|THIS PAGE IS NOT COMPLETE. IN THE NEAR FUTURE, LINKS WILL BE ADDED AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT AND CREDIT WILL BE GIVEN TO THOSE FROM WHO'S WORK I RESEARCHED, PARAPHRASED, COPIED AND PLAGERIZED. THE PAGE IS ALSO VERY LONG. I APPOLOGIZED FOR THAT, AND AS SOON AS I CAN FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO IT, I WILL DISCECT THIS PART OF THE WEBSITE INTO A LOGICAL SERIES OF SEPARATE PAGES.|
|There are 21 Native American tribes in Arizona, with 250,000 Native Americans living in Arizona. Reservations and tribal communities comprise over a quarter of Arizona's lands. Each tribe, their people, has a history, some of which goes back more than 12,000 years in Arizona. This section of T-RAT.COM, despite it's title, is only an introduction, and is far from complete; much work in Arizona archaeology will take place in the future, and therefore nothing written today will even come close to being "complete." In Pima County alone, where I live, there are more than 15,000 known archaeological sites, an estimated 10 percent of the total number. So much is yet to be discovered, and much to learn.|
|Many of these sites, across Arizona, are being destroyed by development, government infrastructure construction, and natural erosion. Far more sites have been compromised by legal endeavors than by all illegal activities combined. That said, it is important for amateur archaeologist and artifact collectors to understand that illegal excavation of any site is illegal for a good reason, and should be left in the hands of legitimate institutions and archaeologists who can properly document and preserved the archaeological record.|
|The role of the amateur in American archeology has been debated heatedly in professional circles. In the past the amateur was often looked down upon professional archeologists, but now it is recognized that amateurs are important to the discipline. Evidence of the new attitude is the proliferation of "dig" opportunities which allow amateur archeologists to have the archaeological experience and make significant contributions. Clearly the former view about amateurs was the result of failure to distinguish between the interested amateur and the pot hunter-dealer who wantonly destroys sites for the sole purpose of collecting artifacts for trade and sale.|
Why study Archaeology?Archaeology is the study of past human societies through the material remains they have left behind. It is an exciting subject that investigates important developments in the human story over a long period of time. The greater part of the human story is beyond the range of traditional historical methods and can only be studied through the archaeological record. Today, archaeologists regularly collaborate with scientists working in such disciplines as botany and physics in, for example, the analysis of environmental remains and the dating of ancient objects. The excitement of discovery in archaeological excavation is well known through the media, however this is only one aspect of a discipline that combines humanistic interest with scientific method.
Archaeology and History, what's the difference?Archaeologists study materials from all periods whereas Historians study only those times and places where written record survive. Archaeologists used material evidence and documentary sources, while Historians focus entirely on written records. Archaeologists are able to study prehistory, which is the period of time before the appearance of writing representing the greater part of the human story.
The record of ancient people in Arizona is a story that is at least 12,000 years long. Here I've attempted to put together a peek at what archaeologists have so far discovered in this state . Though the occupation of Arizona is one of uninterrupted human habitation, there are obviously blanks in the record. The evidence which will give us further insight into the lives of ancient people is surely here, just yet to be discovered either in excavation or in material already collected and in museums or private collections or in some stage of publication. Each year, new information surfaces. Yet, despite the vast amounts of artifacts, the architecture, rock art, stone tools, ceremonial objects or skeletal remains, it is clear that all the archeologists and anthropologist is can do is interpret, make educated guesses as t what was in the minds of those people who lead their lives centuries or thousands of years ago. Science in reality is then fiction, much like a historical novel. To develope this site, mostly for students and amateurs, I have borrowed liberally the ideas of other archaeologists who have undertaken a huge and endless task of finding the missing pieces of ancient history. Most of what is presented here is classical Southwestern Archaeology, but I have added much from my own notes, research, discoveries and interaction with other researchers who have discovered evidence of knowledge that doesn't fit that status quo in American Archaeology;. There is so much yet to be understood, and so much evidence that has been quietly archived and unpublished; Finding these castaway pages is as much an excavation as any done in the ruins of an ancient village or in the grave site of an extinct animal or with the bone of ancient man. So enjoy your trip through 1200 centuries of one of the most remarkable stories of human history in North America.
Neolithic man, Ice Age people, Early Americans...doesn't really matter what you call them. Ample evicendce, both in research done in archaeology and physical anthropology, shows that the American Indian wasn't the first group to enter North America. That said, events were so distant in time, and the clues so tantalizingly rare, that it will take more discoveries sure to be made in the future to answers to the questions of who, what, when and where these "firsts" happened.
