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Journal of Lithic Prehistory

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(no subject) [Dec. 15th, 2004|04:07 pm]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory

[Current Mood |distressedNEANDERTHAL.]
[Current Music |STFU, NEANDERTHAL.]

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First post aka introduction [Oct. 31st, 2004|01:02 pm]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory

It's my first post and already a call for help.

I am a student of the History of Art MA student at UWr University
and now I am re-collecting all my knowledge from Prehistoric times

Anyway, I have a question.. Are there any sites over the U.S that have any source (or signs) for Gravettian culture (source in the site La Gravette in Byac - Dordogne- France . Period: Upper Paleolithic between 25-22000 b.c)

I am currently writing about Gravettian culture and Gravettian complex (sites all over south-west France - Dordogne-Lot and East Europe like Chech Republic, Austria, Germany, Ukraina, and a few archeological sites in Russia; Pavlov and East-gravettian cultures)

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First families of Virginia [Oct. 20th, 2004|10:42 pm]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory

When people refer to “the Ice Age,” they are usually referring to the most recent (there have been several), which reached its peak about 20,000 years ago. At that time, continental ice sheets covered North America as far south as Pennsylvania. Although Virginia was not covered by glaciers, the local environment would have been very different from what we know today. Strong winds of arctic air sweeping down from the ice sheets created a colder climate. North America tended to become warmer and dryer as the glaciers gradually receded toward the end of the Pleistocene (about 11,000 years ago), with one brief exception --- the Younger-Dryas climatic reversal. During this period, which lasted perhaps five years, winters would have been much colder and wetter than they had been since the peak of glaciation, putting much more survival stress on plants and animals.

Pleistocene vegetation consisted of a mosaic of open grassland areas interspersed with stands of spruce, fir, and other conifers. Dense pines covered the mountain slopes, except perhaps at the very highest elevations, above the tree line, and deciduous trees grew mainly in poorly drained areas and beside streams. A wide range of extinct and modern animal species would have roamed these forest and grassland areas including mammoth, mastodon, bison, caribou, horse, and giant sloth, as well as white-tailed deer, elk, raccoon and rabbit.

The ancient Susquehanna River system (including the Potomac) carried seasonal meltwaters from the glaciers southward to the sea. Since so much of the Earth’s water was locked up in glaciers, sea level was much lower and the continental shelf was exposed for over 200 miles to our east. The Chesapeake Bay had not yet formed.

Exactly when humans first appeared in North America and where they came from are questions that are still being hotly debated. The traditional view holds that man arrived here through major migrations across the Bering land bridge between Siberia and Alaska at the height of the last glaciation. As the glaciers began to retreat (melt), people followed herds of big Pleistocene mammals south, through an ice-free corridor in Canada about 12,000 years ago, gradually spreading out across North and South America.

An alternative theory is that occupation of the Americas may have resulted from a series of migrations, perhaps going back as far as 30,000 years ago. These migrations could have been over land or water, with people working their way down both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, settling on land that is now submerged by a rise in global sea levels.

Regardless of how they got here, there is evidence that these early hunter-gatherers, known as Paleo Indians, were living in Virginia at least 11,000 years ago. At this time, small bands moved frequently throughout the area, hunting game and collecting plant resources in the spruce/pine forests and grassland environments that predominated. They hunted mostly modern species like deer, elk or raccoon, for the mammoth and other large Pleistocene mammals were likely extinct in this area by then. (By the way, if you like controversies, there is another one raging about whether or not mammoths and mastodons are extinct because early man killed and ate them all.)

