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Diffusionist ideas becoming a little more mainstream

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  • minnesotastan
    from the BBC - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5398850.stm (text here in case the link dies -- Early humans followed the coast By Paul Rincon Science
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 10, 2006
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      from the BBC -

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5398850.stm

      (text here in case the link dies --

      Early humans followed the coast
      By Paul Rincon
      Science reporter, BBC News

      Learning how to live off the sea may have played a key role in the
      expansion of early humans around the globe.

      After leaving Africa, human groups probably followed coastal routes to
      the Americas and South-East Asia.

      Professor Jon Erlandson says the maritime capabilities of ancient
      humans have been greatly underestimated.

      He has found evidence that early peoples in California pursued a
      sophisticated seafaring lifestyle 10,000 years ago.

      Anthropologists have long regarded the exploitation of marine
      resources as a recent development in human history, and as peripheral
      to the development of civilisation.

      This view has been reinforced by a relative lack of evidence of
      ancient occupation in coastal areas.

      But that view is gradually changing; genetic studies, for example,
      suggest a major early human expansion out of Africa occurred along the
      southern coastline of Asia, leading to the colonisation of Australia
      50,000 years ago.

      Shifting sea levels since the last Ice Age, combined with coastal
      erosion, would have erased many traces of a maritime past, Professor
      Erlandson explained.

      "The story of human evolution and human migrations has been dominated
      by terrestrial perspectives," the University of Oregon researcher told
      BBC News.

      "I grew up on the coast and I always thought this didn't make much
      sense. Coastlines are exceptionally rich in resources."

      Ancient artefacts

      Professor Erlandson has carried out extensive excavations on San
      Miguel Island, off the coast of California, which is known to have
      been inhabited at least 13,000 years ago.

      About 100,000 seals and sea lions of six different species live on the
      island. These slow-moving sea mammals would have been easy prey for
      the island's early human inhabitants.

      "The big elephant seals weigh over 3,000lbs," he explained. "It has
      always seemed to me that these were a resource that early humans would
      not want to miss."

      One of the digs, at Daisy Cave, on San Miguel Island, has yielded
      about 20 bone "gorges", a form of fish hook.

      The gorges were covered with bait to be swallowed whole by fish, which
      were then reeled in. These are between 8,600 and 9,600 years old and
      are associated with more than 30,000 fish bones. They are the oldest
      examples of such artefacts in the New World.

      Actually proving such a migration took place is a very difficult
      thing to do because of sea level changes and coastal erosion
      Jon Erlandson, University of Oregon
      The researchers have also recovered fragments of knotted "cordage" -
      woven seagrass - that might have been used to make fishing nets. These
      delicate items were preserved by pickling under layers of ancient
      cormorant dung.

      "The preservation is superb, so we interpreted the cordage as
      'cut-offs' from the manufacture and maintenance of nets, fishing
      lines, and other maritime-related woven technologies," Professor
      Erlandson said.

      At other sites, the researchers have found barbed points that were
      most likely used for hunting sea mammals - possibly sea otters. They
      also unearthed examples of 9,000-year-old basketry as well as
      8,600-year-old shell bead jewellery.

      'Kelp highway'

      The findings from Daisy Cave could be consistent with the idea that
      some of America's first colonists followed a coastal migration route
      from Asia.

      Conquering the cold waters of the northern Pacific would have required
      advanced seafaring skills as well as an ability to successfully
      exploit marine resources.

      At the height of the last Ice Age, a land mass called Beringia would
      have connected North-East Asia to North America.

      Traditionally, the first Americans were thought to be big game
      hunters, who marched from Siberia across the land bridge to Alaska.
      Then, they were thought to have travelled south through the Canadian
      Arctic via an "ice-free corridor" that emerged in the central US.

      But the earliest signs of human occupation from the ice-free corridor
      date to 11,000 years ago, while California's Channel Islands are now
      known to have been inhabited at least 13,000 years ago.

