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Thread: Pre-Columbian American - European contacts.

  1. #101  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Without being able to read the paper itself, it's really not possible to weigh all that stuff up. I suppose I have no urge (or whatever) to think that the same kind of technology has to be physically transferred from Europe to the Americas so I have no drive to show them up as wrong.

    After all, the first printing press in Europe was devised and manufactured with no knowledge at all of equivalent technology having been invented by the Chinese hundreds of years earlier. Considering the number of times peoples around the world have come up with much the same solution to technical problems without ever knowing that others existed, it doesn't challenge the imagination in any way.
    Shared technology isn't the only issue, but while we're on it, what's more interesting is the emergence of agriculture both in the Old World and the New World around the same time frame.

    It's interesting because the overwhelming majority of the history of anatomically modern humans has no agriculture in it. It's a recent development from that perspective, even though it happened somewhere in the range of 10,000+ years ago.

    In the Old World, agriculture started somewhere around 12,000 years ago, in the West, and then gradually moved East. Wiki can give a general description for that.

    Neolithic Revolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    However, evidence has also been found for agriculture in Mexico around 9000 years before present.

    Starch grain and phytolith evidence for early ninth millennium B.P. maize from the Central Balsas River Valley, Mexico

    However, evidence for agriculture in East Asia only goes back to about 8,000 years before present.

    Neolithic Revolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    -Which would indicate that Mexico had agriculture before China. Meaning the people in the New World didn't learn agriculture from contact with Asian people.

    So.... is it just a coincidence that agriculture is being separately and independently discovered in both sides of the world in the same time frame (out a gigantic history span of not having it??)
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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  2. #102  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    So.... is it just a coincidence that agriculture is being separately and independently discovered in both sides of the world in the same time frame (out a gigantic history span of not having it??)
    I certainly wish that I, or anyone else, had the answer to that question.

    My guess so far, is that the agricultures of the old world and the new developed separately due to the crops being different.

    Alternately, i would put back the birth of agriculture to a time when sea levels were lower, and the location in river deltas. And, then, the climate changed, the fields were inundated by the rising seas, the population crashed, and people stopped farming-------------but remembered in ancient stories that agriculture had been done by their ancestors.
    And, when the climate changed again, and their populations began to approach the carrying capacity of the land for hunting and gathering, they remembered and began to begin agriculture anew.

    alternately:
    Long ago, I read a treatise wherein it was postulated that:
    The birth of agriculture was an accident.
    roughly: Hunter gatherers wandered about picking edible foods (including fruits and grains) and carrying them back to their temporary camps within an annual migration circuit. returning to the camp over the following years, someone noticed that the stuff that they had previously traveled to gather was growing in and around that campsite.
    hmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    Someone may have thought that this was "the hand of god" and began to preach.
    Someone else, most likely noticed that the new-found local handy bounty seemed to be growing where they had thrown out excess old plant based foodstuffs(ye old trash dump).
    Most likely(as/per this scenario): After some discussions and deliberations, an experiment was proposed and acted on.
    to wit: Intentionally dump specific foodstuffs at specific locations. (They just channeled the inner scientist which resides in many of us if not within us all)
    Upon their return, a speculation had turned into an experiment into a mastery of the productivity of their biom.(go science!)

    alternately:
    People have always traveled, traded, and talked.
    And it was the sharing of knowledge over most of the earth which led to the seeming independent agricultural developments.

    But then again,
    these are just postulation, speculation, and a potential path
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    Woulda, coulda, shoulda is all very well.

    The big issue is genetics. The very latest genetic research tells us that Europeans are probably not involved at all.
    .
    Do you include the Windover Lake bog people in this? As the lead investigator put it "they left no living descendants".
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    We have no way of knowing the timing of the deposition of the artifacts, nor the bones of the girl child.
    These events may have been separated by hundreds or thousands of years.
    Actually, the Anzick child was dated somewhat after the putative caching of the Clovis-style toolkit. Clovis itself, via a reexamination of the several sites known at the time, was redated to a narrow time range of about 13100 to 12900 ybp. This would leave some wriggle room for the cache and burial to be done at the same time.
    The website Anzick Clovis Site (Montana, USA) notes: The human remains were dated by AMS radiocarbon dating to 10,800 RCYBP, calibrated to 12,894 calendar years ago
    The website First American Settlers Not Who We Thought | LiveScience notes: The new results reveal that Clovis spear points [image] and other tool technologies appeared in the New World 13,100 years ago and trailed off about 12,900 years ago.
    This article was post on livescience February 22, 2007.
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    To the best of my knowledge, the oldest clovis points were found in texas dated to 11.6kybp.


