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Cross-Cultural Collaboration is an anthology of essays on Native American involvement in archaeology in the northeastern United States and on the changing.
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Collaboration between Archaeologists and Native Americans in Massachusetts: The Conditions of Discourse in Narragansett Country pp. Ancient Burial Grounds on Monument Road: Working with the Abenaki in New Hampshire: The Education of an Archaeologist pp. Archaeologists and the Native People of Maryland pp.

Sites and Places p. Highway Archaeology in Western New York: One Landscape, Multiple Histories pp.

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The Past Is Present: Tribal Consultation in Pennsylvania: Native American Collaboration in the Delmarva: Research and Education p. Case Studies in Collaborative Archaeology: Indigenous Archaeology in Southern New England: Case Studies from the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation pp. From the Ground Up: The Effects of Consultation on Archaeological Methods pp.

Constructing Alliances along the Northern Border: Consultations with Mi'kmaq and Maliseet Nations pp. Today's interior arid plains and deserts were, in the last Ice-Age, a milder, cooler, and considerably wetter region of lush savannas grassland , dense forest, and lakes, swamps, and bogs. Just to the south of the ice sheet's edge were the grasslands, cutting across what is now the Great Plains, the Midwest, and Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Further south was a broad band of boreal forest covering much of the middle part of the United States. In other words the state of Virginia then looked much like southern Labrador today.

Native Americans: Historic Background

Grasslands probably covered much of the lower-altitude lands in the western United States and in Mexico. The coarse savanna grasses sustained large herds of very large herbivorous and exotic wildlife -- Columbian mammoths elephant-like creatures with huge tusks, each weighing on the average six tons and standing nearly fourteen feet high at the shoulder , mastodons, giant bison standing 6 feet tall, and horses and camels. Added to the popoulation of browsers were formidable animals like the Dire worlf, an enormous and now extinct species, and the giant ground sloth, and numerous species of predatory cats.

This remarkable mega-fauna was to perish with the retreat of the glaciers at the end of the Ice-Age. Of course, there also were deer, elk, antelopes, beaver, rabbits, wolves, piglike peccaries, and many other mammalian species along with salmon, sturgeon, trout, pike, whales, sea otters, seals, and innumerable bird species that survive today. This was the environment that greeted many of America's first settlers. Evidence archaeological, linguistic, biological presently available indicates that most ancestors of the Native Americans migrated to the American continents from somewhere in Aisa during the late Pleistocene, or Ice-Age.

However, the questions of when, how, and why are still hotly debated. But what is clear is that at no time was there a large-scale or sustained migration. For the most part the pioneer settlers of the Americas came in small groups, families, and bands over a long period of time. Some came by land, others by water. The migration extended over a period that began perhaps more than 20, years ago and concluded as recently as????? Who Were the First Americans? At present, there is little consensus among scientists regarding the question of the ultimate genetic and geographical origins of the native Americans.

On the basis of the overt physical similarities between American Indians and native populations in northeast Asia, specifically people in Mongolia, Acosta suggested that the Indians ancestors came from there. In he wrote that small groups of hunters, driven from their Asiatic homeland might have followed now-extinct beasts across Asia into America. Contemporary science supports Acosta's theory, more or less.

While scientists do not doubt that the origins of the first Americans lie outside of the Americas, the old idea that populations from northeast Asia were the sole ancestors is coming increasingly under attack. Both archaeological and genetic evidence assembled over the last two decades suggests that there were mulitiple origins for the first Americans. At the end of scientists meet in California and New Mexico to mull over the implications of recently discovered or restudied ancient American skeletons , most of which date between 8, and 11, years ago.

And what they discovered has shaken the foundations of the anthropological communities. Instead of resembling the historically known American Indians, the wide range of skull shapes which have come to light so far display affinities with populations as diverse as the Ainu of Japan, peoples of central Asia, Australasia, India, southwest Asia, even the Neandertals of Europe see Ancestors of the New World Had Multiple Origins for more information about the possible Neandertal connection. Genetic evidence presents a mixed picture regrding the origins of the First Americans.

Some genetic data supports the idea of multiple migrations perhaps as many as four or five of genetically distinctive people coming from several different geographical locations in central Asia, or Indian, perhaps even southwest Asia.

DNA Results of Ancient Native American Mummies - ROBERT SEPEHR

Research carried out by Dr. Schurr, a geneticist at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in San Antonio, Texas, indicated that four genetic lineages present in Native Americans today were brought into the Americas by groups whose origins lie in four separate areas: Schurr's work also suggests that there was a post-Ice Age re-expansion of ancient Beringian populations into northern North America, and that these populations were directly ancestral to modern day Koryaks, Chukchi, and Eskimos in Siberia and the northwestern tip of North America, as well as the Na-Dene Indians, including the Athapaskan speaking populations of western interior Canada and the Navajo of the southerwestern United States.

