I have hesitated to post anything about the Paleoamerican Odyssey, in part, because there was so much information and so many conversations that it’s hard to know where to begin. It certainly made an impact on many of us. I began drafting posts during the event, but upon reading my own words, most of what I was saying was reaction to the more appalling and shocking things.
For those who were not in attendance, let us get this straight. This was not a scientific “conference” in the sense that papers were submitted, examined by a jury of peers, and talks selected. Feelings were mixed but as one colleague pointed out, “this was created in darkness, by an unknown committee, sponsored by collectors in antiquities, and presented to the working Paleoindian community as a completed package of self-appointed rock stars of our business.”
Some talks appeared as re-runs of Forrest Fenn’s Clovis and Beyond conference (upon which, this meeting was modeled). Sometimes there was the feel of a very tired Dog and Pony Show. Angry personal comments came from the podium. Nevertheless, throughout the meetings, there were many excellent and informative papers concerned with genuine research from North and South America, and more importantly Beringia and Siberia.
As a spill-over, I had about 29 folks extend the weekend by coming to the Clovis site Sunday afternoon. I pulled a smattering of artifacts from the type-site for people to examine and photograph in person. We had a great time talking, knapping, and experimenting in general. Several inquiries were made as to how to return items bought, sold, or taken from the Landmark over the years and one retired archaeologist told us of a sale he witnessed claiming to originate at the Clovis site was arranged in a “back room” meeting over the weekend. Sad news for us. I truly hope they are fakes, but somehow I doubt it.
As comments come in, and I have time to catch my breath, I would like to hear more from attendees as I’m sure we all had differing experiences. I am also glad to get the opinions of the organizers if there is an interest in communicating openly with the actual archaeological community. My intent is not to focus on the bad because I think a lot of good happened throughout the event. I just hope it isn’t overshadowed by the dark side.
I hope to keep this page updated during the Paleoamerican Odyssey Conference. It will be a chore but it could be interesting. With the somewhat dark connections associated with the Clovis and Beyond Conference, rumors abound about this one including motives, funding, and possible personal agendas. After speaking of this with colleagues, I think the latter fear comes from the recruitment of the speakers as opposed to a general call for papers. I’ll keep an open mind and let it flow over me. I certainly expect to learn some new things.
And of course I’ll keep posting if I can.
Here’s a small copy of one of my posters to be presented. The original is much larger but this will give the gist. Just finished up at the printer’s. Please don’t use without permission as the resolution is terrible on this one.
An interesting day, as usual. The Late Paleoindian sediments have yielded many intact bison over the years that have to be seen to be appreciated.
I decided to make an attempt to collect the forelimb as a whole. Paleobond helped consolidate the bone, but the soft silt was uncooperative. It was a risk, but a piece of masonite was slipped under the block to remove the limb as a whole.
We’re up and running, and therefore have little time to attend to the blog or emails.
I’ll try to post some photos as time permits but here’s a few for now…
Luckily, there’s enough bone, lithics, and interesting sediment changes to keep us all interested and busy most of the time.
Portales Daily News. Note that there was no “Clovis” cultural group yet…\
Click HERE for the pdf, with bonus Coronado article OR link below:
Prehistory Day was successful, due to an excellent turnout, helpful volunteers, and great weather. A special thanks goes out to the members of Mu Alpha Nu and their friends for helping out again this year. Nearly 300 people turned out for the event which lasted all day with people trickling in until we closed at 5:00.
Demonstrations included fiber working, sandal making, flintknapping, and hunting techniques used by ancestral New Mexicans. Discussions ranged from general archaeology to gourd canteens, stone tools, and prehistoric containers.
The Portales flintknapping group, headed by Tommy Heflin, were a popular station at the event, helping create a new generation of flintknappers.
We hope to keep the public outreach events a regular occurrence at Blackwater Draw. Keep your eyes on the blog for future activities.