|During these 100,000 years of the most, recent Ice Age, much of the Earth's water was locked up in the ice caps, the level of the oceans at time dropped by as much as 300 feet. If you think about this, there are only two places on earth significant water can be held; In the oceans and on polar ice caps. covered with tundra, forests and lakes.|
|As little as 10,000 years ago (a short time if you look at the earth's geological history) the Wisconsin Ice Age (glacial Period when mile-high glaciers reached as far south as American state of Wisconsin) the Bering Strait between Siberia and Alaska became dry land, a continent-sized land mass over which animals migrated. The territory known as Beringia was NOT an ice mass, but rather dry land.|
|The emigration to North America, the megafauna as well as human hunters following, didn't happen suddenly: Mr. Neolithic family head in Asia probably didn't say to his wife: "We're packing up our suitcases, the kids and the dog and setting out to America, the land of milk and honey" Just didn't happen that way. The populating of North America was a series of short migrations, a few miles out into the wilderness during the hunting season following the inherent seasonal migratory habits of game animals, then a few less miles back. The immense distance from Asia to the tip of South America, took a huge number of short hops, layovers if you will, establishing hunting camps further and further east. The stretch of time during glacial fluctuations need to cover this distance was immense. Many, many generations, considering the life-span of any individual Paleo-Indian was less than thirty years due to being eaten by lions, stomped on elephants, getting lost, freezing to death, or simple ailments like tooth aches which were often untreated and fatal. (Reminds me that I have to go in for a root canal!) Mammoths were in the Americas about 1.5 million years ago, while humans were latecomers, probably arriving in various waves of migration between 30,000 and 11,500 years ago, with some researchers claiming the crossover may have occurred 50,000 to 100,000 years ago. One of the early cultures has been named "Clevis" after a type of spear point first found at Clevis, New Mexico, and more recently in several regions of Arizona.|
|Although the "Clovis hunters" have for many years been considered to be the earliest known culture in the New World, it is likely that Clovis culture dated from about 13,100 to 12,900 years ago and may have persisted for as little as a few hundred years.The traditional view is that early big-game hunters crossed the Bering Strait from Asia into North America following a land bridge that existed between 21 000-11 000 BC. They then continued along an ice-free corridor from Alaska across western Canada, reaching the modern US border around 11 000 years ago and developed characteristic stone tools called Clovis projectile points|
CLOVIS SPEAR POINTS, THE COVETED "HOLY GRAIL"
FOR SO CALLED ARROHEAD COLLECTORS
|However, the exact date of the human occupation of the "New World is often debated. New South American dates, especially those from Monte Verde in Chile, and by Archaeologists in New Mexico, suggest older periods of peopling via various routes. An increasing number of archaeologists believe that the arrival of people in the New World predates 11 500 BC. Time will tell (pun intended!)|
|Much of the technical aspects of the atlatl presented here came from the research of Robert Perkins (Atlatl Bob, as he is known,)" is no ordinary craftsman. Trained as an engineer, he is one of a group of people who have been studying the mechanics of this primitive weapon and found it to be surprisingly sophisticated. Using modern engineering concepts and experimental techniques, they are rediscovering ancient construction methods that make subtle but important improvements to the weapon's performance."|
|(IF YOU'RE NOT INTO NIT-PICKING, SILLY TRIVIA OR WASTING YOUR TIME ON ACADEMIC WORD-SMITHING, SKIP THESE NEXT TWO PARAGRAPHS)
Concerning atlatl, it is only the spelling that makes it look like atl-atl. In fact,(In the Aztec Language Nahuatl, (the word stem is ahtla- with a saltillo in the first syllable.) When you add the absolutive suffix -tl, you get ahtla-tl.
|Because Spanish speakers had a hard time hearing saltillo (glottal stop), they almost never wrote it. When they did, they used an "h" or a diacritical mark over the preceding vowel. The Jesuit grammarian Horacio Carochi was very thorough about explaining and notating saltillo with diacritics, but the practice never caught on. Nahuatl speakers generally didn't bother writing saltillos, because they KNEW where they were. The only people really in the dark about it are those of us who try to learn Nahuatl from incomplete sources. So the Nahuatl word for a spear thrower has nothing to do with water: (a:-tl, where the stem vowel is long, and the -tl is the absolutive suffix). In fact, the stem ahtla- just seems to mean 'spear thrower' and can't be analyzed into smaller constituent parts. Also, it's not pronounced atl-atl in Nahuatl, but unless you want to sound like you're talking with a mouth filled with marbles, just use the word ATL ATL: Archaeologists and anthropologists use it, it is the way its pronounced in every college course, in all books...so, why fight it. For some reason, its also simply a fun word to say. Whew!|
|THE ATL ATL AND DART: HALMARK OF NEOLITHIC HUNTING IN NORTH AMERICA: HOW TO KILL A BIG ELEPHANT WITH A LITTLE, STONE SPEARHEAD.|
ATL ATL REPLICA
|The atlatl consists of a two foot-long stick, with a grip on one end and a carved or inset-bone "spur" at the other end. The spur is the part of the atl atl that fits into a hollowed out cavity at the back of a four to six foot long shaft. The dart shaft is held in one hand by the tips of the hunter's fingers, suspended parallel to the board. The remainder of the hand holds tightly onto the gripping end. It is then launched through a sweeping arm and wrist motion, similar to a tennis serve. A well-made atlatl can be used to throw a spear 120 to 150 yards, with accuracy at 30 to 40 yards|
|Eighty percent of the atlatl's power is harnessed in the spear shaft alone. Perkins. "The dart is like a long, loose spring," he explained "and when accelerated by the atlatl it compresses and stores energy. That energy is then used to push itself away from the atlatl, enabling the dart to launch smoothly and effectively."
NOTE: IN MUCH OF THE PALEO-INDIANS' TERRITORY, STRAIGHT STICKS LONG ENOUGH AND STRONG ENOUGH ARE EXTREMELY RARE. BECAUSE OF THIS, A SMALL, REMOVABLE FORESHAFT WITH A STONE DART-PINT ATTACHED WAS DEVELOPED. THIS TWO PART CONSTRUCTION ALLOWED THE HUNTER TO EASILY RETRIEVE THE VALUABLE SHAFT, ESPECIALLY WHEN THE SPEAR HITS ITS MARK AND THE GAME ANIMAL IS ABLE TO RUN OFF WITH THE BUSINESS END OF THE WEAPON STILL EMBEDDED IN ITS FLESH.
