All day, every day at the Paleoamerican Odyssey we were bombarded with a few images on the information televisions. One of these images was the Rutz Clovis point. It, or at least a good cast, was viewable in the artifact display room along with the Fenn Cache and some other truly remarkable finds. Of course, the initial advertisement for the
conference meeting mentioned that there would be artifacts from the actual Blackwater Draw Clovis site but if they were there, I missed them. Maybe they were not in plain sight.
For those of you NOT familiar with this remarkable biface, it is alleged to be a Clovis-age point discovered in Douglas County, Washington and, if authentic, is the largest Clovis point known in North America. Pretty cool surface find, eh? This is not to say that every knapper or archaeologist is convinced, but I don’t know many people who could even get a hands-on look. If by some chance, it is authentic, it is a little outside the norm for a Clovis point. Who knows? My initial impression, as a person who has handled many authentic Paleoindian points, and made a fair few, is that the margins are remarkably poorly-formed for the finished state of the base and extremely long and very rippled flute.
From what I know of the history, and it is very little, is that this point was announced and immediately put up for sale on a “Treasure Hunter” website in February of 2013 by a “family member” of the finder. Apparently then, sometime recently, a website was created called the http://rutzclovispoint.com/ with vital statistics and images of the point.
Where is this all going? Well, the Rutz “Clovis” point is now up for auction! What lucky timing. Didn’t something like this happen in conjunction with the Clovis and Beyond?
Okay then, your cultural heritage is bought and sold piece-by-piece every day. But who cares?
A fine question (as I am a pessimist when it comes to the natural goodness of people).
So the rub with this sale, and the others rumored this week, is that this was facilitated by the very conference that we, as professional archaeologists, just attended. Or is it just a lucky coincidence? I personally feel like a sucker. It was difficult to even go to this meeting after the blow-back of the preceding weeks. Now this? Did Texas A&M and the Center for the Study for the First Americans really want this association? I sincerely hope not but the list of Board Members at the CSFA concerns me greatly. I am ready to throw my hands up in despair at our readiness to turn to the dark side. To further your career, what is your price?
This is a real and legitimate question. What is the proper relationship between those who trade in bits and pieces of the past and those who are meant to study it? I have looked through many private collections in my career and most collectors are good people. But there is something special bout the Paleoindian
hoarder collector just as there is a gritty edge to some Paleoindian archaeologists. Much like the need to possess an artifact from the Clovis type-site, regardless of the morality or even legality of the claim.
Please, feel free to comment. I’ll continue this discussion…mañana.
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.
When we think of Pleistocene fauna, we usually think big. The above image was assembled by Roberto Díaz Sibaja on his wonderful blog Palaeos, la historia de la vida en la tierra. I love the fact that he has created, for many of his animal-size related posts, a real scale that nearly all of us can relate to; a human and a Volkswagen Beetle. Look closely at his human silhouette and you can see some attitude hidden there.
Not an archaeology blog but a broader and probably smarter view of the biological world through paleontology and evolution. He covers so many facets of the natural world including many fossil animals from dinosaurs to modern camelids.
Dr Kristina Killgrove is an “assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of West Florida. My educational background includes degrees in Latin (BA, University of Virginia), Classical Archaeology (BA, University of Virginia; MA, UNC Chapel Hill), and Anthropology (MA, East Carolina University; PhD, UNC Chapel Hill). I have a strong commitment to interdisciplinary work, as my research and teaching bridge the sometimes large divide between classics and anthropology.Dr is an assistant professor of biological anthropology at the University of West Florida.”
From her website:
“I am trained as a classical bioarchaeologist, and therefore am one of the few scholars who has started to answer questions about the ancient Romans using their skeletons. My research has focused primarily on immigration to Rome and urban collapse at Gabii during the Imperial period (1st-4th centuries AD). This work blends anthropological theory, biochemical analysis, and classical archaeology to find out more about people rarely represented in the historical record of the Roman world: immigrants, women, children, and slaves.”
Currently, I am an assistant professor of biological anthropology at the University of West Florida.”
Her professional link is here: http://killgrove.org/
Go forth and learn some of the latest in bioarchaeology.
Recently, I was able to finally visit Tonto National Monument in southern Arizona a short drive from Phoenix. Early April can be a beautiful time in the Sonora before the temperatures rise beyond the point of misery. Much of the desert was in bloom during the visit and the snakes were definitely awake.
Specifically, this short trip was to the Upper Cliff Dwelling, a 30-40 room structure located high on the hillside overlooking a large valley near the Salt River probably occupied from the 13th-15th centuries.
Guided hikes are available to the Upper Ruin from November through April on this easy 3 mile round trip.
The winds were really up and our guide lost his hat in a whirlwind. Luckily it was found down the mountain later by another group.
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.