    Perhaps the clovis or pre clovis people survived in refugia along the gulf coast of north america?
    If so, the best place to look for the next step back in time should be the continental shelf if the gulf of mexico?
    Last edited by sculptor; April 24th, 2014 at 07:52 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    3. Anzick, Montana: The Anzick site in Montana is reported to be a Clovis burial and cache. At
    Anzick, 12 radiocarbon dates were obtained from the cranial elements of a purported Clovis
    infant skeleton and 2 dates on associated bone foreshafts. Collagen extracted from the foreshafts
    yielded an average age of 11,040 + 35 14C yr B.P. (S7). The human skeletal remains were dated
    during three separate research programs. The first batch of seven dates on bone comprise five
    chemical fractions that were considered reliable and averaged to 10,680 + 50 14C yr B.P. (S2).
    Later, a single purified collagen sample yielded a date of 11,550 + 60 14C yr B.P. (CAMS-
    35912). This measurement is rejected because subsequent dating of the same XAD fraction and
    preceding fractions from newly sampled bone did not replicate the 11,550 14C yr B.P. result.
    The source of the contaminating 14C-depleted carbon is unknown. A more recent series of dates
    from a single cranial fragment provided four new radiocarbon ages. These fractions confirm
    previous date estimates for the skeleton of 10,705 + 35 14C yr B.P. The 14C dates on the skeleton
    versus the dates on the bone foreshafts suggest that the skeletal remains and Clovis artifacts may
    not be related and that the foreshaft ages more accurately date the site. The 10,700 year old
    human remains could post-date the Clovis cache, but additional research is needed to resolve this
    issue. A more recent, late Paleoindian or early Archaic human skeleton was also found at the
    site (S7).
    The datings you quote above seem (14C) to be carbon 14 dates. Yet you refer to the "The 10,700 year old
    human remains" without reiterating that this is a 14C date. As you know, Carbon 14 dates have to be adjusted to give real ybp's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    To the best of my knowledge, the oldest clovis points were found in texas dated to 11.6kybp.
    11.6kybp was the abrupt climate change at end younger dryas.
    Is this a C14 date or an adjusted date?
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    The big killers back in those times for native populations meeting up with pathogens from Europeans were smallpox and measles. The way the American populations succumbed to these diseases is almost a carbon copy of the way the Australian populations did. Which suggests that they were first (catastrophic) exposures.
    The natives on the northeast Asian side of the Bering Strait were similarly decimated by epidemics when the Russians began to enter that part of Siberia in (I believe) the 18th century.
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    from me, kybp = thousands of years before present, present being 1950

    my "The 10,700 year old human remains"
    was a clumsy conversational approximation
    oops
    sorry
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    from me, kybp = thousands of years before present, present being 1950
    Then your 11.6kybp date for "the oldest clovis" is about 1500 years too young.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    is it just a coincidence that agriculture is being separately and independently discovered in both sides of the world in the same time frame (out a gigantic history span of not having it??)
    My hunch is that (worldwide) agriculture was somehow related to two other global events of the time: the extinction of megafauna, and the Earth's warming.
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  12. #112  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post

    So.... is it just a coincidence that agriculture is being separately and independently discovered in both sides of the world in the same time frame (out a gigantic history span of not having it??)
    I certainly wish that I, or anyone else, had the answer to that question.

    My guess so far, is that the agricultures of the old world and the new developed separately due to the crops being different.

    Alternately, i would put back the birth of agriculture to a time when sea levels were lower, and the location in river deltas. And, then, the climate changed, the fields were inundated by the rising seas, the population crashed, and people stopped farming-------------but remembered in ancient stories that agriculture had been done by their ancestors.
    And, when the climate changed again, and their populations began to approach the carrying capacity of the land for hunting and gathering, they remembered and began to begin agriculture anew.
    It would make sense if the denser populations lived by the sea. In the ice age, the upper altitudes would be cold to the point where hardly anyone wanted to live there. Then the waters rise, and suddenly all this population starts competing for the same upper altitude space, and crowds out the hunters who live there.



    alternately:
    Long ago, I read a treatise wherein it was postulated that:
    The birth of agriculture was an accident.
    roughly: Hunter gatherers wandered about picking edible foods (including fruits and grains) and carrying them back to their temporary camps within an annual migration circuit. returning to the camp over the following years, someone noticed that the stuff that they had previously traveled to gather was growing in and around that campsite.
    hmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    Someone may have thought that this was "the hand of god" and began to preach.
    Someone else, most likely noticed that the new-found local handy bounty seemed to be growing where they had thrown out excess old plant based foodstuffs(ye old trash dump).
    Most likely(as/per this scenario): After some discussions and deliberations, an experiment was proposed and acted on.
    to wit: Intentionally dump specific foodstuffs at specific locations. (They just channeled the inner scientist which resides in many of us if not within us all)
    Upon their return, a speculation had turned into an experiment into a mastery of the productivity of their biom.(go science!)

    alternately:
    People have always traveled, traded, and talked.
    And it was the sharing of knowledge over most of the earth which led to the seeming independent agricultural developments.

