THE SEARCH FOR EARLY HUMANS
Erich Fred Legner
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This site records efforts and recent findings in the quest for traces of the earliest human colonizers in America and to determine whether one of our distant ancestors, Homo erectus, also dispersed into America.
Estimates of the earliest dates of human colonization in America area have traditionally varied between 12,000-16,000 BP, the latter occurring at Monte Verde, Chile. These have been based largely on the presence of a unique American invention, the Clovis Point. However, recent mitochondrial DNA data point to much earlier dates being possible, e.g., 40,000 BP. These data reveal three or four distinct migrations of humans to the Americas, and a fifth mysterious migration indicated from data collected among the Ojibwa Amerindian group in the Great Lakes region of North America. This group, called “X” had obtained genetic variation that is found in certain areas of northern Europe, which may have been contributed by copper-seeking Scandinavians at the end of the Bronze Age (see Bronze). Although archeological evidence and remains of prehuman Homo erectus are known from Eurasia, Africa and Asia, none has been verified in The Americas. This may be due in part because specific searches for such evidence are few in America. Nevertheless, recent findings are revealing the possible existence of tools and other artifacts left by Homo erectus. One site in San Bernardino County, California, The Calico Dig, has come up with suspicious findings, albeit they are difficult to verify (Dr. D. Simpson, personal communication).
There are ongoing discoveries in Midwestern and Eastern North America of Homo sapiens occurrence that are of great interest. For example, a site in Indiana contains obvious points, and flaked chips, some so-called “microchips” and a couple of axe heads, many with stylized patterns and consistent markings and carvings that do not seem to be attributable to natural causes [see Indiana Site]. There are many stones with 1-2 cm. carved shapes of humans, animals and possibly some primitive writings. Numerous carvings of the American Lion (see Lions), the American horse and cameloids point to an early Pre-Classic date for this site. Yet these animals were all presumed to have become extinct by the end of the Pleistocene around 9,000 B.C.! [see Extinct]. A site along the Savannah River of southern United States is producing dates that exceed 40,000 BC as well as other sites in South America (see Savannah). There is conclusive evidence for the hunting by humans during the Pleistocene (See: Mammoths, Camelids, & Lions).
It is now well known that “Stick Writings,” some called Ogam, appear all over the North American Continent. The works of Barry Fell have been well documented (See Report) and the recent translation of the Horse Creek Petroglyph in West Virginia by Edo Nyland (See Report) attest to the literacy of people traveling in America during the past several thousand years. Yet these translations are restricted to stationary sites such as petroglyphs appearing on rock faces. There has been no translation of stick writings on smaller stone objects. [Also see Ogam Script]
Bischoff, J. C., M. Ikeya & F. E. Budinger. 1984. TL/ESR study of the hearth feature of the Calico archeological site,
California. Amer.Antiquity, Wash., DC. 49(4): 764-774.
Simpson, R. D. 1969. A search for Pleistocene archeological evidence in the Calico Mountains of eastern California.
Tech. Rept., Wash., D.C.
Simpson, R. D. 1983. Introduction to early man in the West. ASA Journal Redlands 7(1): 11-17.
Simpson, R. D. 1989. An introduction to the Calico early man site lithic assemblage. San Bernardino Co. Mus. Assoc.,
Relands, CA. Vol. 36, No. 3.
Simpson, R. D. & C. W. Patterson. 1984. Early man at Calico. Ohio. Arch. 34(3): 4-8.