ATL ATL DYNAMICS
HOLDING THE ATL ATL
PALO INDIAN PROJECTILE POINT TYPES
|The mass of the stone point, according to Perkins, is a integral part of the spear's acceleration, causing the back of the dart to travel faster than the front, thereby compressing it like a spring. To Perkins, the stone point is more essential for the mechanics of the system than it is for tearing through the flesh of the animals it is meant to kill.|
|The other 20 percent of the technology of the system lies in the atlatl board used for launching the dart. The first atlatls were just rigid platforms, Perkins noted. Over time the atlatl underwent a technological evolution much as rifles evolved from muzzleloaders to breach loaders, to lever actions, to automatics, he said. The first major improvement in the technology is what Perkins describes as "launch geometry". Archaeologists found pictographs and artifacts of throwing boards of different lengths, long boards for long distances, and short boards for short distances. Changing the length of the throwing board changes the point in the swing when the dart is launched.|
ATL ATL BOARD (aka "throwing stick")
|The dart (spear) lays almost flat on the throwing board before it is launched, but lifts away as the board is swung in an arc. The nock at the back of the dart remains engaged on the spur of the throwing board until the dart is tangent to the arc of the swing .A long throwing board causes the dart to become tangent to the arc much sooner in the swing than with a short board, so the dart launches high into the air at a long-range target (and right over the top of any close targets).|
|A short throwing board allows for more follow-through so the dart is pointing downward when it launches; this enables the hunter to aim at short-range targets.|
|The flexibility of both atlatl and dart are in a functioning relationship to one another, the result will be similar to that of a diver diving from a spring board. In this system, the diver's legs are bent, like the dart, and store energy to be used in pushing away from the board. The diving board, like a flexible atlatl, is bent back, storing energy to be used to push the diver away from board. With the diver and diving board pushing each other away at same time, the launch of the diver is considerably higher, smoother, and more powerful than if the diver had used a fixed rigid form. The weight in the atlatl system therefore serves as a timing device to bring the flexibility of the dart and the board in tune with each other.|
|CLASSIC ATL ATL DART POINTS|
|CLASSIC CLOVIS DART POINTS|
BIG ENOUGH TO DO SOME REAL DAMAGE
SOUTHWESTERN PALEO INDIAN POINTS: NOTICE CHARACTERISTIC FLUTING AT BASE TO ACCOMMODATE ATTACHMENT OF FORESHAFT
|The atl atl was a very effective hunting weapon and in skilled hand, this weapon could bring down game as large as mammoth, or smaller game as well (rabbits, deer, monkeys, and in the end, in the 16th Century, thank goodness, the kind, loving and generous Spanish Conquistadors who only wanted to bring their own God into the miserable lives of the natives, Early Paleo Indians likely supplemented their diet with native nuts, roots, berries, and seeds. .|
YA GOTTA LOVE A GOOD DAY OUT HUNTING WITH THE GUYS
|Here's another good place to segue and comment on a comparison between European and prehistoric Native American conservation.|
|For thousands of years, despite skilled, and sometimes very wasteful hunting practices by ancient Americans, there were still herds of bison numbering in the millions on the American primaries, including Arizona.||Photo of a pile of bison skulls, 1870. What the American Indian Couldn't do with the atl atl, and later the bow and arrow, Europeans came close to relegating the American "buffalo" as just another extinct species.|
|Much of what we know, or think we know about the American Indians' environmental record are only half-truths that has shaped pretty much most of our image of how they lived and shaped their world, and it's a difficult "urban myth" to unravel. Hollywood movies leave us with a warm-fuzzy, and romantic feel that for their entire history, the American Indians was in complete harmony with nature they left no mark on it.This portrate of the Native American environmental ethic, ever so appealing, is more myth than reality. The actual history of Native American resource use does not always mesh with the spiritual environmental ethos attributed to them.|
|INDIANS WERE SKILLED HUNTERS, GIVING THANKS FOR THEIR KILLS THAT SUSTAINED THEM. BUT HUNTING TECQUINQUES DIDNT ALWAYS EQUATE TO CONSERVATION (Troy Denton)|
|The impression that American Indians were guided by a unique environmental ethic is a big sense patronizing an entire culture in saying that they were to consummate environmentalists. The poignant and romantic image we've created doesn't reflect that the Indian was no more or no less concerned for the environment than were the Europeans who followed in their footsteps. Like the European, the American Indian transformed the North American landscape. Sometimes these changes were beneficial, at other times harmful. But they were almost always a rational response to abundance or scarcity.
In prehistoric America, when open land was abundant, it was a logical agricultural practice to clear land for farming by cutting and burning forests. After clearing, they would farm the fields extensively until they depleted soil fertility; then the Indians would clear new lands and start the process again. From New England to the Southwest, wherever Indian populations were dense and farming was intense, deforestation was common. The departure of the Pueblo (Anasazi) from the canyons of the Southwest's four corners region in the 13th century was most likely due to their having depleted the wood supplies they used for fuel.In a similar survival strategy, where game was plentiful, Indians used only the choicest cuts and left the rest. When the buffalo hunting tribes on the Great Plains herded hundreds of animals over cliffs in the 18th and early 19th centuries, tons of meat were left to rot or to be eaten by scavengers - hardly a result consistent with the environmental ethic attributed to Indians.