      Professor Erlandson has come up with an alternative theory that
      maritime peoples from Asia followed forests of kelp to the New World.

      Kelp Forest would have hugged the coastline from Japan up through
      Siberia to Alaska and down along the Pacific coast of North America.
      This marine plant grows in rocky, nearshore habitats and cold water up
      to 20C.

      It creates rich ecosystems, providing habitats for seals, sea otters,
      hundreds of fish species and shellfish. These could have been
      important sources of food and other resources such as skins for early
      peoples.

      However, the professor of archaeology says "actually proving such a
      migration took place is a very difficult thing to do because of sea
      level changes and coastal erosion".

      He added: "I think the peopling of the New World was much more complex
      than has traditionally been viewed. I think it probably involved
      maritime and terrestrial migrations."

      Jon Erlandson was speaking at the Calpe Conference 2006 in Gibraltar.
    • Susan English
      Excellent articles, Stan. I Google d a search for Professor Jon Erlandson of the University of Oregon, is quite young and fortunately has a long career ahead
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 14, 2006
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        Excellent articles, Stan. I Google'd a search for Professor Jon
        Erlandson of the University of Oregon, is quite young and fortunately
        has a long career ahead of him. I see that he has over 100 scholarly
        articles and most recently is answering invitation to present papers
        all over the globe. One list shows the articles on the western US
        coastal/island Chumash groups.

        I am running a print of this article for my files, perhaps will seek
        his email address should anyone have any specific questions and I get
        time to do so over the winter when coursework in Madison is completed.

        Also printed the comprehensive Wikepedia article (excellent
        diffusionism 101 description) to send family members who struggle
        with why their mother gets so wrapped up doing PR volunteer work. My
        favorite hobby is providing support to those exploring evidence as
        well as theory pertaining to millinnea of various peoples engaged in
        exploration, trade and ancient intercontinental sea-faring to and
        from the Great lakes-Mississippi Riverways, Ohio Valley, and beyond.

        I am back in Central Wisconsin for the weekend after last week's very
        successful 3-day Ancient American Artifact Preservation Foundation
        conference in Big Bay, Michigan. Camped and cooked meals along Lake
        Superior, even took a couple of baths in the lake because I was
        attending am amicable elbow-to-elbow conference.

        It is uncanny that last Saturday temperatures in Big Bay were in the
        80's; same area this Saturday is under several inches of snow with
        what the news is calling all-time record cold for the area--nighttime
        temperatures were over sixty degrees colder than last weekend. The
        drastic changes and early snows explain the horrific early winds that
        started in last Saturday night. Big Bay/Marquette isn't far from
        where the Edmund Fitzgerald steamer sank. During the night as 'the
        winds of November' shook my tent,Gordon Lightfoot's "Wreck of the
        Edmund Fitzgerald" played in my head. Ancient peoples were probably
        wise enough to be out of the Upper Great Lakes long before this time
        of year. Unless the climate several thousand years ago was slightly
        warmer than it is now.

        After the conference Sunday, I slept overnight in the car atop
        Brockway Mountain (1326' above sea level), watching the lights of
        large ore boats and foreign vessels passing in the distance. Unless
        I get called to assist with a survey of a remote ancient sites in the
        Western UP, last week was probably my last trip to the area for the
        year.

        Brockway Mountain along US Hwy M-26 in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula
        is 1326' above sea level, so remote, no cars took the steep drive up
        between 8PM EST and 8AM and I had the mountain and view all to
        myself. From the top one can see Isle Royale forty miles away on a
        clear day. I parked next to the sign which pays tribute to all who
        explore the seas and roadways of Keweenaw. At the close of this e-
        note, see verbatum the sign you will read atop Brockway Mt. re:
        ancient and historic copper miners. During the late 80's, early 90's
        when first interested in ancient copper and intercontinental
        seafaring trade, the fellow who manned the station atop Brockway
        Mountain, Jim Westcoat, told me when the sign was first proposed and
        ready to be inscribed, "thousands of years ago" was changed
        to "hundred" to steer away from the controversy which loomed then, as
        now, and seems to be a determining factor as to whether one takes
        a 'diffusionist' view or an islolationist view.