    But then again,
    these are just postulation, speculation, and a potential path
    They're leaving out the animal husbandry stage. The hunter gets tired of having to drag the cow carcass all the way back to camp and tries capturing one alive, throws a rope around its neck. Or maybe the first few captures were in nets and they still had to carry them, but since the animal was alive, they could store it without needing to eat it right away.

    The hunters soon realize they can keep animals alive in their camp indefinitely as long as they make sure to camp near fields for the animal to graze in.

    Then the rest of what you're saying flows from that. They start to realize the same fields will grow again if they keep returning to graze their herd. Maybe sometime they try gathering up grain from a field to bring with them on a long trip so their herd doesn't get hungry. Then, during a particularly difficult season the humans end up eating some of that grain instead of feeding all of it to their livestock.
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    The birth of agriculture was an accident.
    roughly: Hunter gatherers wandered about picking edible foods (including fruits and grains) and carrying them back to their temporary camps within an annual migration circuit. returning to the camp over the following years, someone noticed that the stuff that they had previously traveled to gather was growing in and around that campsite.
    Not so sure about how accidental it was. People then were about as intelligent as we are now. I know that indigenous Australians certainly replanted root vegetables / fibre plants so that they would be there again next year when the group returned at the relevant season. I was sort of surprised, sort of pleased, when I read a report that in one particular locality there were a lot of flowering clematis planted. Apparently one particular group planted those because the flowers were visible from quite a distance - and they signalled the presence of a food that ripened at the same time as these other plants flowered. Though of course many people think this concentration of plants is natural or coincidental.

    And we tend to think about grains and vegetables as crops. Orchards / forests are just as important - if not more important in cold climates when you can gather nuts which you can eat throughout winter. Can't remember where, but I read / watched something about American settlers being really pleased with all the "natural bounty" of forests that were loaded with chestnut, hickory, walnut, beech and other edibles. Not long after the settlers displaced the indigenous people, they found the forests being taken over by thickets of undergrowth and hard to manage shrubbery.

    Those "naturally" productive forests were in fact the result of careful, prudent management over several centuries, probably thousands of years. They may not have been like a neat apple orchard or olive grove, but they were evidence of skill in food production for those with eyes to see. (Given that those same settlers harvested crops of maize that they "considered" to be natural bounty - and mightily offended the indigenous farmers who'd planted it and came back to find it levelled to the ground - they weren't seeing much. If you perceive people as primitive and incompetent, you'll attribute the results of their hard work to anything but skill and knowledge.)
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    So basically what is required is to have set hunting grounds, which other tribes know to respect, or at least know to replant if they take your food. Heck, even wolves have that to some degree or another.

    So yeah. It makes sense for gathering to become more and more advanced until it becomes agriculture. The step in that process where people reached grain agriculture specifically is the tech that marks the transition toward "civilization" then. The idea of growing all the food you'll need for a year from the same field so you stop wandering.

    So really the issue is to determine when agriculture reached the point where people settled down. Not so much a technological step as a developmental step. But I still find it odd for both old and new world to reach it at approximately the same time, when even Asia waited longer to get there despite being part of the same land mass.
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    The idea of growing all the food you'll need for a year from the same field so you stop wandering.
    The thing that really stops you wandering is having a method of keeping your accommodation and its surroundings in sanitary condition.

    We think that all those castles occupied for a few months at a time when aristocrats and monarchs moved from one household to another were extravagant signs of wealth. They were. But one reason for moving on at regular intervals was to give the privies a chance to stop smelling quite so bad from the wastes of so many people all together for weeks at a time.

    If you do it right, you can grow corn, beans and pumpkins from seed all planted into the one plot at the one time. With regular rainfall for water, and nice big pumpkin leaves to suppress weeds, why would you stay and watch the stupid things grow? We say that things are as boring as "watching grass grow". While a crop is growing, where do you get your food from? What do you do? You might as well go somewhere there are other foods available, other activities to engage you, during that growing season. I'd suggest fishing - both eating fresh and drying for storage/ transport. And there's always hunting as well as a dozen activities that wouldn't occur to any of us because we're not of the time or the place.
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    The main problem for fruit agriculture is storage. You can ferment grapes into wine, but most of the fruits have to be eaten while they're in season. If you want to eat food in season, then you're going to have to keep moving from one cultivated orchard to the next.