All that said, all you have to do is think about the photo here of a pile of thousands upon thousands of buffalo skulls killed by Europeans, not for meat (which was left to rot at the dismay of the Indians) but for hides. Generally the demand for meat, hides, and furs by relatively small, dispersed populations of Indians put little pressure on wildlife. But in some cases game populations were overharvested or even driven to extinction. Anthropologist Paul Martin believes that the extinction of the mammoth, mastodon, ground sloth, and the saber-toothed cat directly or indirectly resulted from the "prehistoric overkill" by exceptionally competent hunters.
|THE FACE OF THE PALEO INDIAN|
|Your anthropology textbooks may claim that no skeletal evidence of these ancient people has yet been found, which is a convenient lie to cover up one interesting fact. Of the dozen or so so-far identified as Palo"Indian skeletal remains dating around 10,000 to 12, 000 years old, each and every one has been identified by physical anthropologists as Caucasian. So much for present Indian claims about being first and their rights to ownership of most of north America. Political correctness is the curse of modern society, and today's anthropology.|
|This lower jaw fragment was discovered by myself in the late Pleistocene gravel deposits on the west mesa of Albuquerque. Folsom dart-points are known to be found in much of that area that is high in elevation and provided an excellent view of game animals that roamed along the Rio Grande river valley below.|
|ALL PALEO-"INDIAN" SKULLS EXHIBIT CAUCASIAN PHYSICAL TRAITS|
|The number of skeletal remains of Neolithic humans in North America can be counted on one hand, so the discovery of a virtually complete human skeleton of our "Paleo Indian" period was truly exciting. Kennewick Man,as he came to be known, provided a lot of answers to the perennial question of just who might have seen North America for the first time.|
SKELETON OF THE KENNEWICK MAN
|On July 28, 1996 two young men encountered a human skull in the Columbia River at Kennewick, Washington. Four days after the startling radiocarbon result, the Corps insisted all studies be terminated and soon took possession of the skeleton. After publishing their intent to repatriate the remains to an alliance of five tribes and bands--Umatilla, Yakama, Nez Perce, Wanapum and Colville--the Corps received numerous requests for scientific study from citizens, congressmen and anthropologists. The Colville then filed a separate claim of their own. A group of internationally-known archaeologists and physical anthropologists filed suit, asserting that NAGPRA does not apply to this case and seeking the opportunity for study. The Asutru Folk Assembly, a traditional European religion, also sued for the right to determine if this individual was their ancestor. The Umatilla, who have taken the lead on the issue, intend immediate reburial in a secret location. The remains now lie in a federal repository awaiting resolution.|
|WHAT DID PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGISTS CONCLUDE? CAUCASIAN!|
|All this said, your current anthropology textbooks may claim that no skeletal evidence of these ancient people has yet been found, which is a convenient lie to cover up one interesting fact. Of the dozen or so so-far identified as Palo"Indian skeletal remains dating around 10,000 to 12, 000 years old, each and every one has been identified by physical anthropologists as Caucasian. So much for present Indian claims about being first and their rights to ownership of most of north America. Political correctness is the curse of modern society, and today's anthropology.|
|The skeleton is nearly complete, missing only the sternum and a few small bones of hands and feet. All teeth were present at the time of death. This was a male of late middle age (40-55 years), and tall (170 to 176 cm ), slender build. He had suffered numerous injuries, the most severe of which were compound fractures of at least 6 ribs and apparent damage to his left shoulder musculature, atrophy of the left humerus due to the muscle damage, and the healing projectile wound in his right pelvis. The lack of head flattening from cradle board use, minimal arthritis in weight-bearing bones, and the unusually light wear on his teeth distinguish the behavior and diet of Kennewick Man from that of more recent peoples in the region. A fragment of the fifth left metacarpal analyzed by AMS has an isotopically-corrected age of 8410 +/- 60 B.P. (UCR 3476) (ca 7300 to 7600 B.C.). Amino acids and stable isotopes indicate heavy dependence on anadromous fish. DNA was intact, but two partially-completed extractions were inconclusive.|
|The Skeleton lacks definitive characteristics of the classic mongoloid stock to which modern Native Americans belong. The skull is dolichocranic rather than brachycranic, the face narrow and prognathous rather than broad and flat. Cheek bones recede slightly and lack an inferior zygomatic projection; the lower rim of the orbit is even with the upper. Other features are a long, broad nose that projects markedly from the face and high, round orbits. The mandible is v-shaped,with a pronounced, deep chin. Many of these characteristics are definitive of modern-day caucasoid peoples, while others, such as the orbits are typical of neither race. .|
|The completeness and unusually good condition of the skeleton, presence of caucasoid traits, lack of definitive Native-American characteristics, and the association with an early homestead led me to suspect that the bones represented a European settler.|
|These hunters seem to have been fairly widespread across North America, but some of the most interesting sites are found bordering the San Pedro River in southeast Arizona, near the Mexican border. At these sites mammoth bones and the bones of other extinct mega-fauna are found in association with fire hearths, Clovis points, and tools.|