        Writings of Frank Joseph and other sources tell of thousands of small
        aboriginal copper pits scattered about, especially the Keweenaw fault
        and on Isle Royale. Prehistoric Copper Mining in the Lake Superior
        Region (by Prof. Drier and Octave DuTemple, 1961, 1964-hard copies a
        minimum of $50 now, the book still revered by vocational and
        avocational researchers tracing evidence of the ancient copper
        culture. The book was reprinted a year or so ago in soft cover, costs
        only around $15 or so. Judy Davis who owns the Minnetonka resort and
        Museum said 90-something Octave DuTemple came in and signed a number
        of copies. John White of the Midwestern Epigraphic Society talked me
        out of selling him my singed copy last fall and when I returned to
        Minnetonka last month to purchase another signed copy, they are out
        until DuTemple and his daughter bring more signed copies to the
        store. I wrote a note to PreColumbian Inscriptions awhile back
        inserting a few passages from that book, may look for it and put it
        in this web site. My apologies for my slant back to the ancient
        Great Lakes copper and sea-faring trade so frequently, but I do think
        it was highly significant in the Copper and Bronze Ages and was not
        merely a parochial, regional network of isolated trade.

        Last Monday went from Copper Harbor to Madison just in time for
        classes Monday afternoon (Polysomnography/ Sleep Technology); my
        school grant has not yet come in so parked the car overnight at an
        ancient waterway site overlooking Lakes Mendota, Minona, and Wingra.
        Thanks to Native American groups and Madison preservationists,
        approximately 5-10% of the area's ancient and historic mounds were
        kept from development/desecration and are still protected. A Native
        guide, Larry Johns, former UW Madison friend of Prof. James Scherz
        School of Engineering, took several of us on a tour of the area's
        effigy mounds and waterway areas. It was the afternoon just prior to
        the Ancient Earthworks Society meeting in Madison where I met Stan
        (MinnesotaStan) who designed and set-up this wonderful Ancient
        Waterways Society web site. For decades many of us loosely referred
        to an Ancient Waterways Society (from references, writings of our
        friends Dr. James Scerz, C. Fred Rydholm, Frank Joseph, Wayne May,
        David Hoffman---to help present-day international researchers travel
        along and better think as did those who traveled ancient 'roadways'
        of rivers, lakes, which lead to and from transcontinental seas,
        oceans, ports. Now with this site, it provides an avenue to
        correspondence, web links, and potentially, papers.

        Stan, I haven't had a chance to see if you have shared the two recent
        links with other groups which also relate to ancient maritime travel
        and diffusion. I believe many from the PreColumbian Inscriptions and
        the Thor groups would find the sites interersting. For those
        unfamiliar with the above groups:

        PreColumbian Inscriptions (Mike White, host):
        http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Precolumbian_Inscriptions/

        The Ohio Rock/Thor group:
        http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Precolumbian_Inscriptions/

        Thank you for setting up this fine web site, Stan. Not an active
        site, it may prove useful at some future date for reasons not
        duplicating other web links such as those mentioned above.

        See below for the sign and tribute atop Brockway Mt.; it is a stop-
        off nearly every visit to the area. Hopefully the view gives
        extension, breadth, depth to my own personal 'views'.

