Scientists find 12,000-year-old fishing gear
There’s antique fishing gear, and then there’s stuff so old that it becomes a historical treasure, offering a glimpse into the lifestyles of ancient civilizations.
This is the case with fishing tools recently discovered by archaeologists in two of the Channel Islands off Southern California.
Searching for signs of an ancient human settlement, they found meticulously crafted spearheads and other artifacts (see photo at right) that date back 12,000 years.
The finds, at three sites on the Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands west of Santa Barbara, support the theory that when the first human traces appeared in archaeological records in North America, there was a coastal culture of the sea that was distinct from the well-known culture. the inner culture of Clovis, which consisted of big game hunters who lived off mastodons and other large mammals.
A 15-member team led by Jon Erlandson of the University of Oregon’s Natural and Cultural History Museum found cut stone tools, used for fishing and hunting, as well as an abundance of seashells and d ‘bones thrown away.
A story about the discoveries appears in the March 4 issue of Science; it was summarized by New Scientist and Science Daily. New Scientist title: “Found: Beautiful American Fishing Gear, 12 Millennia Old.”
In the Science Daily article, Erlandson said, “This is one of the earliest evidence of maritime and maritime adaptations in the Americas, and another extension of the diversity of Paleoindian economies. The points we find are extraordinary. , amazing workmanship. They are ultra thin, jagged and with incredible beards. This is a very sophisticated cut stone technology. “
The sites are believed to have represented seasonal hunting grounds. Prey likely included perch and rockfish, geese, cormorants and other birds, crustaceans and possibly seals, sea lions and otters. Crescent-shaped stones were probably used at the ends of darts to stun birds. Fish and larger marine mammals were harpooned.
Team member Todd Braje, from Humboldt State University, is quoted by New Scientist as saying, “We found some very fine and expertly crafted projectile points and it blew us away that these delicate flint cut points are so old. ”
Most of the tools were different from those discovered at inland Clovis sites on the North American continent, but some of the spearheads were similar, possibly implying that trade existed between cultures.
The recently discovered sites could help scientists learn more about how North America came to be. It is widely believed that people arrived via a land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska, but some scientists believe that sea migration occurred.
Erlandson explained that his team’s discovery supports the idea that the sailors were the first to inhabit North America or that they arrived around the same time as those by land route.
Although the recent discoveries are not the oldest in North America, Braje explained in the New Scientist article that “this pushes the chronology of New World navigation back to 12,000, maybe 13,000 years. migration route took place, or was at least possible. ”
– Pierre Thomas
– The top image shows ancient fishing tools recently discovered by scientists from the Santa Rosa and San Miguel Islands off Southern California. Courtesy of Jon Erlandson. The second image, of Santa Rosa Island, is from Wikipedia
– Editor’s Note: A different version of the article appears on the outside GrindTv blog