    Grain, on the other hand, stores for longer periods of time. You can live in one place, store the excess from a single yearly harvest, and be able to eat it all year round. You can also give it to people outside your village in exchange for things, which makes you into a mercantile force. The fact you have it year round means the other tribes may rely on you to get them through a famine if they bring you something worthy of trading for. That creates a bigger support group (if perhaps a more impersonal group.)

    Bigger group size equates to better military strength. So the first grain agriculturalists would have been able to go around conquering if they wished to.
    Last edited by kojax; April 24th, 2014 at 02:05 PM.
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  17. #117  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    ...
    So yeah. It makes sense for gathering to become more and more advanced until it becomes agriculture. The step in that process where people reached grain agriculture specifically is the tech that marks the transition toward "civilization" then. ....
    Unless, Göbekli Tepe predates agriculture.

    alternately
    We push the birth of agriculture back to the period of glaciation.
    In the river deltas, which were then flooded by the rising seas.

    If nothing else, Göbekli Tepe has either trashed the agricultural revolution of V. Gordon Childe, or trashed his assumed dates.
    If memory serves, he thought that agriculture would predate monumental architecture by thousands of years.
    If that theory is correct, and the dates for Göbekli Tepe are accurate(-9000bce = 11000 years before present), then we have agriculture at least 11-12000 bce or 13-14 thousand years ago.
    The holocene is thought to have begun 11700 years ago.

    Pity that Klaus Schmidt et.al. ain't found a bag of grain to go with all of those wild animal bones.
    Last edited by sculptor; April 24th, 2014 at 02:53 PM.
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    I'm reading an article in the smithonian:
    History, Travel, Arts, Science, People, Places | Smithsonian

    On page 3:
    Deploying AMS technology, Waters and Stafford also retested many known Clovis samples from around the country, some collected decades earlier. The results, Waters said, “blew me away.” Instead of a culture spanning about 700 years, the analysis shrunk the Clovis window to 13,100 to 12,800 years ago
    .

    On page 4:
    Maybe the first Americans didn’t walk here but came in small boats and followed the coastline, some researchers say. That possibility was first suggested in the 1950s with the discovery of Clovis-era human bones—but no artifacts—on Santa Rosa Island in the Santa Barbara Channel off the California coast. Over the past decade, though, a joint University of Oregon-Smithsonian team of archaeologists unearthed dozens of stemmed and barbed projectile points from Santa Rosa and other Channel Islands, along with the remains of fish, shellfish, seabirds and seals. Radiocarbon dates showed much of the organic material was about 12,000 years old, roughly within the Clovis time frame.
    (I ain't completely confused yet, but i am working on it)

    Anyone got a link to the artifacts found at the Page-Ladson site?
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    The main problem for fruit agriculture is storage. You can ferment grapes into wine, but most of the fruits have to be eaten while they're in season. If you want to eat food in season, then you're going to have to keep moving from one cultivated orchard to the next.
    1. That doesn't apply to nuts which often come with their very own, very neat storage packaging.

    2. Not all fruit has to be eaten when it's picked. The most common way for people to deal with meat, fish, fruit for lengthening the season or for really long term storage is by drying it - unless they have a handy cave for cold storage. Berries, grapes, tomatoes and figs have been treated this way since time immemorial. Anyone with blades sharp enough to dress a carcase also has the capacity to split larger fruits to dry them faster. (Remembering always that the wild forms of apples, apricots, peaches and all similar fruits are much much smaller than the hybridised and specifically bred modern orchard versions.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post

    2. Not all fruit has to be eaten when it's picked. The most common way for people to deal with meat, fish, fruit for lengthening the season or for really long term storage is by drying it - unless they have a handy cave for cold storage. Berries, grapes, tomatoes and figs have been treated this way since time immemorial. Anyone with blades sharp enough to dress a carcase also has the capacity to split larger fruits to dry them faster. (Remembering always that the wild forms of apples, apricots, peaches and all similar fruits are much much smaller than the hybridised and specifically bred modern orchard versions.)

    That's a lot of work per unit of food. First you have to gather the fruit, or hunt the animals, and then you can start drying or smoking. For smoking, you're going to need to gather a lot of firewood also. I can see doing that for the luxury value, but to do it for basic nutrition would seem very labor intensive.