|Early Paleo Indians likely supplemented their diet with native nuts, roots, berries, and seeds. Your anthropology textbooks may claim that no skeletal evidence of these ancient people has yet been found, which is a convenient lie to cover up one interesting fact. Of the dozen or so so-far identified as Palo"Indian skeletal remains dating around 10,000 to 12, 000 years old, each and every one has been identified by physical anthropologists as Caucasian. So much for present Indian claims about being first and their rights to ownership of most of north America. Political correctness is the curse of modern society, and today's anthropology. No skeletal evidence of these ancient people has yet been found, and our information about their domestic and social life is minimal. As nomadic hunters their belongings would have been few and easily portable from one camp to the next. Small bands of twenty-five to thirty people would likely have ranged over a territory that might extend several thousand square miles, regulating their movements by the season, the amount of game, and the availability of native plant foods.|
|ANYONE CAN HAVE THEIR MOMENT OF FAME IN THE WORLD OF ARCHAEOLOGY. AS A GRADUATE STUDENT, WORKING ON A DIG ABOVE THE VOLCANIC MESA WEST OF ALBUQUERQUE, I DISCOVERED THE HUMAN JAW PICTURED ON THE RIGHT IN AN ARTICLE THAT APPEARED IN THE ALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL. THE SPECIMEN, ALONG WITH SOME SKULL FRAGMENTS, WERE FOUND IN PLACE IN A SANDY LENS WELL WITHIN THE CONFINES OF PLEISTOCENE GRAVEL. AN AREA WHICH OFTEN PRODUCED FOLSOM POINTS AND OTHER PALEO INDIAN TOOLS. UNFORTUNATELY THE SPECIMEN HAS REMAINED UNSTUDIED AND IS IN THE MAXWELL MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY.|
|THE FABLE OF THE HORSE IN NORTH AMERICA
The story of the horse in North America has a lot to do with American Indian archaeology. Many tribes developed into "horse cultures," depending on this species, Equus cabalos, one of the Ice Age species of megafauna, for much of their liveliehoods. I touch on the story here, not because the horse, it seems, was tied to any of Arizona's prehistoric people, but because the subject is taught in every Anthropology 101 college course and the subject again has fallen into a "lets get past this subject because we all know the story" kind of thing. In other words, not many archaeologists are willing to take a microscope to what has become dogma. Its too easy to insert the "E" word....extinction.
|A very interesting account was supplied by an explorer Jacques de Saint-Pierre in 1750-52. He describes some tribes in the far interior in the Rocky Mountains area that were expert horse breeders and traders . No Europeans had penetrated there at this point!|
|Ample evidence shows that the Vikings used horses and brought them to Iceland and Greenland in the 10th Century long before the Spanish. The Viking horse was They are relatively small, varicolored ponies. They also released them to run wild. They captured new horses from the wild herds and also hunted and ate them at need. The Vikings are known to have had a settlement in Newfoundland. It would be ridiculous to presume that they didn't also visit the mainland, only a few hours sail away (though apparently some anthropologists hold to that view). This would explain both the physical characteristics of the Indian ponies and give the horses 500 more years to breed and spread across the continent, and to be domesticated and used by the Plains Indians.|
|TODAY'S MODERN MUSTANG: Part Viking breed?|
|RUMINATING ON THE HORSE DILEMMA
The origin of equines can be traced to the Eocene period, between 60 and 50 million years ago. Eohippus, or Dawn Horse, was about the size of a Cocker Spaniel - 14 inches at the shoulder - and is thought to have weighed about twelve pounds. He had four toes on the front legs and three on the back, which were padded like those of a dog and allowed easy movement over wet ground.
FOSSIL SKULL OF MESOHIPPUS
Eohippus, Mesohippus, Equus
|By the Oligocene period, about 38 million years ago, Eohippus had evolved into Mesohippus and Miohippus and had achieved the size of a German Shepherd. Both these evolutions were taller and heavier, with teeth that allowed them to eat a wider variety of plants. They were still browsers living in forests and swamps. Their front feet were reduced to three toes, still padded, but the middle toe carried most of the weight.|
|FOSSILS OF PLIOHIPPUS ARE COMMON IN THE SAN PEDRO VALLEY OF ARIZONA|
|The first truly single-hoofed horse was Pliohippus, which evolved about seven million years ago in the Pliocene period. The side toes became the splint bones found in modern horses. This small, lightly built horse was the prototype for the Equus caballus, the first true horse, which evolved during the Pleistocene period, almost two million years ago. Equus had a rigid spine, with short, powerful and well-muscled bones in the upper limbs and long, slender unmuscled lower limbs. He was well equipped for life on the open plain and had a well developed defense system. The foot pad of earlier evolutions became the frog of modern horses|
|Equus spread across the Bering Strait from America to Asia. Primitive man, starting to evolve in Asia, followed horse herds back across the Bering Strait into America, some staying to become the first Americans. When the glaciers retreated about ten thousand years ago, the land bridges between what is now Alaska and Asia disappeared. Soon after that the horse became extinct in North America. No one knows why. They were later re-introduced to the continent by Spanish explorers, and became the progenitors of the Mustang.|
|PREZWALSKI'S HORSE,LAST OF THE TRUE ICE-AGE HORSES. DURING THE LATE PLEISTOCENE, 12,000 YEARS AGO, THE BERING STRAITS WOULD NOT HAVE APPEARED GLACIATED. FORESTS AND TUNDRA COVERED DEEP ICE, ALLOWING HORSES AND OTHER ANIMALS TO FREELY CROSS AND ICE-FREE ECOLOGICAL HIGHWAY INTO NORTH AMERICA|
|EVIDENCE SUGGESTING WE NEED TO RE-THINK THE EXTINCTION OF THE HORSE IN NORTH AMERICA|
|North America was the original home of the horse species. They evolved here, and thrived here for millions of years. The plant and animal communities of North American ecology evolved with horses playing an integral role. About 8,000 - 10,000 years ago (coinciding with Human settlement) they became nearly extinct in the land of their origin (Their numbers depleted greatly due to climate change and human hunting) , although luckily by that time they had migrated to Asia, where they spread into Europe and North Africa. The fossil record of the Post Pleistocene horse in North America is mostly absent of fossil equines It's not because horses weren't here, but rather it is the nature of chance that relatively uncommon animals make for rare fossils. If a horse skeleton somehow did get preserved, the chances that the fossil will survive the weathering process of the earth's surface (as with any fossil), and that a human will come across it and recognize its importance...well, is infinitesimally small. No wonder the horse extinction myth persists.|