        Cordially,
        M. Susan English
        http://hometown.aol.com/suzenglish/myhomepage/profile.html
        __________________________________________________________________
        "THE COPPER COUNTRY
        AN ANCIENT VANISHED RACE MINED NATIVE COPPER HUNDREDS OF YEARS AGO IN
        COUNTLESS PITS AND TRENCHES SCATTERED AMONG THE HILLS FROM COPPER
        HARBOR TO ONTONAGON AND ON ISLE ROYALE. THE EXPLORER, JACQUES CARTIER
        REPORTED IN 1536 THAT INDIANS ON ST. LAWRENCE RIVER TOLD HIM OF GREAT
        HILLS OF NATIVE COPPER FAR TO THE WEST. THE JESUIT, FATHER CLAUDE
        ALLOUEZ, WAS THE FIRST WHITE MAN TO REPORT SEEING COPPER ALONG THE
        SOUTH SHORE OF LAKE SUPERIOR. THIS WAS IN 1666. IN 1971 A COMPANY
        WAS ORGANIZED IN LONDON, ENGLAND WHICH SENT AN UNSUCCESSFUL
        EXPEDITION TO THESE SHORES TO MINE COPPER. A TREATY BETWEEN THE US
        GOVERNMENT AND THE CHIPPEWA INDIANS ON MARCH 12TH, 1843 OPENED THE
        DISTRICT TO MINING. DURING THE SUCCEEDING YEARS, MINES WERE
        DISCOVERED THAT FOR TWO GENERATIONS PRODUCED A LARGE PERCENTAGE OF
        THE WORLD'S COPPER. THE FIRST SUCCESSFUL MINE WAS THE CLIFF MINE NEAR
        PHOENIX ON US 41. IT WAS LOCATED IN 1844. THE CONGLOMERATE LODE AT
        CALUMET PRODUCED OVER 4,000,000,000 LBS. OF COPPER AND PAID OVER
        $160,000,000 IN DIVIDENDS. SCATTERED ALONG U.S. 41 AND M-26 YOU WILL
        FIND ROAD-SIDE MARKERS THAT RECORD ONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE
        GHOST MINES IN WHICH THEHOPES, THE AMBITIONS AND THE FORTUNES OF A
        TOUCH AND HARDY GROUP OF PIONEERS LIE FOREVER BURIED. WE PAY TRIBUTE
        TO THEIR MEMORY. iT WAS THEIR COURAGE AND CONFIDENCE THAT LED TO THE
        ENRICHMENT OF MANKIND. IN THE PURE AIR AND THE SCENIC BEAUTY OF
        KEWEENAW LAND WE HAVE AN "ORE BODY" THAN CAN NEVER BE "MINED OUT." wE
        INVITE YOU TO SHARE IT WITH US AND WISH FOR YOU A PLEASANT AND
        MEMORABLE VISIT." (signed by the Keweenaw County Road Commission).
        _________________________________________________________
        --- --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, "minnesotastan"
        <minnesotastan@...> wrote:
        >
        > from the BBC -
        >
        > http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5398850.stm
        >
        > (text here in case the link dies --
        >
        > Early humans followed the coast
        > By Paul Rincon
        > Science reporter, BBC News
        >
        > Learning how to live off the sea may have played a key role in the
        > expansion of early humans around the globe.
        >
        > After leaving Africa, human groups probably followed coastal routes
        to
        > the Americas and South-East Asia.
        >
        > Professor Jon Erlandson says the maritime capabilities of ancient
        > humans have been greatly underestimated.
        >
        > He has found evidence that early peoples in California pursued a
        > sophisticated seafaring lifestyle 10,000 years ago.
        >
        > Anthropologists have long regarded the exploitation of marine
        > resources as a recent development in human history, and as
        peripheral
        > to the development of civilisation.
        >
        > This view has been reinforced by a relative lack of evidence of
        > ancient occupation in coastal areas.
        >
        > But that view is gradually changing; genetic studies, for example,
        > suggest a major early human expansion out of Africa occurred along
        the
        > southern coastline of Asia, leading to the colonisation of Australia
        > 50,000 years ago.
        >
        > Shifting sea levels since the last Ice Age, combined with coastal
        > erosion, would have erased many traces of a maritime past, Professor
        > Erlandson explained.
        >
        > "The story of human evolution and human migrations has been
        dominated
        > by terrestrial perspectives," the University of Oregon researcher
        told
        > BBC News.
        >
        > "I grew up on the coast and I always thought this didn't make much
        > sense. Coastlines are exceptionally rich in resources."
        >
        > Ancient artefacts
        >
        > Professor Erlandson has carried out extensive excavations on San
        > Miguel Island, off the coast of California, which is known to have