    With grain it comes to you preprepared for storage. All you have to do is build a shed and keep it dry.

    Also I don't think you can grow enough fruit so support a permanent settlement using the just the acreage around it. The nutritional payout of an orchard is not very good on a per-acre basis. If you've got gadzooks of acreage, then it's a fine idea, or if you just want some luxury and/or dietary supplements. But for a staple, you're better off going with a grain or something (or potatoes.)
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    That's a lot of work per unit of food. First you have to gather the fruit, or hunt the animals, and then you can start drying or smoking. For smoking, you're going to need to gather a lot of firewood also. I can see doing that for the luxury value, but to do it for basic nutrition would seem very labor intensive.
    It's not a luxury to have a concentrated source of calories available at a time when little or no fresh food is available. Dried food is also much easier if you wish to transport it and it occupies far, far less space than the whole food does. When you already have stored foods like pumpkins and melons and root vegetables that can't be reduced in size and/or weight, reducing the size and weight wherever you possibly can is a really good plan. For people who have little control over how well any given annual crop or hunting season will turn out, having a sizable store of dried beans and peas and berries and jerky and other items is just plain sensible.

    It's wasteful to eat your fill of an abundant currently ripe food and allow the uneaten fruits/ nuts/ seeds to rot. Saving and storing the abundance for the hard times/ cold season/ travelling is the right thing to do. It's also wise to replant as much as you can so that future crops are more reliable. (Meaning that even in a poor season, more of those plants will provide more food.)

    Our modern approach to farming is highly focused on annual grasses. Traditional peoples and foraging societies focus a lot more on perennial plants, from vines through to large trees. The great advantage of that is that you're only going to suffer reduced crops from conditions during growth and ripening during any one year.

    Societies that rely on annual planting species are also vulnerable to poor conditions at planting and sprouting in addition to those of forming fruit/seed and when maturing. If your seeds are flooded or scorched and fail to sprout or fail to thrive after sprouting, you don't lose just one year's production if the result is particularly poor, you've lost the capacity to grow the crop in future years because you've lost your seed stock. If we lose most or all of our almond or cherry crop to parrots in one year, we'll have to do without almonds or cherries for one season. But that doesn't affect next year's crop - except that we've learned that we need to protect them better from the birds. If almonds and cherries grew from seed each year, we'd have to find another source of seed because all of ours is gone.

    Also I don't think you can grow enough fruit so support a permanent settlement using the just the acreage around it. The nutritional payout of an orchard is not very good on a per-acre basis.
    I take it you're unfamiliar with permaculture and "tiered" planting schemes. When you plant a large fruit or nut tree, and a vine or two to grow up and through it, and a couple of small blueberry or guava or similar sized shrubs, and some ground level fruiting plants like strawberries or rhubarb or a perennial spreading melon vine all within the space that would normally be allocated to a single tree in a conventional modern orchard, you can make that single space provide fresh and storable foods for most months of the year rather than the few weeks of any one of those crops.
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    Perhaps Adelady's right. We should correct prehistoric people from their focus on grains.


    Suppose as Kojax suggested hunters chased wounded/cowed animals toward the village, to be slaughtered only as needed. Extend the life of livestock with a water supply and grasses. Over time an agriculture meant to produce cellulose fodder could inadvertently select plants with larger, more free-able seeds, the part humans can digest.

    One test for that above hypothesis: pre-agricultural sites should include watertight hollows or troughs, quite low for animals to drink from.

    Also they should also include (fence) posts robust enough to restrain the largest animal penned, even while we're killing it by ramming spear points into its throat. Since a bull aurochs could be larger than a black rhinoceros - and just as fierce - we'd want the killing pen built like... well just look.
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    Did you read what I wrote? Traditional peoples and foraging societies focus a lot more on perennial plants. For good reasons, they didn't rely on one strategy only when more were available.

    Even in modern times, what Australians consider to be a fairly ordinary house block is much the same size as a great number of mixed farms in the rest of the world.
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    For your consideration:

    Underwater storage techniques preserved meat for early hunters:
    By re-creating a way of life that vanished from the Great Lakes thousands of years ago, a U-M paleontologist has demonstrated how PaleoIndians living in the region at the end of the last Ice Age preserved meat from large animal kills by storing it underwater.

    "Underwater caching turns out to be a simple and effective way to store meat for long periods. Fossils preserved at ancient cache sites suggest it was an important and common part of the winter-to-spring subsistence strategy of Ice Age hunters," says Daniel C. Fisher, professor of geological and biological sciences and curator of the Museum of Paleontology. Fisher presented results of his experiments at the Society for American Archaeology meeting in Minneapolis last week.