|It was long believed that the pre-extinction American horse was a more primitive form and not the true horse of today. But that changed in September of 1993, when some placer miners in the Yukon uncovered a horse and paleontologists were called in. Initially, nobody thought too much about the well preserved, brownish red horse in the permafrost layer.|
|It didn't look different from any other horse that had died and been buried in the mud. Even the stomach contents were still in the gut, and the flaxen mane hung over the neck of the hide covered skeleton. Scientists might have been looking at a near carbon copy of some of the smaller wild horses in the West.|
|This Yukon discovery, and other evidence such suggest that we need to take a closer look at the so-called extinction of the horse in North America long before the Spanish brought theirs here in the 1500s. Some researchers propose that North American caballine horses did not become extinct, and instead persisted until historical times. This hypothesis, while intriguing, is not generally accepted because:|
|Pre-Columbian shell with depicting man on horseback. Attributed to the Inca Empire, the is unfortunatly no credible doccumentation on this specimen. Intreaguing though!|
|Until the Yukon discovery, no horse bones from the late Pre-Columbian era have been found to support the idea, and with the exception of an enegmatic and isolated carving of a warrior on a horse on a Pre-Columbian Inca shell ornament, horses are not pictured in any pre-Colombian American Indian "art." Furthermore, when the Spanish arrived with their horses to Mexico in the 16th century, the Aztecs and other educated peoples of that region did not initially understand what horses were.|
|In the Milwaukee Public Museum there is the skull of a mustang excavated in 1936 by W.C. McKern from a mound on Spencer Lake in NW Wisconsin (47BT2), and vouched for by McKern in the _Wisconsin Archaeologist_, Vol. 45, #2 (June 1964), pp. 118-120. Says McKern , 'there remains no reasonable question as to the legitimacy of the horse skull that we found as a burial association placed in the mound by its builders." Coronado wandered around circa 1540, and AFAIK (as far as I know) no artifacts from his expedition have ever been found (and people have looked). Horses were widespread in use (particularly west of the Mississippi, but not exclusively so), so much so that the Lewis and Clark expedition took it for granted when they found members of tribes on horseback.While other items at the dig have been confirmed to be pre-columbian by carbon dating, the horse skull itself has not been objectively dated. For such a potentially archaeologically important find, especially one with verbal evidence against its legitimacy, accepting an age based on faith and the confirmed age of legitimate artifacts is unacceptable. "Piltdown Man" is an example of why this must be so. Personally, I'm convinced that many post-Pleistocene horse bones exist and have been found, but nobody ever bothered to have them radiometrically dated, believing them to be either much older fossils, or are escapees from the Spanish or Vikings.|
|The mustang skull itself will need to be carbon dated before it's purported age can be considered legitimate. Until then, it must be considered of dubious merit. That being said, when it finally is carbon dated, if it does turn out to be legitimately pre-Columbian, then it is probably one of the most significant finds in archeology.
So, traditionalists, don't jump down my throat on this horse extinction thing. I'm just being skeptical and I feel there is a lot of evidence that needs to be looked at again.
|FOSSIL MUSTANG SKULL. MIDWEST MOUNDS HELD ONE. IF C-14 DATES PLACE THIS SPECIMEN IN A PRE-1500s TIMEFRAME, IT COULD CHANGE THIS HISTORY OF NORTH AMERICA.|
PALEO INDIANS AS HUNTERS
|Paleo Indian hunters seem to have been fairly widespread across North America, but some of the most interesting and well documented sites have been found bordering the San Pedro River in southeast Arizona, near the Mexican border. At these sites mammoth bones and the bones of other extinct mega-fauna are found in association with fire hearths, Clovis points, and tools. were found in direct assocation with big game animals, but little is left of evidence which might tell us precisely how these people lived during their average daily day.|
AN ARIZONA MAMMOTH HUNT
|From the face-value of the evidence that persistently is appears in popular high school and college texts that appears to show that these hunters lived primarily on mammoth meat, the idea has been told so many times that it has becomes the truth, that is, more perception than entirely fact. Logic, and a closer examination of some of the earliest Clovis sites shows that this long-standing theory this is unlikely. The primary factor would be the enormous size of the Columbian mammoth, which was considerably larger than the Woolly Mammoths discovered in Siberia. A healthy, full-grown male Columbian and Imperial Mammoth were about 13 feet high at the shoulder and weighed in at some ten tons. His powerful trunk and tusks up to ten feet long were impressive defenses. Not too smart an adventuress hunting mammoth, and It took a while for me to get the notion out of my head that these early people were fearless big game hunters.|
|Despite thousands of years of unrelenting hunting of the American Bison, huge herds existed until the late 1800s.|
|Pile of bison skulls in 1870. It took the European "Buffalo Hunters" only a few years to bring the bison to the brink of extinction. In the below discussion, the American Indians' image as the ultimate conservationists has its dark side too.|
|Much of what we know, or think we know about the American Indians' environmental record are only half-truths that has shaped pretty much most of our image of how they lived and shaped their world, and it's a difficult "urban myth" to unravel. Hollywood movies leave us with a warm-fuzzy, and romantic feel that for their entire history, the American Indians was in complete harmony with nature they left no mark on it.|
|This portrate of the Native American environmental ethic, ever so appealing, is more myth than reality. The actual history of Native American resource use does not always mesh with the spiritual environmental ethos attributed to them..