Native Americans-- North America: Historic Background

For a look at some of the genetic research surrounding the origins question, go to The American Journal of Human Genetics archive page and download as pdf files the articles mtDNA haplogroup X: Other questions concerning the Native Americans' origins center on the routes and transportation methods used in their long journey. Most scientists believe that the first Americans crossed into North America by either walking across a now-submerged "land bridge" which connected Alaska with Siberia during the last Ice Age, or made their way by boat, coasting along the land bridge's southern edge.

There are even a few scientists, such as Bruce Bradley and the Smithsonian Institution's Dennis Stafford, who have postulated an Atlantic route. As noted above, at various times during the Pleistocene Ice Ages , vast continental glaciers in places up to two miles thick formed over much of the northern half of North America. Each time the glacial masses reached their maximum extent drawing massive amounts of water out of the ocean and causing a consequent lowering of sea levels worldwide, perhaps as much as feet lower than today , a low-lying land bridge stood where the Bering Strait, the Anadyr Gulf, the northern Bering Sea, and the southern Arctic Ocean now separate northern Asia and Alaska.

This now almost submerged landmass is known to geologists as Beringia only parts of west and east Beringia are dry land today--in Siberia and Alaska , and most archaeologists believe that it provided the major access from Asia into the Americas for the ancestors of the first Americans. It is known that the land bridge appeared and disappeared several times during the Pleistocene: The environment of Beringia ranged from tundra and steppe to woodlands to bogs to marshes, with long cold winters and continual winds, and brief, warm summers. Animals, such as mammoths, giant bixon, caribou, elk, wild sheep, and horses grazed on the Beringian plains, moving east and west in unending cycles in search of food.

Since these animals had been hunted by people all across Europe and Asia since about 75, to , years ago, many anthropologists believe that human hunting bands composed of several extended families living in northeast Asia could have followed the game animals over the cold pains of tundra, grass and sage.

Textile arts of indigenous peoples of the Americas

The flesh of the game animals would have provided the pioneers with food, while their hides were a source of shelter and clothing, and their dung perhaps used in place of firewood. At one time scientists believed that once the hunters reached Alaska, they would have been prevented from moving south into the continental United States because of the glacial complexes in some places up to two miles thick that stretched in an unbroken cover from the Atlantic coast to the mountain ranges of Alaska and British Columbia, and from the southern shores of the Great Lakes to the north polar regions.

Then around 12, radiocarbon years ago the glaciers began to disappear and the bands that had been living in Alaska followed the retreating glaciers, moving eastward into central-western Canada. Once there, they moved southward through an hypothetical "ice-free corridor" that appeared between the receding glaciers of Alaska and British Columbia and those lying eastward in Canada. The concept of an ice-free corridor is a very old one, going back more than 50 years.

At one time it was envisioned as a broad, green, animal filled pathway between the glaciers, a sort of superhighway from Alaska and onto the North American Great Plains. Humans were envisoned as traveling down the east side of the Canadian Rockies into territory of the present-day non-Alaskan United States, then fanning out across the United States: And the idea of an inland route made good sense. For example, at Meadowcroft Rockshelter evidence of human activity has been found as far back as about 14, years ago, and it would not be easy to get from Alaska to western Pennsylvania by boat.

However, not all scientists agree with the ice-free "corridor" hypothesis. Several scientists have argued from paleoenvironmental evidence that an ice-free corridor, if it existed, would have presented a harsh, frigid environment, often flooded, and devoid of biological resources needed for food. And geologists working in Canada have recently demonstrated that an "ice-free corridor" did not exist during the Wisconsin, thus precluding a mid-continenal route for human entry before about 11, radiocarbon years ago 13, calendar years ago. This map is an animation depicting the retreat of glaciers in North America - beginning about 18, years ago.

If your browser supports animated images, you will see the glacial extent changing on the map. If your browser doesn't support animation, you can view the animation by clicking here. While some populations walked across the "land bridge" and perhaps down the ice-free corridor in western Canada, some theorists are beginning to consider the possibility that people migrated to the Americas by walking or boating, see below along the now submerged Beringia coastaline and the continental shelves of North, Central, and South America.

While older ideas stressed that the late Ice-Age glaciers extended down and into the Pacific ocean, in the past few years, scientists working along the Pacific coast of North America have been able to show that Cordilleran glacial complex which formed in western Canada may not have extend all the way into the Pacific Ocean, even during the height of the Late Wisconsin. Indeed, the southern coast of Beringia may have been a more inviting habitat than it's interior. Recent studies have revealed that interior of Beringia was a pretty boggy and soggy place. Though it contained higher elevations, one didn't walk casually dry-shod everywhere on it because it was full of marshes and bayous.

