Paleo-Indians Pre-Clovis 
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 Paleo-Indians Pre-Clovis

  I posted this note on a couple of bbs for amateurs.   Does
anyone have any additional information on this site or the
dating method used on the site?

     The latest issue of _American Antiquity_, the major
professional journal for US archaeologists, has some
"interesting" current research reports from South America.
As usual, the earliest claimed human remains from the
New World have been found in Brazil.
     Maria da Conceicao de Moraes Coutinho Beltrao (Museo
Nacional) indicates that work at the Toca de Esperanca (i.e.,
Cave/Rockshelter of Hope) site has produced some very early
materials. The site has produced "hearths" that
consist of hardened sediments encircled with rocks.  
The hearth fill is believed to have been formed by
calcarious materials disolving from the cave walls
and washing through the hearths.  There it mixed with
animal fat and solidified.
    Horse bones, possibly broken to extract marrow,
were found adjacent to the hearths.  A "mold of a
tooth with divergent roots is the only fossil evidence
of humans found so far."
    Tools recovered at Toca de Esperanca are mostly
said to be bone implements; perforators and a scraper.
These bone tools supposedly have spiral fractures
characteristic of human flaked bone.  Only a small
quantity of stone tools have been recovered and these
include calcite flakes and one quartzite flake.  Some
of the stone material is said to come from over 30
miles away.
    Four samples were submitted for dating.  One
of these samples was split and independently dated
at two different labs.  They have yielded dates
ranging from 300,000 to 200,000 years ago.  The
excavator suggests these demonstrate the
presence of a contemporary of Homo erectus
in South America.
     My comments:  I find this report hard to
swallow.  Unfortunately, the Current Research
section of the magazine is not juried and simply
acts as a means for researchers to quickly
disseminate information before more formal
publication.   Photographs, tables, etc., are
not provided with these descriptions.
     The report does not provide information
on what type of dating was run and on what
kinds of samples.  The dates are outside the
normal range for radiocabon dating.  If they
are thermoluminescent dates, I am highly
skeptical of their accuracy -- but that is just
a guess on my part.
     The descriptions of  "tools" from the
site also fails to convince me that this is a
real site.  Although spiral fractures of bone
are typical of human chipping, they can be
caused by accident.   Roof fall from the
cave could conceivably chipped bone, etc.
Calcite is not a the type of material I would
choose to make chipped stone tools -- but it
is possible others did.  I would like to examine
the stone "tools" so I can make up my own mind
about their being real human artifacts.   The
site sounds like another Pendejo Cave.   I also
think it is one of the more aptly named pre-Clovis
    Dr. Who

aka Mark A. McConaughy
Section of Archaeology
The State Museum of Pennsylvania

Mark McConaughy
Section of Archaeology
The State Museum of Pennsylvania
Box 1026

Mon, 27 Nov 1995 04:39:44 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

 Relevant Pages 

1. Paleo-Indians Pre-Clovis

2. Indian Sites Paleo-Indian?

3. First Americans -- thesis -- Clovis vs Pre-Clovis


5. Mike Ruggeri's Pre-Clovis and Clovis News and Links


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