    Evidence of butchery and underwater meat caching by Ice Age hunters in North America was first discovered by Fisher in the late 1980s while he was excavating an 11,000-year-old mastodon found at the Heisler site in southern Michigan. Other examples of butchered mastodons were later discovered in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and New York.

    Mastodons roamed the North American continent for millions of years until they suddenly died out approximately 10,000 years ago--soon after bands of PaleoIndians began moving across North America from Siberia via the Bering land bridge. This coincidental timing has led some paleontologists to believe that the animals were hunted to extinction, while others maintain climate change was responsible.

    "In order to resolve the hunting-vs.-climate extinction debate, we needed to know more about PaleoIndian subsistence patterns," Fisher says. "We had many unanswered questions. Is it possible for small groups of hunters working with stone tools to quickly butcher a large animal and store the meat in a shallow pond? How long will the meat remain edible and what changes does it undergo?"

    Fisher's experiments to test the viability of underwater meat preservation began in 1989 in the U-M's E.S. George Reserve near Hell, Mich. From autumn to mid-winter, Fisher anchored legs of lamb and venison on the bottom of a shallow, open-water pond and buried other meat sections in a nearby peat bog. Caches were left in place for up to two years and checked periodically for decomposition.

    "The meat remained essentially fresh for most of the first winter," Fisher said. "By spring, progressive discoloration had developed on the outside, but interior tissue looked and smelled reasonably fresh."

    The combination of cold water temperature and increased acidity in the meat produced by pond bacteria called lactobacilli, which can survive without oxygen, made the meat unpalatable to other bacteria that normally decompose dead tissue, according to Fisher. Laboratory analyses of meat retrieved from the pond and bog in April 1992 showed no significant pathogens and bacterial counts were comparable to levels found in control samples Fisher stored in his home freezer.

    On Feb. 13, 1993, the body of a 28-year-old draft horse, which died the previous day of natural causes, was donated to Fisher for use in his research. Using simple stone tools he made himself and replicating techniques documented at mastodon excavation sites, Fisher and two colleagues butchered the horse and placed sections of meat in the pond through a hole chopped in the ice. "The stone tools were very effective," Fisher says. "For some procedures, especially the skinning process, they worked better than steel knives."

    Fisher monitored the condition of the meat at two-week intervals throughout the following summer. "As long as ice remained on the pond, the meat stayed essentially fresh," Fisher says. "By June, the meat had developed a strong smell and sour taste, but still retained considerable nutritive value."

    In future research, Fisher hopes to use signs of meat caching and butchery by humans, together with growth records preserved as "tree-ring-like" features in teeth, to trace the effects of human hunting.

    "Once we can identify animals killed by humans, we can use information on these animals' age and gender--determined by examining their skeletons and tusks--to model the probable effects of human predation on mastodon populations," he says. "This will help us answer the ultimate question of what caused the mastodon's extinction."

    Fisher's research on mastodon and mammoth extinctions is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.
    When studying anthropology, (circa late 70s) I first came across this technique which was said to have been used by the northern Cheyenne circa mid 1800s when they were still primarily hunter gatherers. They would gather in their thousands in a winter encampment in the same valley used generation after generation for feasting and mating and sharing the stories that made them a cohesive group. They would then split up into smaller groups for spring, summer, and autumn, stashing overabundance along the way, and retrieving it as they headed to the winter gathering.
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  25. #125  
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    Quote Originally Posted by sculptor View Post
    For your consideration:

    Underwater storage techniques preserved meat for early hunters:
    Thanks for the informative article. Illuminating! It brings to mind the unusual preservation of the Windover Lake bog people. Unusually acidic waters evidently preserved some of their brain tissues for 7000 to 8000 years.
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  26. #126  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    Did you read what I wrote? Traditional peoples and foraging societies focus a lot more on perennial plants..
    I think you're talking about people today, and what people ought to have done. Kojax and I are trying to explain the dusty theory that grain agriculture produces civilization. How and why did people routinely reap grasses?
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  27. #127  
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    How and why did people routinely reap grasses?
    Because we're omnivores. We'll try anything.

    All of us owe a great debt to those who went before us and tried out possible food plants and paid the price of that investigation with their lives. Same thing goes for all those plants which are inedible, or even lethal, unless they are processed in particular ways - cassava being the best-known example here.

    The Chinese didn't just harvest rice growing naturally in swamps, they built more swamps on the sides of mountains to grow more rice. Indigenous Americans didn't just harvest nuts and corn, they maintained the forests to ensure nut production and access to the trees, they replanted next year's corn from this year's set aside crop. When you think about it, they may very well have started out by placing whole dried cobs for replacements as well as broadcasting the kernels from those cobs.