        > been inhabited at least 13,000 years ago.
        >
        > About 100,000 seals and sea lions of six different species live on
        the
        > island. These slow-moving sea mammals would have been easy prey for
        > the island's early human inhabitants.
        >
        > "The big elephant seals weigh over 3,000lbs," he explained. "It has
        > always seemed to me that these were a resource that early humans
        would
        > not want to miss."
        >
        > One of the digs, at Daisy Cave, on San Miguel Island, has yielded
        > about 20 bone "gorges", a form of fish hook.
        >
        > The gorges were covered with bait to be swallowed whole by fish,
        which
        > were then reeled in. These are between 8,600 and 9,600 years old and
        > are associated with more than 30,000 fish bones. They are the oldest
        > examples of such artefacts in the New World.
        >
        > Actually proving such a migration took place is a very
        difficult
        > thing to do because of sea level changes and coastal erosion
        > Jon Erlandson, University of Oregon
        > The researchers have also recovered fragments of knotted "cordage" -
        > woven seagrass - that might have been used to make fishing nets.
        These
        > delicate items were preserved by pickling under layers of ancient
        > cormorant dung.
        >
        > "The preservation is superb, so we interpreted the cordage as
        > 'cut-offs' from the manufacture and maintenance of nets, fishing
        > lines, and other maritime-related woven technologies," Professor
        > Erlandson said.
        >
        > At other sites, the researchers have found barbed points that were
        > most likely used for hunting sea mammals - possibly sea otters. They
        > also unearthed examples of 9,000-year-old basketry as well as
        > 8,600-year-old shell bead jewellery.
        >
        > 'Kelp highway'
        >
        > The findings from Daisy Cave could be consistent with the idea that
        > some of America's first colonists followed a coastal migration route
        > from Asia.
        >
        > Conquering the cold waters of the northern Pacific would have
        required
        > advanced seafaring skills as well as an ability to successfully
        > exploit marine resources.
        >
        > At the height of the last Ice Age, a land mass called Beringia would
        > have connected North-East Asia to North America.
        >
        > Traditionally, the first Americans were thought to be big game
        > hunters, who marched from Siberia across the land bridge to Alaska.
        > Then, they were thought to have travelled south through the Canadian
        > Arctic via an "ice-free corridor" that emerged in the central US.
        >
        > But the earliest signs of human occupation from the ice-free
        corridor
        > date to 11,000 years ago, while California's Channel Islands are now
        > known to have been inhabited at least 13,000 years ago.
        >
        > Professor Erlandson has come up with an alternative theory that
        > maritime peoples from Asia followed forests of kelp to the New
        World.
        >
        > Kelp Forest would have hugged the coastline from Japan up through
        > Siberia to Alaska and down along the Pacific coast of North America.
        > This marine plant grows in rocky, nearshore habitats and cold water
        up
        > to 20C.
        >
        > It creates rich ecosystems, providing habitats for seals, sea
        otters,
        > hundreds of fish species and shellfish. These could have been
        > important sources of food and other resources such as skins for
        early
        > peoples.
        >
        > However, the professor of archaeology says "actually proving such a
        > migration took place is a very difficult thing to do because of sea
        > level changes and coastal erosion".
        >
        > He added: "I think the peopling of the New World was much more
        complex
        > than has traditionally been viewed. I think it probably involved
        > maritime and terrestrial migrations."
        >
        > Jon Erlandson was speaking at the Calpe Conference 2006 in
        Gibraltar.
        >
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