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Thread: Paleo-Indian habitation in Florida

  1. #1 Paleo-Indian habitation in Florida 
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Researchers at Little Salt Spring in Florida have found many Archaic artifacts, and one single artifact dated at 12,000 years before present, which would be from the Paleo-Indian period, around the time of the Clovis culture, but further east than most Clovis evidence.

    Divers are probing the spring in an effort to find additional Paleo-Indian evidence. They have worked on a minimal budget for years; now they have a National Geographic grant.

    http://www2.tbo.com/static/photo_gal...y-salt-spring/

    http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/jul.../?news-scitech


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    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Wow!

    And to think I even lived in Venice (a few miles West of there) for over a month once and didn't know.

    What's your guess? Will they finally discover indisputable pre-Clovis relics or will everything end, yet again, around 12-13,000 bc?


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  4. #3  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Monte Verde evidence strongly suggests that Clovis culture does not represent the first wave of immigration to the Americas, and I'm hoping that the Little Salt Spring work turns up additional support for this theory. However, there is so far only one artifact - the stake used to kill a tortoise - that dates back far enough to even slightly challenge the Clovis-first theory. There's lots of work to be done. The lead archaeologist and the narrator of the slideshow is my wife's brother. He's worked there for 20 years on a shoestring, and is incredibly excited to finally have some grant money, and a full dive team able to go to the lower levels (using some special blend of nitrogen, oxygen and helium) and some recognition for the importance of the site.

    My guess? Yes they'll find some older artifacts. If they do, look out for a National Geographic special on TV.
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  5. #4  
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    What are you thinking? Will they discover indisputable pre-Clovis relics or will everything end. it was around 11-15,000 bc?

    .........................
    GAYATHRI

    Spam link deleted rather late, but better late than never.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    Are you interested, or are you just spamming a rehab center?
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    Very interesting. What evidence do they have at the current time that places humans in that area and at what time? What was generally believed to be the first human encroachment?

    Pre-Clovis culture is definitly possible, but I doubt it would be an entire generation before it really.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    If they have anything more than the tortoise and the wooden stake I think we'll have to wait until Nat Geog announces it, since they paid for the work. Watch for a TV special. I'll certainly post it here if I hear anything.

    They do have artifacts from more recent times, like some jewelry made from non-local stone that strongly suggests trade among geographically separated groups.
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  9. #8 Re: Paleo-Indian habitation in Florida 
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Divers
    Yup, if there's any civilization to be found, it's probably underwater. 12,000 years ago sea level was 60m lower. Only uncivilized brutes occupy highlands.
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  10. #9 Re: Paleo-Indian habitation in Florida 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Divers
    Yup, if there's any civilization to be found, it's probably underwater. 12,000 years ago sea level was 60m lower. Only uncivilized brutes occupy highlands.
    You'll be trying to climb over our security fence when the sea is lapping at your doorstep. Bring fish.
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  11. #10 Re: Paleo-Indian habitation in Florida 
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Divers
    Yup, if there's any civilization to be found, it's probably underwater. 12,000 years ago sea level was 60m lower. Only uncivilized brutes occupy highlands.
    You'll be trying to climb over our security fence when the sea is lapping at your doorstep. Bring fish.
    Landlubber. :P I meant tidal zone and fishing. When the sea is lapping at my gunwales I'll be paddling the unglaciated shores, as always.

    My point is marine travel including whaling with little or no stone technology is proven, and far better migratory path (faster, easier, better diet) than crossing barren icefield broader than today's arctic cap. So shoreline cultures pre-dating, contemporary with, and surviving Clovis people is likely BUT their artifacts are prone to decay and mostly lost to rising sea level besides. When you lose a seal harpoon point it's unlikely to turn up later in some dig.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    My point is marine travel including whaling with little or no stone technology is proven, and far better migratory path (faster, easier, better diet) than crossing barren icefield broader than today's arctic cap.
    But the Bering land bridge led to an ice-free passage between the coastal and inland ice sheets (according to that theory) so there was no traipsing over ice fields required. They just followed the caribou herds and found themselves in Canada. There are several variations to the theory, based on genetics and linguistics, and there may (or may not) have been three crossings at different times. Of course the marine theory is plausible too.

    Fascinating. I'm reading a book about it.
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  13. #12  
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    I reckon the Bering Bridge & Inland Corridor viable and used as well.

    People of the arctic landmasses haven't changed much (linguistically, genetically, technologically), and could never account for more than the sparsest population, so I figure they did not output significant diaspora... just a very gradual emigration, from minuscule pool, as ice retreated.

    Add to that a few squirts of land bridge herd chasers, short windows but I guess it's something.

    Contrast the relatively enormous & untroubled population forested coasts accommodate. We now have dated animal remains indicating the Pacific Northwest coast supported the same fauna it does today even at the height of last ice age. We will probably find this equally true along the entire North Pacific rim, thanks to the warm Kuroshio current. In other words the coastal route could have been spawning persistent human migration year after year regardless of ice cover inland.