The impression that American Indians were guided by a unique environmental ethic is a big sense patronizing an entire culture in saying that they were to consummate environmentalists. The poignant and romantic image we've created doesn't reflect that the Indian was no more or no less concerned for the environment than were the Europeans who followed in their footsteps. Like the European, the American Indian transformed the North American landscape. Sometimes these changes were beneficial, at other times harmful. But they were almost always a rational response to abundance or scarcity.
In prehistoric America, when open land was abundant, it was a logical agricultural practice to clear land for farming by cutting and burning forests. After clearing, they would farm the fields extensively until they depleted soil fertility; then the Indians would clear new lands and start the process again. From New England to the Southwest, wherever Indian populations were dense and farming was intense, deforestation was common. The departure of the Pueblo (Anasazi) from the canyons of the Southwest's four corners region in the 13th century was most likely due to their having depleted the wood supplies they used for fuel.
|In a similar survival strategy, where game was plentiful, Indians used only the choicest cuts and left the rest. When the buffalo hunting tribes on the Great Plains herded hundreds of animals over cliffs in the 18th and early 19th centuries, tons of meat were left to rot or to be eaten by scavengers - hardly a result consistent with the environmental ethic attributed to Indians.|
|Bison "jump". a site at which bison have been killed by being stampeded over a cliff. At the base of one tall cliff, were the remains of over 6,000 bison.|
|All that said, all you have to do is think about the photo here of a pile of thousands upon thousands of buffalo skulls killed by Europeans, not for meat (which was left to rot at the dismay of the Indians) but for hides. Generally the demand for meat, hides, and furs by relatively small, dispersed populations of Indians put little pressure on wildlife. But in some cases game populations were overharvested or even driven to extinction. Anthropologist Paul Martin believes that the extinction of the mammoth, mastodon, ground sloth, and the saber-toothed cat directly or indirectly resulted from the "prehistoric overkill" by exceptionally competent hunters.|
|All the evidence shows they they found it much easier, and far less dangerous to "finish off" calves or young individuals who were "venturing away from the protection of the herd for the first time, especially if they were mired in the mud of some sort of swamp, injured, or immobilized in a pit trap. The archaeological evidence supports this thesis since the sites contain almost exclusively the bones of young mammoths near watering places. At several sites in Cochise County, Arizona, the distinctive Clovis spear points have been found in association with bones of bison, camel, tapir, bear, and horse in addition to mammoth.|
|HAFTED CLOVIS POINT: ON FORSHAFT; EFFECTIVE FOR KILLING MAMMOTH|
|Clovis tool kits were highly effective, lightweight, and portable, as befits people who were constantly on the move. Their stone technology was based on precious, fine-grained rock that came from widely separated outcrops, ones that were exploited for thousands of years by later people. Their most famous, celebrated, and distinctive part of their toolkit were their fluted projectile points.
A hallmark of Clovis culture is the use of a distinctively-shaped fluted rock spear point, known as the Clovis point. The Clovis point is distinctively bifacial and fluted on both sides, a feature that possibly allowed the point to be mounted onto a spear in a way so that the point would snap off on impact. Archaeologists do not agree on whether the widespread presence of these artifacts indicates the proliferation of a single people, or the adoption of a superior technology by non-Clovis people.The typical Clovis point is leaf shaped, with parallel or slightly convex sides and a concave base. The edges of the basal portions are ground somewhat, probably to prevent the edge from severing the hafting cord. Clovis points range in length from 1 1/2 to 5 inches (4 to 13 centimetres) and are heavy and fluted, though the fluting rarely exceeds half the length. Some eastern variants of Clovis, called Ohio, Cumberland, or Suwannee, depending on their origin, are somewhat fish tailed and also narrower relative to length.Exactly how these points were hafted is unknown, but the men probably carried a series of them mounted in wooden or bone foreshafts that worked loose from the spear shaft once the head was buried in its quarry. The Clovis people became successful hunters, often killing mammoth, mastodons, huge bison, horses and camels throughout the great plains of North America and into northern Mexico.