Cactus Hill near Petersburg, Virginia, holds the earliest evidence of man yet found in the eastern U.S. On sand dunes adjacent to the Nottoway River, archaeologists recovered quartzite points, blades and cores, along with charcoal and fragments of animal bone in a level about 5 inches below Paleo Indian artifacts. This stratigraphic position suggests that the material is earlier than Paleo Indian, and radiocarbon analysis indicates that the artifacts may be 18,000 years old. The use of quartzite and the manufacture of blades contrasts with the tool-making technology of the Paleo Indians. The tools are remarkably similar to types recovered in France and Spain that were made more than 18,000 years ago. Their recovery has suggested that the earliest settlers in North America came from Europe around the Atlantic rather than from Asia over the Bering land bridge.

from http://oha.ci.alexandria.va.us/lyceum/ly-exhibit-prehistory.html
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(no subject) [Oct. 20th, 2004|10:38 pm]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory

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a late pleistocene dwelling [Oct. 20th, 2004|10:28 pm]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory

The other day a co-worker showed me a really cool model of a late pleistocene dwelling. She had worked on the Thunderbird Site (44Wr11) and the Fifty Site (44Wr50) in the 1970's and at the Thunderbird Museum until it closed in the 1980's.

First,a bit of background about the sites. This is from the Warren County, Virginia website and it may not be completely accurate. I'm not sure if Thunderbird is still the only known stratified paleoindian base camp in the Americas... Further, the Warren County government was not supportive of the museum when it was active.

The Thunderbird site and the Fifty site are stratified (layers of artifacts indicating human occupancy over 12,000 years) and are two of the most significant and important sites in North America. Thunderbird is the only stratified base camp of the paleoindian period known in the Western Hemisphere and contains evidence of the earliest known buildings in the New World. Approximately 12,000 years ago, when the Ice Age was ending, the first occupants of what was to become Warren County made a camp on the narrow floodplain near the confluence of Flint Run and the Shenandoah River’s South Fork, at what is now known as Thunderbird. While it is not known whether these were the first inhabitants of the valley, no evidence of occupation prior to this time has been found.

Carrying tools typical of the Paleoindian culture, these prehistoric Indians established a base camp where they fashioned tools and weapons from stone quarried from the jasper outcroppings along Flint Run and the eastern bank of the South Fork. Although they were attracted primarily by the availability of stone, the abundance of wildlife, food, water, and creature comforts were also important factors in their site selection. The base camp was the center of manufacturing activities. Excavations have uncovered a variety of tools that indicate an emphasis on hunting and animal processing.

Across the river from the camp was a quarry reduction station where rocks were broken into smaller sizes prior to being shipped to the manufacturing site. Less than a mile upstream from the base camp was a hunting camp, now known as the Fifty site. Artifacts found in this area consist almost entirely of weapons and tools used to kill and butcher game and to process by-products. A bog was located in the floodplain just below the Fifty site where animals were driven for the kill.

Evidence of at least one structure at Thunderbird is supported by the discovery of post molds, or circular earth discoloration's where posts were driven to support a framework. This is the earliest evidence of any type of structure on the North American continent. The presence of shelters indicates that the site was more than just a tool manufacturing station--that visits were of some duration. While Thunderbird was not a permanent settlement, it was an excellent camp and as such, was periodically revisited.

The Paleoindian period began in 9500 B.C. and lasted until 8000 B.C. When prehistoric man first entered the valley, the northern glaciers were beginning to recede; the climate was much colder and wetter than it is today. Extensive grasslands interspersed with spruce forests covered the valley. The mountains were blanketed by forests and were more than likely capped by a permanent snow cover. Large animals, perhaps even mastodons, roamed the land. In the succeeding Archaic Periods (8000 B.C. - 1000 B.C.) and Woodland Periods (1000 B.C. - 1600 A.D.) the weather began to moderate. As temperatures became warmer, the climate became drier and the seasons set in. Forests enclosed what had once been grasslands, streams dried, and the river changed course.

from http://www.warrencountyva.net/cp_history.asp

The model was about 1:30 scale and was based on the pattern of postholes discovered at the Thunderbird site. If the interpretation of the postholes is correct the structure was ovoid and about thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide. There were quite a few holes though, and it is possible that they represented multiple structures existing at the same or even at different times. There was also a band of postholes around most of the hypothetical structure's perimeter. The modeler interpreted this as the framework of a windshield or tent cover over the structure. The model had a doorway at the mid-point of the long axis, that led into a hall. The walls of this hall ran nearly to the opposite side of the structure and divided it into two main rooms.