    Divergence between Mongolian and Native American genes (the Bering Bridge migration) now appears to be about 20,000 years ago. But I think there have been some exchanges since then, and maybe before. Open & shut window events seem contrived, and (anybody correct me?) the 20,000 year date does not imply a single founder group.
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  14. #13  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    We will probably find this equally true along the entire North Pacific rim, thanks to the warm Kuroshio current.
    No evidence yet, though, that the northern rim was a forested coast with abundant fauna, or is there? This is perhaps just speculation.
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  15. #14  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    We will probably find this equally true along the entire North Pacific rim, thanks to the warm Kuroshio current.
    No evidence yet, though, that the northern rim was a forested coast with abundant fauna, or is there? This is perhaps just speculation.
    Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) remained unglaciated. We have soil samples proving it, as well as dated bones of black bear, deer, etc. showing that the land supported large mammals. This can be explained by the warming current that speeds north from hot seas south of Taiwan, past Japan and then east along the North Pacific. Presently, that warm current kinda spends itself around Haida Gwaii, where it looses its "steam" so to speak, resulting in extremely mild winter along the coasts especially shoreline, where the ocean is relatively warm.

    At the very least I think the Kuroshio sponsored rich intertidal and offshore life throughout the ice ages, which is plenty to feed a human population. As the Alaskan Tlingit say, ""When the tide goes out the table is set." Another less charitable saying, outsiders may have difficulty appreciating: "You have to be an idiot to starve."
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  16. #15  
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    Both the ice-free land passage theory and the coastal theory refer only to the last leg of a long journey. Both begin in Siberia and have people crossing Beringia on foot. Itís only when they have already crossed Beringia and arrived in Alaska that the theories diverge, with one theory saying the people took to the water and the other saying they continued walking. I donít think any theory has them doing the whole trip by boat.

    Iím looking at a globe and thinking that if a the entire trip were done by boat the coastal route would presumably have to have followed the Aleutian islands Ė what do you think? These are now treeless and barren. The idea of a lush coastal forest teeming with game seems a bit dubious to me.
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  17. #16  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Both the ice-free land passage theory and the coastal theory refer only to the last leg of a long journey. Both begin in Siberia and have people crossing Beringia on foot. Itís only when they have already crossed Beringia and arrived in Alaska that the theories diverge, with one theory saying the people took to the water and the other saying they continued walking. I donít think any theory has them doing the whole trip by boat.

    Iím looking at a globe and thinking that if a the entire trip were done by boat the coastal route would presumably have to have followed the Aleutian islands Ė what do you think? These are now treeless and barren. The idea of a lush coastal forest teeming with game seems a bit dubious to me.
    A path from Beringia to the south Alaskan coast is possible. This is hard hiking though and requires a sudden adaptation from big game hunting to intertidal harvesting.

    If sea levels revealed the Beringia plain, then they also transformed the Aleutian chain into nearly continuous isthmus also connecting Asia to the Americas. Note the chain is significantly south of Beringia and presumably warmer at (then) sea level, which is a year-round warming. I wouldn't say the higher elevations were ice free though. Just a few meters unfrozen above high tide is more than enough.

    I put a lot of weight to the relative ease, speed, and security of marine travel and sustenance during ice ages. I think that one should see the rocky shore of this region, revealed at low tide in winter, to appreciate it: It's literally covered in food. Beyond low tide the chain is a coral reef ecology. If you can fish, you just can't go wrong.

    Bering's shipwrecked crew returned to Asia from the Aleutians by raft going against prevailing currents. Meanwhile the Aleuts employed large boats of stretched whale skin when they wanted to move a family. One nice feature of the Aleutians is towering peaks visible from far at sea, or between islands. I've glimpsed those volcanoes from a distance and they're scary! One can also take a cue from birds, which are always heading someplace. Though we do know people were building longboats suited to long voyages (at least in their petrographic imagination) 20,000 years ago, I imagine all crossings spanning many generations. That goes for the land routes as well. Easy does it.

    Now, looking at the Aleut culture as documented by early explorers. They lived primarily off the sea, with practically no stone industry. Sallying offshore to hunt fish, seals, walrus etc. was men's work. However women had it fat too - the docile Stellers Sea Cow was not yet extinct and by accounts the women harvested these giant kelp-munchers out of shallow waters. A very sedentary person (i.e. pregnant, elderly) could less ambitiously pick eggs from the huge colonies of marine birds, or wait for the tide and gather mollusks, crustaceans, seaweed. I think we need to question the assumption primitive humans must survive off the "land" and travel by land. See Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge for taste of the relative abundance. North Pacific Rim marine cultures like the Aleut could easily adapt throughout the range. For example if one transported some Nootka whalers to Kamchatka they would probably pick up quite well.

    Maritime populations tend to get destroyed by land-based cultures. Nomadic hunter-gatherers (and lately farmers) expand right up to the water's edge. Incompatible culture ensures hostility between the groups. We've seen this old story many times. Sometimes the maritime people retreat to isolated refuge from which to raid the hostile coasts. Mostly they just disperse or die out. On the other hand, if they reach an uninhabited shore first, some naturally shift inland and become the very dreaded mainland people after thousands of years.

    All that does not exclude herd-chasing migrations. I just think that fossil dates out of sync with land-bridge openings (e.g. earliest find in Chile) suggest other migrations, which must have been maritime. I can even see maritime settlers expanding inland and spreading north to meet the folks coming south through a Beringia corridor. They would have been very different people, genetically and linguistically, competing for the same game. I wonder how that played out?
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  18. #17  
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    Good argument. I believe the pre-Columbian Indians were surprisingly genetically homogeneous, which was one reason they were decimated by European diseases.
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