.
Why 50,000 Years in North America is Unlikely
The major question posed by a human occupation in North America 50,000 years ago is—who made it?
Fifty thousand years ago there were two hominins who shared the planet— early modern humans and Neanderthals (and maybe Flores man, but that's a side issue). So far, there is no—and I mean absolutely no—evidence of Neanderthals in the Americas. So, what do we know of Homo sapiens 50,000 years ago?
Early modern humans evolved in Africa, or so the theory goes. The earliest Homo sapiens appearing in Europe mark the Upper Paleolithic, about 40,000 years ago.
The earliest humans appear in Australia about 45,000 years ago. Some of the oldest sites in Australia are closer to 60,000 years ago, and it is possible that that threshold will be pushed back--but there is currently no evidence of any Homo sapiens east of Australia until much later. In fact, the oldest site known in Siberia is the Yana Rhinoceros Horn Site, some 27,000 years ago. This makes 50,000 years of human occupation in America very unlikely.
I'm not the only one who says this. In 2004, when the first news of 50,000 dates at Topper broke, CNN talked to archaeologist Theodore Schurr at University of Pennsylvania, who said "[Topper] poses some real problems trying to explain how you have people (arriving) in Central Asia almost at the same time as people in the Eastern United States. You almost have to hope for instantaneous expansion... We're talking about a very rapid movement of people around the globe."
Waters et al., the authors of the Topper paper appearing in the JAS later this year, also have their doubts about the preclovis occupations, but not on the basis of the dates, which they prove pretty substantially are correct—they don't think either of the stone tool assemblages from the preclovis levels were made by humans, but rather may have been created by freeze-thaw processes.
Topper clearly has a fabulous Clovis site; and it also may have a preclovis site, dated about 15,000 years ago. Excavations are still ongoing, and there certainly may be more to report and eventually I and the other skeptics may be proved wrong about the +50,000 year occupation. That would definitely be exciting, and lead to a complete cockup of what we understand today about the human population of the world.
But, hey. That's why people keep doing archaeology, because we just don't know everything there is to know.
Sources and More Info
The Topper Site, glossary entry based on Waters et al.
Scientist: Man in Americas earlier than thought (CNN, November 18, 2004)
Waters, Michael R., Steven L. Forman, Thomas W. Stafford Jr., and John Foss in press Geoarchaeological Investigations at the Topper and Big Pine Sites, Allendale County, Central Savannah River, South Carolina. Journal of Archaeological Science. In press.
The Allendale Paleoamerican Expedition, the Topper site homepage
I just read that on the Archaelogica site.
I don't go for the 50,000 yrs BP either, but 30,000 yrs. BP is not impossible.
Ed Lenik's new book is now available.
Making Pictures in Stone: American Indian Rock Art
by Lenik, Edward J.
The Indians of northeastern North America are known to us primarily through reports and descriptions written by European explorers, clergy, and settlers, and through archaeological evidence. An additional invaluable source of information is the interpretation of rock art images and their relationship to native peoples for recording practical matters or information, as expressions of their legends and spiritual traditions, or as simple doodling or graffiti. The images in this book connect us directly to the Indian peoples of the Northeast, mainly Algonkian tribes inhabiting eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland and the lower Potomac River Valley, New York, New Jersey, the six New England States, and Atlantic Canada.Lenik provides a full range of rock art appearances in the study area, including some dendroglyphs, pictographs, and a selection of portable rock objects. By providing a full analysis and synthesis of the data, including the types and distribution of the glyphs, and interpretations of their meaning to the native peoples, Lenik reveals a wealth of new information on the culture and lifeways of the Indians of the Northeast.
University of Alabama Press (2009)
The Georgia Indian Pottery Site
The Central Ohio Valley Archaeological Society- COVAS
North Central Chapter 8 Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology
Excellent site, very informative and it has a good set of slide shows for the classroom.
Another very good projectile point identification guide with cool color pictures.
Ed Lenik's fourth book on rock art of the Northeast, Amulets, Effigies, Fetishes, and Charms: Native American Artifacts and Spirit Stones from the Northeast 2nd ed. Edition, is now out:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0817319239/re … F8&me=
Decorated stone artifacts are a significant part of archaeological studies of Native Americans in the Northeast. The artifacts illuminated in Amulets, Effigies, Fetishes, and Charms: Native American Artifacts and Spirit Stones from the Northeast include pecked, sculpted, or incised figures, images, or symbols. These are rendered on pebbles, plaques, pendants, axes, pestles, and atlatl weights, andare of varying sizes, shapes, and designs. Lenik draws from Indian myths and legends and incorporates data from ethnohistoric and archaeological sources together with local environmental settings in an attempt to interpret the iconography of these fascinating relics. For the Algonquian and Iroquois peoples, they reflect identity, status, and social relationships with other Indians as well as beings in the spirit world.
Lenik begins with background on the Indian cultures of the Northeast and includes a discussion of the dating system developed by anthropologists to describe prehistory. The heart of the content comprises more than eighty examples of portable rock art, grouped by recurring design motifs. This organization allows for in-depth analysis of each motif. The motifs examined range from people, animals, fish, and insects to geometric and abstract designs. Information for each object is presented in succinct prose, with a description, illustration, possible interpretation, the story of its discovery, and the location where it is now housed. Lenik also offers insight into the culture and lifestyle of the Native American groups represented. An appendix listing places to see and learn more about the artifacts and a glossary are included.
The material in this book, used in conjunction with Lenik’s previous research, offers a reference for virtually every known example of northeastern rock art. Archaeologists, students, and connoisseurs of Indian artistic expression will find this an invaluable work.