A full scale representation of thie structure, based on the model, was erected at the Thunderbird Museum using stone tools, local woods and fiber and covered with deer skin. The structure was destroyed when the museum closed in the late 1980's.

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the Shenandoah River in the vicinity of the Thunderbird site
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(no subject) [Oct. 19th, 2004|10:21 pm]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory


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New Mesolithic discovery in Scotland [Oct. 18th, 2004|12:53 am]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory


14 October 2004
Archaeologists have uncovered evidence of the first early settlers in Aberdeenshire during an 11-day excavation near Kintore.

A Mesolithic, or Middle Stone-Age site, dating back around 8,000 years, was unearthed on the outskirts of the village.

Kintore has already revealed historically valuable finds, including Roman bread ovens, a timber circle thought to date back 6,000 years, and evidence of a roundhouse.

Experts now hope their latest discovery will help them piece together a history of the area - something which, at the moment, does not exist.

Speaking on the penultimate day of the excavation yesterday, Murray Cook, of Edinburgh-based AOC Archaeology, said: "It is very exciting. We knew there was a cairn on this site but we have now found charcoal underneath it which we will be able to date. But we didn't know the Mesolithic site was here."

Mr Cook, who was joined by his colleague Lindsay Dunbar and 13 volunteers, now plans to revisit some of the sites the group has uncovered over the last fortnight, to unearth more secrets next year.

He said: "The Kintore excavation is one of the most important in Scotland. There is more Neolithic pottery at Kintore than anywhere else in Aberdeenshire put together.

"There are more roundhouses there than any other part of Scotland and the marching camp has more Roman ovens than the rest of Britain."

Any members of the public who would like to become involved in the Kintore landscape project can contact Mr Cook on 0131 440 3593.

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Big Eddy Site [Oct. 17th, 2004|01:39 pm]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory

I noticed at least a few Missourians here. I just read this article last week. I realize it is a bit dated and the associated web page is at least two years old. Perhaps someone has some newer info on the site.

Fragile History: The Big Eddy Site

James M. Chandler

Nestled on the Sac River in southwestern Missouri where the Ozarks meet the Plains, the Big Eddy site has racked up an impressive list of credits since the summer of 1997, when the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR), Southwest Missouri State University, first started excavating:

it has the largest late-Paleoamerican lithic workshop ever discovered in the western Ozarks;

it has yielded a continuum of artifacts from the Paleoindian through the Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian periods;

it may be the first site to provide evidence about the transition from Clovis to Dalton;

it offers tantalizing hope of being the first site in North America with indisputable proof of pre-Clovis habitation.

Unfortunately, the Big Eddy site is being devoured by the Sac River at an alarming rate. CAR will undertake intensive investigations during the next three years to discover its secrets.

dig deeperCollapse )

Big Eddy Website at Southwest Missouri State University Center for Archaeological Research:
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Of lice and men [Oct. 17th, 2004|11:54 am]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory

I would like to welcome all our new members. I'm pretty busy this weekend writing a boring historical background for work, but I want to post a few news items I've come across recently...first the lice.

Lice DNA Suggests Early Human Contact
By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News


or read the full article behind the cut...Collapse )

Did We or Didn't We? Louse Genetic Analysis Says Yes


or read the full article behind the cut...Collapse )

Detail research information available:

Genetic Analysis of Lice Supports Direct Contact between Modern and Archaic Humans

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(no subject) [Oct. 16th, 2004|11:45 am]
Journal of Lithic Prehistory

I'm a senior BA archaeology student in the midwest and am currently taking a class on lithics, so my new obsession is flint-knapping! Alarmingly, I've started doing it in my sleep...
My interests are pretty wide - Scythian Central Asian nomads, the Vikings, Anglo-Saxon and medieval England, Sumeria - but I find experiemental archaeology really rewarding and am looking forward to seeing what this community has to offer (and will post anything interesting I find).
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