    If they hadn't had an abundance of foods just handy for the hunting, fishing, picking and replanting in the immediate vicinity, especially along the East Coast between the mountains and the sea, indigenous Australians might well have done the same for nardoo as the Chinese did for rice. A floating fern with the added advantage of the whole plant being edible, but one of its main uses was for the spores to be harvested , dried and ground into flour. Though several groups "farmed" fish and eels by re-landscaping wet, swampy areas. Life was not a walkabout for Victoria's Aborigines - theage.com.au
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    I get what you're saying, and could add my own local tangent about lily bulbs and clover rhizomes. I suspect grasses have a special history though. Because naturally inedible grasses used initially as animal fodder, may gradually develop characteristics making them marginally viable for humans also. Thus they bridge the domestication of plants and animals. It is difficult to say just when and how we domesticated animals like goats and cows, yet it seems tied to grain cultivation.

    My hypothesis, in short, is that we kept livestock by providing grasses, and our meddling with local grasses ultimately - and unwittingly - produced varieties that humans could process and digest.
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  29. #129  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    That's a lot of work per unit of food. First you have to gather the fruit, or hunt the animals, and then you can start drying or smoking. For smoking, you're going to need to gather a lot of firewood also. I can see doing that for the luxury value, but to do it for basic nutrition would seem very labor intensive.
    It's not a luxury to have a concentrated source of calories available at a time when little or no fresh food is available. Dried food is also much easier if you wish to transport it and it occupies far, far less space than the whole food does.
    Why are we talking about "if you wish to" transport it? If you're a gatherer, then you have no choice in the matter. You must transport it every time your camp moves.

    That sets an upward limit on how much food storage you can practically have. Once you've got enough dried fruit or smoked meat to reach that limit, there's no point in drying or smoking the rest. Unless you want to stay where you are a bit longer, and you know the fruit at the next foraging ground will wait for you without falling off the trees.

    When you already have stored foods like pumpkins and melons and root vegetables that can't be reduced in size and/or weight, reducing the size and weight wherever you possibly can is a really good plan. For people who have little control over how well any given annual crop or hunting season will turn out, having a sizable store of dried beans and peas and berries and jerky and other items is just plain sensible.
    Right, so long as you are able to carry it.

    A grain farmer has no such limitation. They can store however much grain they can fit in their grain shed. Or expand the shed if they need more storage space.




    . If we lose most or all of our almond or cherry crop to parrots in one year, we'll have to do without almonds or cherries for one season. But that doesn't affect next year's crop - except that we've learned that we need to protect them better from the birds. If almonds and cherries grew from seed each year, we'd have to find another source of seed because all of ours is gone.
    If they pack up their tents, haul them into the almond area of their foraging grounds, and the almonds haven't grown, they're going to need to pack up and move again, all the while listening to their bellies grumble. That's a good time to break out the dried fruits and smoked meat - unless they ate it already the last time.

    Too bad they can't store unlimited amounts of food, like their grain growing peers.


    Also I don't think you can grow enough fruit so support a permanent settlement using the just the acreage around it. The nutritional payout of an orchard is not very good on a per-acre basis.
    I take it you're unfamiliar with permaculture and "tiered" planting schemes. When you plant a large fruit or nut tree, and a vine or two to grow up and through it, and a couple of small blueberry or guava or similar sized shrubs, and some ground level fruiting plants like strawberries or rhubarb or a perennial spreading melon vine all within the space that would normally be allocated to a single tree in a conventional modern orchard, you can make that single space provide fresh and storable foods for most months of the year rather than the few weeks of any one of those crops.
    Sounds like it would be a lot of work to weed it.

    Also sounds like you need quite a lot of knowledge, because any number of those plants could choke out the others leading to a poor yield if you get the mix wrong.

    Going to need to keep a pretty extensive oral tradition going if you want to learn enough by trial and error over enough generations, and keep all that knowledge intact for each new generation. Would help if this culture had a writing system, but that doesn't appear to have developed yet.
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  30. #130  
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    Quote Originally Posted by adelady View Post
    How and why did people routinely reap grasses?
    Because we're omnivores. We'll try anything.
    We will when we're hungry enough.



    All of us owe a great debt to those who went before us and tried out possible food plants and paid the price of that investigation with their lives. Same thing goes for all those plants which are inedible, or even lethal, unless they are processed in particular ways - cassava being the best-known example here.
    I like to hope they had the common sense to feed those plants to animals first.