Also associated with Clovis are such implements as bone tools, hammerstones, scrapers, and unfluted projectile points. Besides projectile points, the Clovis people used bifacially trimmed points and other woodworking and butchering artifacts, as well as flakes used simply as sharp-edged, convenient tools in their struck-off form.
|Naco Mammoth Site
In August 1951, summer rains brought heavy flooding to the Greenbush Creek a mile northwest of Naco, Arizona, a border town south of Bisbee. Erosion in the arroyo exposed part of a skull with teeth and the tusk of a large animal. Further excavation revealed ribs, vertebrae, and scapula along with eight Clovis spear points of various sizes.
|SMALL AMERICAN NEOLITHIC TOOLS ARE COMMON|
|Lehner Mammoth-Kill Site
About ten miles away, the following spring Ed Lehner was inspecting a washout. He found what he judged to be the bones of an extinct animal in an arroyo two miles south of the ghost town of Hereford, Arizona, on the west side of the San Pedro River. He removed a few fragments and took them to the Arizona State Museum where some of them were identified as tooth plates of a mammoth.
COLUMBIAN MAMMOTH IN SOUTH EASTERN ARIZONA
|Another summer of heavy rains in 1955 exposed more bones, and excavation was begun. Shortly two Clovis projectile points were found among ribs of what was adjudged to be a young mammoth. Although the condition of the bones was poor, elements of eight mammoths were counted as well as bones of numerous bison. Thirteen projectile points, eight cutting and scraping tools, and a chopper were also found. The bones were found in a mixture of sand and gravel. The area was probably a shallow pool which attracted animals as a watering place. Some of the animals found there may have died of natural causes, especially if there had been a drought.|
|Along with the bones of a varied selection of game including one horse, one tapir, several bison, a camel, a bear, several rabbits and a garter snake (Yum!), the site contained the first definable fire hearth associated with the Clovis people. The Lehner site also offers a tantalizing mystery: although mandibles (lower jaws) of eight mammoths were recovered in fair condition, not a single skull was found intact. Several masses of crushed bone were found which might have been parts of skulls but these still would not be sufficient to account for all the crania one would have expected to find. The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967 and in 1988 was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Lehner to the Bureau of Land Management for the benefit and education of the public. For more information about the Lehner Site, contact the Bureau of Land Management Sierra Vista Office, (520) 458-3559.|
|Murray Springs Clovis Site|
|Excavations at the Murray Springs Site, just east of Sierra Vista, were conducted from 1966-71 and revealed a scientific treasure trove of material that added much to our knowledge about the Clovis hunters.|
|Bones of a mammoth (what good Arizona Neolithic kill site doesn't have at least one of these!) as well as horse, camel, lion, and dire wolf were found.|
|Bison, (buffalo) at least with this particular band of hunters 10,000 years ago, seem to have been a popular dinner item, Fossil bones of eleven young bison were found. Nobody know if theses animals were killed one by one over a period of years, as the Clovis traveled back and forth over their nomadic range to check dependable hunting grounds. It is likely that the young mammoth and bison were ambushed as they came to the water. The site at Murray Springs also contained sixteen Clovis spear points (its why we call it a "kill site") and a wrench-type tool fashioned from a mammoth leg bone, possibly used to straighten spear shafts.|
|THE GIANT BISON, Bison latifrons, was hunted in southern Arizona. Bison latifrons was an immense animal, standing as much as 8 1/2 feet at the shoulder. They would have been very similar to modern bison in appearance, only larger, with their most distinct feature being a long set of curved horns that protruded outward from the skull and gently arced upwards. Their unique horn spreads are known to have spanned as much as 6 feet tip to tip and possibly longer.|
|The Clovis hunters probably had many more tools in their tool kit that we've found so far. Here in Arizona, sites come and go, usually exposed briefly after summer monsoon flooding, and just as fast vanish with a following storm. The Murray Springs site succumbed to this and really isn't there any more. Ah, chance! There will be more kill sites exposed in the future and hopefully, someone will stumble upon them in time to add more to the story of the Clovis hunters in Arizona.|
|The Murray Springs site is readily accessible by the public since it is located on one of the trails of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. (Removal of any material from the site is, of course, prohibited.) Further information and maps are available for downloading over the Internet at the BLM web site or call the Sierra Vista Office at (520) 458-3559.|
BLM INFORMATION SIGN AT THE MURRAY SPRINGS MAMMOTH KILL SITE
|Update: An amazing amount of new data is being discovered that it was NOT the Clovis people that was the cause of the near-total animation of the large Pleistocene Mammals of North America. Rather, as with the dinosaurs final end, a moderate-size meteor or comet hit the earth in northern Canada producing a cataclysmic shock wave, throwing rock and fragments of the Iron-nickel intergalactic "visitor" across the continent. Part of the evidence is that the micro meteorite fragments have been found in mammoth tusks and bone, and melted glass and iridium (as associated with the end of the Cretaceous Period) is being found in the strata right where the last mega fauna became extinct. "That a handful of early hunters could have wiped out the huge population of large Pleistocene mammals in North America in such a short time is a ridiculous theory."|
|I'm going out on a limb here, but if the above is true, and it seems probable, BOTH the big games of North America and the Paleo Indian Clovis culture disappeared, incinerated, at precisely the same moment. Thus, it is also likely what are termed the "Archaic Culture" was a second wave of people arriving from Asia as long ago as 10,000 to 13,000 years ago. (precious little preserved material exists that can be radio metrically dated on the transition from Paleo Indians to Archaic.) Could it be that the Clovis people were simply replaced by the Archaic Culture? More research and C-14 dates are needed.|
|ARCHAEOLOGY OF ARIZONA CONTINUES CLICK NEXT FOR
A REALLY BIG CHANGE IN CULTURE - SURVIVING IN THE POST-GLACIAL PERIOD