05 February 2015

In search for the earliest Americans, Archaeology has painted itself into a corner with focus on flaked chert and spearpoints

Nadia Clark find, Prescott, Arizona

Bird figure found in a context of many bird stone finds and tools identified by Nadia as quartzite microliths. Archaeology has not yet been able to identify the lithic art or tools which might correspond with any pre-Clovis (>13,000 years ago) peoples. The art objects being found and described by amateurs must be considered a proxy for identification of tools which may not yet be described in the Americas.

101 bird figures from Nadia's back yard

Close up of some bird stones

Microliths (1-3 cm) all found together on Nadia's property. These are worked quartzite tools which produced a pattern of morphology which Nadia is unable to dismiss as a natural coincidence. With the presence of figurative art at the same small site at Prescott, Arizona, these items require further study rather than immediate dismissal by archaeologists. These look to have been used in the fingers rather than as elements of composite tools but I still use the term microlith to describe their diminutive size.

Tools like this are common to the Acheulean period in East Asia, as are crude hammers and choppers. 

Despite art and tools in line with Old World finds, American archaeologists cannot see it because they have been educated to focus on flaked chert. This is just a small fraction of all the lithic material left by the earliest Americans and has left American Archaeologists stuck around the 15,000 years before present date for the presence of the first Americans. Sophisticated balanced and heat treated wooden spears have been identified in Europe at around 300,000 years ago. Archaeologists would have us believe no early people in America used wooden spears and non-chert tools, or made portable rock art. With dense populations of humans in east Asia around 800,000 years before present and the Beringia land bridge being open 200,000 of the past 500,000 years, it seems unlikely the first humans arrived in America just 15,000 years ago.

A bird head figure found by Nadia Clark at the site was featured earlier on this blog. The bird head was interpreted as also presenting the rough profile of a human face on its right side.

Amateurs have not been prejudiced by the dogmas of academic archaeology and use common sense to identify concentrations of tools and art. A real science is always open to anomalous finds and has a way to accept them or reject them based on its developed methodologies.

Despite the occasional call for more involvement of avocationalists, Archaeology does not operate in this way. Archaeology blows off amateurs with novel observations as if it already knows all there is to know. This hubris renders Archaeology impotent to do the work required to identify the material culture signatures of the earliest Americans. With a continued focus on flaked chert tools as the required evidence of the earliest Americans, Archaeology will never identify who they were.

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