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But it's southern coast was a fine habitat for people, especially people accustomed to living at the edge of the sea and who knew how to harvest the sea and coastal resources. People could have walked along the shore as it then existed, pushing ever farther eastward and then southward, if only out of curiosity. Thus an ice-free "corridor" may always have existed along the Alaskan and Canadian coasts, which would help explain why some of the oldest sites in the Americas are in South, not North America. Furthermore, deglaciation along the Northwest Coast had begun by about 14, years ago 16, calendar years ago and was sufficiently advanced to enable humans using watercraft to colonize coastal areas by 13, years ago 15, calendar years ago.

At Prince of Wales Island off the southern Alaskan coast, excavations in bear dens have revealed the remains of land and sea mammals, birds, and fish dating to this time, demonstrating sufficient resources existed along the coast for people to have survived. It also has been suggested that some of the first immigrants into the Americas came by boat. It is known that by at least 30, years ago people were living in Australia. Since Australia it was never attached to any continental land mass during the Ice Age, the first Australians must have possessed boats.

Somewhat similarly, people living on the shores of the Mediterranean were being to occupy various islands there by at least 18, years ago. Thus, if there were "boat people" living along the shores of northeast Asia toward the end of the last Ice Age, they would have had a well signed waterway into the Americas: When the water was feet lower, those islands would have been almost like the Florida keys.

Fishers with a taste for aquatic birds and mammals could have boated along that route long before their hunting cousins spread up into northeastern Siberia and crossed into Alaska through the Beringian interior. The problem with tracing "boat people" or shore-dwelling walkers is that the evidence of their passing would lie along shores that exist no more, drowned under hundreds of feet of ocean and mud by seas rising as the glaciers melted. Thus, we must infer movement along the now drowned coast from archaeological remains from several places: Other scientists have proposed a migration of boat people from Europe, basing their hypothesis on what they perceive as shared technologies and tool types between Clovis and Solutrean people who lived in France around 18, years ago.

Presumably, European boat people would have used much the same route that the Norse Vikings did thousands or years later around 1, years ago , when they settled in Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland, and the northeastern U. Establishing a time-frame for the earliest migrations into the Americas has proved to be a very difficult problem and remains one of archaeology's thorniest problems. At present, archaeologists are divided into two diametrically opposed camps.

On one side of the time question are those whom their opponents have labelled the "Clovis Firsters," a reference to the Clovis culture, the first fully accepted late Ice-Age culture of North America, as well as one of the best-dated and most wide-spread. At one time archaeologists believe that the Clovis culture spanned thousands of years. However, it is now known that the Clovis era was relatively short-lived, roughly from 11, to 10, radiocarbon years ago 13, - 12, calendar years.


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The Clovis Firsters find the evidence for any occupation of the Americas older than about 11, radiocarbon years extremely shaky on many grounds, and believe humans first arrived in the Americas not more than a few hundred years before the appearance of Clovis. On the other hand there are those who point to sites in South America and in the eastern portion of the United States suggesting human entry into the Americas sometime before 15, calendar years ago, and perhaps before the last glacial maximum some 20, calendar years ago. One of the most compelling sites for early entrance is Meadowcroft Rockshelter , a multicomponent site located southwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The site's excavator, Dr. James Adovasio, has documented a nearly continuous human occupation sequence from the Iroquoian Seneca of the early centuries of English and American occupation all the way back to Clovis times. He claims there also is clear and compelling evidence of human-made fire pits and stone tools close to 14, years old 16, calendar years ago. Meadowcroft is not the only site in North America to produce data on pre-Clovis.

Wilson Butte Cave in south-central Idaho has two radiocarbon dates of 14, and 15, years ago on bone associated with several stone artifacts. And at Pendejo Cave in New Mexico. In South America , archaeogical investigations have revealed the presence of well-adapted populations with varied subsistence patterns who occupied all major environmental zones of the contient by at least 11, radiocarbon years ago 13, calendar years -- before Clovis had spread throughout North America.

For example, the archaeologists Junius Bird conclusively demonstrated that people were living near Magellan Strait, the "uttermost part of the earth," more than 11, calendar years ago, making them contemporary, in part with Clovis. Along the Caribbean coastal zone of Venezuela, people were hunting horse, mastodon, and deer by at least 13, years ago 15, calendar years ago , as evidenced by the site of Taima-taima. Pachamachay , a cave in the Andes, has yielded evidence of camelid hunting at 11, years ago 13, calendar years ago , while at the Peruvian coastal site of Quebrada Jaguay archaeologists have uncovered evidence of a specialized maritime economy dating back to at least 11, years ago 13, calendar years.

Anna Roosevelt has found evidence of a foraging economy dating back to at least 11, radiocarbon years ago 13, calendar years. In addition to these sites, there are numerous other South American sites with dates to Clovis age or several millenia earlier. But the most compelling pre-Clovis site is Monte Verde , a creekside habitation site in south-central Chile. At some point after the inhabitants left the site, rising creek waters covered the site, laying down a deposit of peat which preserved a wide range of items: