Unsettled Age For American Early Habitation

I thought I knew about the ‘really old’ sites in America indicating some habitation by humans prior to the “consensus” view of about 11,000 to 15,000 years ago. There are some cave deposits on the East Coast that look a bit earlier. There are some preserved burned wood deposits in what look like camp fire rings in parts of South America from 20,000 or so years BP. Not a lot, and not enough to prove much, but enough to make it a legitimate question to ask if folks were here a few thousands of years earlier than accepted, and suggest that it might be possible it was 10,000 ish years.

Then I run into something that just turns that all upside down.

It isn’t just some newly found pile of rocks or chunk of old leather and a bone fragment; found by some amateur. No, this an official archaeological dig with a very big name attached to it: Louis Leakey.

The site is named “The Calico Dig” and it is old. Very old. Very very old. 50,000 to 200,000 years old kind of old. We’re talking Homo Erectus kind of old. In North America.

This, as you might expect, caused me to pause for just a while. How could you have a site with such import, attached to such a “Name”, and even in my own back yard here in California, and you just don’t hear a peep about it?

They have a rather good web site that tells you all you could want to know:

The main entry is here, with a nice picture of a representative artifact:

http://www.calicodig.org/

There is an audio archive, an image gallery, and this text presentation:

http://www.calicodig.org/text

It has 19 “pages” listed. For some, the title has the hot cells so you can click it to get the link. For most, it’s just the page NUMBER that is a live link, so you must put the cursor on the number to see the page. I’ve barely started reading it. So far just a few of the pages.

One that caught my eye was number 16: Louis Leakey’s Perspectives on the Calico Site

http://www.calicodig.org/text/16

Perspectives on the Calico Site

THE PROBLEMS OF CALICO: SOME BACKGROUND THOUGHTS

by Louis S.B. Leakey (excerpted from Dr. Leakey’s keynote address at the International Conference on the Calico Mountains Excavations held in San Bernardino, California, October 22-25, 1970)
[…]
One of the most striking things about the Calico specimens, even with the cortex flakes, is that, almost without exception, they are not flakes struck off a piece of chert of poor quality. They are flakes struck off a selected piece of chert, or a piece of jasper. There are other materials besides chert and jasper available in that deposit, and mostly they do not have flakes removed from them, except for a few of limestone. This selectivity is something nature never does. Nature splits off flakes at random. Man knocks off flakes for a specific purpose.

The next thing I wish to consider is an important one indeed; that is the problem of age. I have consistently refused to say more about Calico than that it is over 50,000 years old, and I have consistently warned the crew that it might be a great deal more. The safe thing is to say that it is over fifty thousand years beyond the range of carbon dating. I know that there are those who believe the fan is so old that it couldn’t contain artifacts. That I don’t believe, because the artifacts are there! The possibility of a great age should not interfere with the interpretation of facts.

Yeah, more than 50,000 years beyond carbon dating…

The antiquity of the deposits is one fact. The second is that it contains specimens that certainly look as though they are man-made, I don’t think that anyone who sees the total assemblage, or even the representative assemblage I put out for your examination, will not be impressed by the evidence. I suggest that you should consider all the factors and see what it says to you. And I tell you I believe it represents unquestionable evidence that man was living at the time this particular part of the fan was accumulating and being built up.

What this means in the terms of the age of man in the Americas we’ve got to resolve. There cannot be conflict between geological truth and artifact truth, and consequently we’ve got to find how to accommodate the two.

Now that is a real scientist speaking.

The page has much more in it. The form and character of the words alone are worth the read. But when a man like Leakey says there are very old hominid tools in a place, you pretty much have to listen.

Several of the pages complain about compatibility with my plugin for something or other. Don’t know if that is because it’s an old site, or because I’m using old plugins. At any rate, be advised… but the text seems to still display OK for me.

On the intro page it gives a good idea what ‘the beef’ is with the ‘consensus folks’:

About This Site

One of the most controversial archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere is located in the Mojave Desert of California, near the town of Barstow. The site, in low hills east of the Calico Mountains, displays evidence for the presence of tool-making humans in the Americas some 200,000 years ago, far earlier than any Western Hemisphere site that has been accepted by the majority of the archaeological community. The Calico site has been developed since 1964 by Ruth DeEtte Simpson with the active involvement of Louis B. Leakey, one of archaeology’s greatest names, famed for his pioneering work on the African Paleolithic at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.
[…]
Controversy centers on two issues: the authenticity of the Calico lithic artifacts and the age of the deposits in which the artifacts are found. At present, more than 11,000 inferred chert and chalcedony tools and detached flakes have been recovered from trenches and pits up to 10 meters deep, excavated in alluvium and fanglomerate cemented to an almost rocklike state by calcium carbonate either leached downward from the surface or deposited by capillary rise from an ancient high water table. The artifacts identified range from crude choppers, scrapers, and handaxes to delicate gravers, reamers, and burins. There is a conspicuous absence of spear or projectile points in any form, suggesting that the artifacts were those of a culture based on collecting rather than the pursuit of large animal prey.

The objective of this internet site is to permit interested parties to view the controversial Calico Site specimens, to answer specific questions about them and their geological context, and to open an informed dialogue about their origin and wider implications.
[…]
A much more appropriate comparison is with the crude choppers, scrapers, and hand axes of the Old World Paleolithic (Acheulean, Clactonian, etc.), well illustrated in Francois Bordes’ “The Old Stone Age,” or by Googling “Acheulean” (see “image results”). Looking at 200,000-year-old tool assemblages from well-authenticated Old World sites, one sees that Old World Paleolithic tools are, in fact, the very tools unearthed at Calico. Observers familiar only with the North American Neolithic toolkit of refined arrowheads and spear and dart points, will not easily recognize Paleolithic artifacts, which include no projectile points at all. Before assessing the Calico material, such observers should consult illustrations of accepted 200,000-year-old artifacts–the Old World Paleolithic.

In fact, the Calico Site appears to open the door to the New World Paleolithic!!!

I’ll leave the rest of that site for folks to explore on their own. The “punch line” here is simply that we’ve got a deposit of paleolithic style tools, in a paleolithic age bed, in a place I’ve driven past a dozen times in the last 20 years and never even knew existed. Sheesh…

There is even a YouTube video from a proposed TV show (that, one presumes, didn’t make it). The presenter doesn’t do a very good job of explaining the ‘control pit’. What it ought to have lead with is that if there are NO artifacts in a ‘control site’ in the same geology, it is likely NOT a natural geologic process making the artifacts. He spends a while describing the ‘control pit’ before finally getting around to how to understand it… But it does let you see the place:

He also puts emphasis on the amateur dig nature, but does not mention the site was funded under Leakey and only moved to volunteer status after Dr. Leakey died and funding dried up with his passing…

A couple of other links:

http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/earlyhum/earlyman.htm

That UCR is University of California Riverside – my Son’s school. It has a ‘top text’ and links to more detail. The top layer has some interesting points in it:

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).

Well, how do people who were not supposed to be here yet; draw pictures of animals that were supposed to be extinct when they got here?

But never mind, there is a consensus that they weren’t here, so just forget about it /sarcoff>.

http://www.meetup.com/Friends-of-Calico-Early-Man-Site/

Is the “Friends of Calico” site …

Because of the potentially ancient age of the artifacts, The Calico Early Man Site has always been highly controversial in the field of archaeology. But new data revealed at other more recently excavated sites makes Calico’s evidence more plausable.

Well, that’s nice to hear!

The complex geology of the surrounding area and the site itself makes dating by stratification techniques difficult if not impossible. Future planning for thermoluminiscent age dating on some of the older artifacts is in progress, but for now all we know is that they are remotely ancient. Many artifacts found at this quarry site likely predate the Clovis Era, putting it in the class of only a small handful of sites in all of the Americas of that age. This is Calico Early Man Site’s singular value and its contribution to science and world heritage.

Friends of Calico was founded to provide a place for the public to participate in an archaeological dig while promoting scientific discovery of the origins of man.

At the site you will: learn how to dig an archaeological site and record your findings; be trained to distinguish man-made artifacts from natural geofacts; hear varied lectures about geology, astronomy, flintknapping, early man, and related cultural topics; help preserve and manage a unique archaeological site.

This environment is dry desert, 1 1/2 mile up a graded road from Highway 15 that runs between San Bernardino and Las Vegas, off Minneola Road in Yermo, California.

The archaeological pits are a 1/4 mile walk up a maintained trail. Depending on the number of people volunteering, you may work in the pits, help maintain the site, or enjoy discovering the local flora and geology with other Friends of Calico.

Although there is no cost to participate in the digging or other volunteer efforts, you may purchase a membership to Friends of Calico, a non-profit organization, for only $25 a year which finances the ongoing scientific investigation.

You will have great fun, meet other interesting volunteers, get exercise, learn about multiple disciplines through lectures, and promote the understanding of the history of man.

I think I’ll plan on stopping in to help a bit next time I’m passing by on my way to Texas or Florida…

The site has discussions further down and schedules for events and digs.

Now I’m sitting here wondering just why this isn’t better known? It’s not like Leaky didn’t know a napped chopper when he saw one or was a nube just out with a shovel and a dream. At any rate, it looks to me like the forces of “consensus” are doing their best not to be proven wrong and have no interest in looking at evidence to the contrary, even when you can just go out and dig it out of the ground yourself…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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16 Responses to Unsettled Age For American Early Habitation

  1. PhilJourdan says:

    Fascinating! But I noted one glaring omission. No bones. So what we do know is that some interesting tools far predate what is generally accepted as the earliest habitation of man of the Americas. What we do not know is who created them. They have already found 2 distinct hominid species in Europe (Cro Magnon and Neanderthal), so there may well have been another species native to the Americas that gained in intelligence, and then died out during a cataclysm. Fodder for science fiction movies and books, and well worth watching for further developments.

  2. P.G. Sharrow says:

    WAY COOL! pg

  3. H.R. says:

    I don’t see why not. These people may have passed on the “travel” gene to the Celts, for all we know. Someone needs to do more digging in 200,000-years old dirt if any more evidence is to be found.

    I wonder if the “consensus” stops digging when they hit 15,000-years old dirt?

  4. adolfogiurfa says:

    Stories of old and sense-less consensus.
    Two engraved columns at the bottom of the pacific:

    Pyramids before Egypt pyramids: http://www.zonacaral.gob.pe/2011/main.php
    An old civilization:
    http://www.granpaititi.com/index.php?id=147&lang=en

  5. Jason Calley says:

    That looks to be quite an extensive dig! I can only imagine the sheer amount of labor invested over the years! I remember reading years ago that Leakey was a supporter of the idea that humans were in California some hundreds of thousands of years ago — but the author of the article implied that (and I paraphrase), “Perhaps Dr. Leakey has passed the prime of his scientific and deductive powers…”

    Of course, one problem with paleolithic tools is that many of them are only marginally identifiable as worked stone. Often, only a well trained eye can spot the differences that identify a tool from a naturally chipped stone.It is always easy for someone determined to ignore them to say “Just random fractured stones” after a superficial examination. A certain amount of that is justified. Place a bag full of cherty stones in the middle of a dirt road. Let traffic run over the bag for a day or two. Examine stones. Any bets on whether you will find some apparent worked stones in there? As PhilJourdan says, “no bones!” For better or worse, that is what it would take to convince a lot of people. Either bones, or a collection of tools which look more altered and not quite so natural. As the climatologists would say, “More funding is needed!” Let us hope that the Calico dig gets some of that income stream. Looks like they deserve a chance!

    Even with just a few positively identified hand worked stone tools, there is always the fall back explanation, “Suppose two African swallows from Olduvai determined to carry a chopping stone to California. Now with a bit of string and a fierce storm…”

    By the way, very interesting bit about the Ojibwa and also the Indiana site. Looks like Google time. Darn you, E.M.! To many interesting bits of yarn to track down!

  6. George says:

    Something else to keep in mind is that a lot of potential settlement locations are currently under water. Early people would likely have settled close to the ocean. In places like the East Coast, the coastal plain can extend over 100 miles to the continental shelf. All of that land would have been above water and likely extremely fertile land. The same would be true of the Newfoundland Banks. That would have been an island of land larger than today’s Newfoundland all above water. It would have been flat land and while it does become inundated with salt water during interglacial periods, a few hundred years above water with rain washing out the salt leaves decent soil. It would start as salt marsh, then bog, and then finally flat plains over the centuries as the water recedes.

    As the ice ages tend to end abruptly, these areas likely fairly quickly flooded forcing migrations of tribes inland. Of particular concern to them would have been meltwater pulse 1A. These lands were quite flat with only a very gradual slope to the sea. About 14,000 years or so ago the sea rose some 60 feet within only a couple of centuries. This is a short enough time for people to still hear stories passed from great-grandparents of tribal lands now under water miles out to sea (no wonder we have so many “flood” stories in so many cultures). It probably caused great turmoil, too, as tribes were pushed inland into land possibly inhabited by other tribes.

    There are likely many points of early habitation which are now lost to the sea.

  7. kuhnkat says:

    When consensus meets facts, the rotating assembly mixes the horizontal projectile.

    Firstly, there is no way of PROVING radio dating. It is ALL assumptions. The main assumption is that you know how much material was there to begin with. The next assumption is that there was no significant disturbance to the amount or composition fo this material during the period involved. The last major assumption is that the half life has been constant over long periods of time. The last assumption would seem to be reasonable, but, not proven as there may be conditions that change the decay rate of material. The first and second assumption there is simply no way of ever knowing.

    Assuming that the dating is in the ballpark we then have next issue. We KNOW that civilization has gone from the stone age to our current civilization in less than 20,000 years, at least that is what the consensus tells us. There is no reason to believe that humans ability to think have changed without changes in the DNA. Our DNA does not appear to have had significant changes in over twice that period. Why wouldn’t man have developed an advanced civilization prior to the current period if it was around 100,000 years old??

    Of course there are the Indian Vedas and other early history that suggests older more advanced civilizations. Maybe true. Maybe not. Who hasn’t heard of Atlantis?? The kicker is that the civilizations do not need to look anything like our current one as humans may have gone in a slighlty or hugely different direction. We simply do not know, yet, Consensus Science will do its best to smash you if you try and bring forward data and theories that they do not accept.

    There are quite a number of reasonable bits of data that would seem to show that humans coexisted with dinos. The fundamental question is whether it was jundreds of thousands or millions of years ago or is the dating imagination and the dinos and humans were coexistent in more recent times!!

  8. kuhnkat says:

    George,

    there is quite a bit of work on underwater archaeological sites. Some of them are amazing. Areas in the Meditteranean, off Spain in the Atlantic, between Okinawa and Japan, a recent find west of Cuba about a half mile down… Of course, postulating that the end of the ice age is what inundated them brings us up against how old these relatively advanced civilizations were or how poorly we can date things!! The consensus simply doesn’t want to address these issues.

    http://www.semissourian.com/story/74354.html

  9. kuhnkat says:

    Here is a possible explanation for why Zelitsky hasn’t come up with more information on the underwater discovery after all this time!!

    http://www.insidecaledon.com/news/200912688-caledon-woman-arrested-for-fraud-in-mexico/

    (the fraud doesn’t appear to be associated with the underwater city)

  10. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Watch the 1st 20min of this or so. About the lady in Mexico who found evidence of people in Mexico over 50,000 years ago, then she lost her job and the site was closed down….

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    @PhilJourdan:

    Bones don’t survive as well as rocks, but yes, we need bones to know if it was Homo Erectus or Homo “Americanus”…

    @H.R.: Typically, yes. It’s one of the less subtle forms of self confirmation bias. It takes someone looking for ‘something else’ in the older strata to ‘stumble on’ an OOPART and make waves about it. (Out Of Place ARTifact). So some guy digging for old camel bones finds a human tool or bone and says “Hey, look at this!”. Then his ‘dig quality’ gets reamed as he “must have screwed up”. Given that a lot of folks looking for camel bones don’t know what paleolithic tools look like anyway, a lot of stuff just gets ignored…

    So were I putting in a request for funding for a human oriented dig, the folks handing out money would be very unlikely to fund twice as much digging just because I wanted to see if it really was true that nothing was there…

    And if I ‘make the case’ then I’m spending my reputation on a silly non-consensus lark…

    @Adolfo: Interesting links. “odd” stuff has been found in the Atlantic near Cuba too…

    @Jason Calley: You are welcome! ;-) Report back in when you’ve finished your research ;-)

    @George: Not lost, just time to get that degree in underwater archeology ;-) Seriously, though, folks are starting to do just that. Taking cores. Dragging nets. Sending down divers. Besides, we have to leave something for the guys in 2000 years to discover (when the next ice age starts exposing those sites to erosion and washing the mud of ages away …)

    @Kuhnkat:

    I think it is all due to beer. We have the Sumerian records stating that they made beer, used it for payment, and taught barbarians to be civilized by introducing them to beer. So as long as we didn’t know about beer, we were happy to just hunt, fish, and ‘live off the land’. Once we discovered beer making, well, that took a LOT more grain than The Mrs. could gather, and more time in one place to dry and ferment it. The rush to ‘civilization’ and agriculture began… But not Before Beer…

    In reality, there were many ‘pre-modern’ human types ( I may put up a map of them) and it’s quite possible that most of them were nearly as smart as we are. Heck, I think elephants may be smarter than us… Smart does not mean you feel the need to make a city. Lions are VERY smart… Orca (killer whale) are very smart and have clear language use (there are 3 different cultures off the California cost with different ‘vocalizations’. One has learned how to kill skates and sharks…. and it looks like once one member learns something it tells the others…) So I’d suggest being very careful about leaping to the conclusion that some physical change lead to ‘modern life’…

    Oh, and don’t forget that there have been many very catastrophic events over the eons. Plenty of time for an extirpation event for early humans on one continent and repeated ‘replacements’ from another. So Homo Erectus could have made it here, then been extirpate via comet strike or new disease or “super tiger”… leaving a ‘blank’ in the geology from 200,000 to 20,000 years ago… We’ve also only recently started to work out that the genetics of South America confirm some pottery and other indications of a Japanese arrival some very long time ago when a major volcano blew in Japan… So just how long ago did folks first start using boats? From that moment forward, any continent might get a small band of ‘survivors’ show up for a while…

    The ‘settled science’ likes to pretend that boats only started with the Egyptians about 3000 to 4000 BC. But the ones we’ve dug up in the sands of the desert are VERY advanced in design. You don’t do that as your first boat… My best guess would be at a minimum we had boats 10,000 years BC and most likely 20,000+ BC. (It doesn’t take much to figure out that a log floats and tying a couple of them together is easier to sit on…) We’ve got Aboriginals in Australia for 50,000 years. I don’t think they swam…

    In reality, we have a ‘shared fantasy’ about what happened in the past, and it is very thin and based on nearly nothing. Yet it is defended tooth and nail against anyone who would suggest it isn’t perfect in its vision…

    That’s part of why I think the DNA work is ‘way cool’. It’s showing things like that “bronze age scandinavian” genetic contribution to American Indians that pretty much says someone was crossing the ocean in the Bronze Age… IMHO, people have been running all over this planet for most of the last glacial. (Things were closer then, in sea miles). But those sea landings would not be made at the mountain sides where our present shore sits…

  12. R. de Haan says:

    Mmm, just watched this video from IceAgeNow.

    I don’t take everything for granted, just taking notice of the observations involving sites in the US and Australia and the link of early men with extinction events that has been part of the aboriginal mythology

    http://evolutionaryleaps.com/2011/11/darwin-got-it-wrong-says-australian-archeologist-video/

    Hard to tell what those early aboriginal populations experienced approx. 15.000 years ago in the Daring river Delta.
    It must have been extreme Northern light with a sudden change in temprature or an event from outer space that took out huge parts of the population, flora and fauna and suficient survivors to tell the story.
    or a combination of different disasters.

    At least there is another view to be tested that divides facts from fiction.

    But that was the general idea in the first place wasn’t it?

    In the mean time Space Weather reports about GROUND CURRENTS IN NORWAY: A solar wind stream is buffeting Earth’s magnetic field and this is causing electrical currents to flow in the earth itself at high latitudes. Rob Stammes sends this report from the Polarlightcenter in Lofoten, Norway: “Today, a magnetic disturbance began around 12.00 UTC. The [shaking of Earth’s magnetic field] induced a ground current around our observatory: data. This is a good sign that we will see Northern Lights
    tonight.”

    Must be beautiful to watch.

  13. Pascvaks says:

    Thoughts:

    The Garden of Eden was thought to be to the East and the Western Hemisphere is about as far East as you can get.

    Cavemen lived in Caves. Look for Caves.

    People like the beach, always have, always will. Look for caves near old time beaches. If you’re going underwater, look for caves that weren’t always under water.

    Necessity is the Mother of Modern Man and Abundance is one of the Fathers. Idle minds and full stomachs make people lazy, loving and sexy; over population (a relative concept), greed and war make them inventive.

    There simply must be a connection between Galactic Gravity Waves and steller and planetary vibrations, especially the “good” ones;-)

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    @Pascvaks:

    Cue Beach Boy Music… “Good, Good, Good, … Good Vibrations… ” ;-)

  15. Jerry Franke says:

    E.M., this post has really piqued my curiosity since I have a passionate interest in the search for pre-Clovis settlement in the Americas. Like you, the site was below my radar.

    From page 16 of their website:
    “There are two questions at Calico, and the two, if they are both true, must fit each other, because truth cannot conflict with truth. The first truth is that you have a fan of very considerable age. It may possibly be of more than one age, but nevertheless, even the younger part of the true fan is not young in terms of American prehistory. One problem that we have to solve is the probable age of that part of the fan that is yielding the artifacts.”

    Why haven’t they dated any of the layers? The last page of text on their website indicates that the site is still an active dig.

    I found a history of this lithic “industry”:
    1996 Warren, Claude N.; THE MANIX LAKE LITHIC INDUSTRY IN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
    http://www.scahome.org/publications/proceedings/Proceedings.09Warren.pdf

    Extract from the abstract: “The Manix Lake Lithic Industry contained percussion flaked bifaces, cores, choppers, scrapers, and waste flakes. Although Simpson’s claim of Paleolithic similarities probably detracted from her argument, the Lake Manix complex was more difficult to reject than the Texas Street material because everyone agreed that the items that made up the Manix Lake Industry unquestionably were artifacts.”
    My reading of Warren could not confirm whether the “unquestionable artifacts” were from the 200,000 year old deposit.
    The failure to, or inability to, date the artifacts suggests to me that the operators are perpetuating a myth. Yet they keep digging. How much digging do you have to do to come up with a date?

    Then I found this which seems to contradict the foregoing.:
    Bischoff, J.L., R.J. Shlemon, T.L. Ku, R.D. Simpson, R.J. Rosenbauer, & F.E. Budinger, Jr.
    1981 Uranium-series and Soils-geomorphic Dating of the Calico Archaeological Site, California. Geology 9(12): 576-582.
    http://geology.gsapubs.org/content/9/12/576.abstract
    Abstract Lithic specimens identified as artifacts have been recovered from near the base of the Yermo fan deposits at Calico, California. The soil on the fan surface is a strongly developed relict paleosol. Comparison of this soil with dated paleosols elsewhere in the southwestern United States suggests that the surface is about 80,000 to 125,000 yr old. Clasts near the base of the deposit are well cemented by laminated CaCO3 that probably formed from groundwater action while the fan was still active. Uranium-thorium assays on the CaCO3 indicate an age of 200,000 yr.
    This 1981 Bischoff, et al dating predates the Warren history but was not mentioned by him.
    I couldn’t find any abstracts or reports of the two Debenham, N.; 1998 & 1999 Thermoluminescence Dating studies to confirm the age of the artifact deposits.

    I watched several videos of the Calico site custodian – not once did he cite this dating as proof of the age of the artifacts.
    There has been a lot of papers written that denigrate the site and the characterization of the finds as “artifacts”. Most of those were written before the more recent dating was performed. With its past history however, most budding archaeologists will avoid this paleolithic site like the plague. Established archaeologists tread very lightly whenever pre-Clovis is discussed. I personally have doubts that Clovis could have arrived in the Americas as a fully developed tradition without some precursor. What that precursor was needs to be confirmed at several sites.

  16. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jerry Franke:

    Dating is pretty darned hard.

    The rocks are of an age different from when they were turned into artifacts.
    “Stuff” moves through soils, so “contamination” can be large.
    The soils in fans can get turned over and mixed up (the place where they talk about multiple or mixed dates).
    etc.

    So to say they don’t have A date is not to say “it isn’t provably old”.

    Elsewhere on the site you can find a discussion by Leakey where he points out that, basically, the minimum age is 50,000 years, so that’s the most he will say, but then he adds that they are likely much older.

    Just to give one example: Those carbonate deposits they mention. They come from water. How old was that event? Is it the SAME as the artifacts?

    In an ideal world, you find “stuff” with the artifacts that can be dated. In the real world you find a lot of other “stuff” too than confounds the dating. Even things like trying to date the oxidation or ion exposure of a flaked edge: If it was not laying on the surface, what was the environment of that chemical or cosmic ray ion exposure? Under 1 foot of soil, or under 100?

    So we know this stuff is REALLY old, we just don’t know which date…

Comments are closed.