What if I told you that before the first trowel goes into the ground for your public archaeology (#pubarch on twitter) dig you probably have excluded half the population? Would you be shocked? Would you be surprised? Has this ever crossed your mind?
Pleistocene North America has often been described as having a bestiary resembling that of the African continent. I've probably even used this description myself. This is not accurate. The North American continent was home to a healthy ecosystem consisting of megafaunal herbivores, carnivores, and scavengers. It was a vast unpeopled wilderness until man arrived and brought destruction upon many of the largest and most impressive species.
As an avid follower of Irish archaeology, I was fascinated to read this latest archaeological discovery in County Cork, Ireland (both the location of one my trips two summers ago, as well as the origin of my Irish ancestry). Check out the article below to learn more about this interesting new discovery.
"The earliest known settlers in Co Cork were hunter-gatherers who lived near Fermoy more than 10,100 years ago.
With a new revelation surfacing in regards to the famous Irish bog bodies, my readers should have been expecting this post from me! Since viewing the bog bodies at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin the summer before last, I have been fascinated with their history and taphonomy. I have posted about them several times before, basically every time something new arises about their preservation.
The Wisconsinian Ice Age was an epoch when 2 massive Ice Sheets expanded over Canada. The Cordilleran Ice Sheet expanded over the western Canadian Rocky Mountains south of Alaska, while the Laurentide Glacier covered all of eastern Canada and even extended over New England, Ohio, and other midwestern states. (Ironically, most of Alaska stayed ice free during this time and consisted of a barren grassy environment known as the mammoth steppe.) About 30,000 years ago, the Cordilleran Ice Sheet and the Laurentide Ice Sheet conjoined into 1 massive glacial slab that blocked all human and animal migratory routes between Alaska and the rest of America.
Bid now! Bid high! The Rutz “Clovis” point is up for auction tomorrow! Starting bid is $50,000 for an enormous surface-collected Clovis arrowhead.
We are assured this is “genuine” and it has been confirmed by John Mark Clark, a renowned arrowhead collector and former furniture salesman, now an authenticator of prehistoric goods. Here’s a statement from Mr. Clark:
“The market has been flooded with repros and fraudulent material. It’s something I’ve had to deal with on a daily basis, so I know other collectors are having to deal with it, too,” Clark said. “Only a few auction houses guarantee the authenticity of what they sell, and Morphy’s is one of them. The prehistoric market has been begging for a reputable auction house to step in and warranty what they’re selling, and now that’s going to happen.”
Morphy’s assures us that this point has “been vetted by the most knowledgeable and experienced minds in the field“. The auction field? The archaeology field? The wheat field where it was collected? Um, did we inadvertently “vet” it by having it at the Paleoamerican Odyssey?
And finally, anyone want to bet on who will buy it? There are some shrewd guesses flying around the collector communities. I suspect it will be a familiar name to most of us. I personally can’t imagine coveting any “collectible” that badly. Maybe it’s just a control thing.
In the mean time, I’ll continue to whack out “clovis” points and scatter them to the four winds. Maybe somebody will pay $400,000 for one someday.
Described by Professor Ronald Hutton as "probably... the most important of the early forerunners of the discipline of archaeology", William Stukeley was born this day in 1687 at Holbeach in Lincolnshire.
Although his father was a lawyer, medicine was William's initial preferred area of study, which he followed at St Thomas' Hospital in London after taking a degree at Cambridge. He returned to Lincolnshire to practice in 1710, where he forged friendships with the likes of Isaac Newton and William Wake (who was later to become Archbishop of Canterbury).