    The Chinese didn't just harvest rice growing naturally in swamps, they built more swamps on the sides of mountains to grow more rice. Indigenous Americans didn't just harvest nuts and corn, they maintained the forests to ensure nut production and access to the trees, they replanted next year's corn from this year's set aside crop. When you think about it, they may very well have started out by placing whole dried cobs for replacements as well as broadcasting the kernels from those cobs.

    If they hadn't had an abundance of foods just handy for the hunting, fishing, picking and replanting in the immediate vicinity, especially along the East Coast between the mountains and the sea, indigenous Australians might well have done the same for nardoo as the Chinese did for rice. A floating fern with the added advantage of the whole plant being edible, but one of its main uses was for the spores to be harvested , dried and ground into flour. Though several groups "farmed" fish and eels by re-landscaping wet, swampy areas. Life was not a walkabout for Victoria's Aborigines - theage.com.au
    The reason I propose an animal feed-stock origin for grains is because cows and sheep are extremely good at foraging grains, even when they're not concentrated in one place.

    In its natural abundance, grain is nigh unto useless as a food source for gatherers. Our stomachs probably didn't even have the enzymes for it when it was an uncommon food source.

    Starting agriculture as a food source for those animals would be more practical, because it gives a return even in the early stages when the technology isn't very far along yet. Even if all you your efforts did was increase the concentration by 10%, you'd see immediate and impressive results on your flock.
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    I like to hope they had the common sense to feed those plants to animals first.
    The presumption is that, in that sort of environment, people pay a great deal of attention to what the animals around them are already eating. But you can always be fooled. Even now, people die from eating mushrooms that they've picked because they look very like others that they've eaten in other places.
    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
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    I bet a lot of mishaps occurred. Also during times of tribal warfare, they might have fed suspect foods to captives. I don't know of any evidence to suggest that tribesfolk were any less brutal than modern humans are. If anything they would be more xenophobic because of their inability to learn about the outer world through books.

    We just wish our ancestors were better than we are, because the thought gives us hope that maybe a better society is possible.
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  33. #133  
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    I suspect that the "hard wiring" of the species has changed little(if at all) since the dawn of the species.
    Our strengths, their strengths...our foibles their foibles.
    ..............
    on another note:
    I recently read that one of the american continental shelf solutrean points was claimed to have been made from french stone.
    I read this claim several times, but couldn't trace it to it's origins.
    Any help?

    Also the oldest american bipoints have been claimed to be 22-26000 years old which would place it at the very beginnings of the solutrean culture.
    If accurate, then the same culture on both sides of the atlantic at the same time opens up a whole new view of trans-atlantic travel?
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    It's probably frustrating to have to admit that two groups could start in the same place, with the same culture, and same technology, and one group becomes Europe, and the other group becomes the Native Americans. It's somehow easier to accept that they were never the same people.

    On the other hand, if there were multiple migrations, then it's possible that one or the other group didn't even survive to begin with, but got wiped out by a another wave of settlers into their lands. It would be really funny if it should turn out that the present "Native Americans" who got wiped out by European colonists were in fact the surviving descendants of another conquering group that had wiped out a previous group of "native inhabitants." I'm sure few if any scientists are eager to accept that genocide was part of the ancient world.
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    The thing is Kojax, is the few if any scientists are likely to accept unsubstantiated guesses, with no paleontological or archaeological data that supports it. They have no problems at all with genocide.
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  36. #136  
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax View Post
    It's probably frustrating to have to admit that two groups could start in the same place, with the same culture, and same technology, and one group becomes Europe, and the other group becomes the Native Americans. It's somehow easier to accept that they were never the same people.

    On the other hand, if there were multiple migrations, then it's possible that one or the other group didn't even survive to begin with, but got wiped out by a another wave of settlers into their lands. It would be really funny if it should turn out that the present "Native Americans" who got wiped out by European colonists were in fact the surviving descendants of another conquering group that had wiped out a previous group of "native inhabitants." I'm sure few if any scientists are eager to accept that genocide was part of the ancient world.
    Kojax,
    speculation:
    I would think "migratory pulses" which were, most likely, climate driven. I also have little problem thinking of the possibility that the north atlantic was essentially a solutrean lake(during the time of the solutrean stone culture at roughly the time of the lgm), with bidirectional trade and migration when the atlantic was much smaller, and the continental margins exposed, and, most likely, a lot more and larger mid ocean islands.

    One wonders as to the area of the north american continental margin which has been dredged compared to the few solutrean artifacts found.....size of openings of the nets?.................
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