Brown, Clifford MVN wrote:
> The fact that the evidence suddenly
> becomes acceptable when it is published by a North American only emphasizes
> how pointedly the prior evidence was ignored or or was "discredited" by
> being subjected to tests that would not normally have been applied to
> archaeological description and reporting.
Like what? That there be real material culture in demonstrably good
context associated with reliable dates, actually published in venues
where it can be reviewed? As mentioned, I'm a pre-Clovis kind of guy
(never liked that ice-free corridor argument). I've got an electron spin
resonance date on a pleistocene horse tooth that *could* be 20,000 years
old, associated with a chert flake. But the context isn't good (there
is some evidence for disturbance, plus the esr date doesn't *rule out* a
much later date), so I cannot in good conscience make the claim that
people lived in Fort Wayne Indiana 20,000 BP. If I put that evidence
forward, people would, rightfully, reject it.
Actually, Scotty MacNeish (a long-time North American) has argued for
decades about a great antiquity of New World occupation and his evidence
has been dismissed by many as not being adequate. It's his data, not
his nationality, that matters. Pedra Furada certainly has not been
ignored, (check out any recent North American Prehistory textbook) it's
simply not been accepted completely yet. If it stands up to scrutiny, it
You've ignored my main fact, which is that published data from all but
Monte Verde are either incredible, or open to alternative explanation.
The fact is, many of us (who again, are just as keen as not to have a
preclovis occupation) simply have not been presented with much in the
way of good evidence. We have seen literally dozens of sites put
forward as being preClovis, and most have failed after close scrutiny.
We now have several good candidates.
>> Processualism has a very strong theoretical bias against diffusion
> as an explanation.
Diffusion is not an explanation, if by explanation you mean WHY did
things change. It is a description of how--but not of why (e.g. Why do
find agricultural products after time X?--Because agricultural products
were adopted by the people.--That is not, in itself, an explanation).
Morover, you're ignoring the fact that you are wrong in your
characterization of how migration/diffusion events have been accepted or
not accepted in north american archaeology. I think I've provided enough
examples, but could provide more: e.g., Mesoamerican/North American
contacts. Most people acknowledge good evidence in the American
Southwest, but not for Mississippian east of the Mississippi River
(although as an alternative hypothesis, it certainly has been around and
is still being discussed in the literature). Here's another: the spread
of bow and arrow technology from the arctic through Canada across the
American plains. I could provide many, many others.
> I really don't wish to offend, but the heated quality of your
> response might make one think that there is more than dispassionate
> scientific reasoning at work.
Actually, my remarks weren't (and aren't) written 'in heat'. They
simply are, I suggest, very strong refutation of your comments. You
don't seem to know North American literature very well, and are making
sweeping statements that are simply in error. If I sound pedantic, I
apologize. It comes from teaching North American prehistory for the
last 20 years--teaching, by the way, that has changed dramatically over
the years as new data have warranted. I've done 180 degree turns on
issues such as preClovis occupations (became a preClovis sympathiser in
the late 80s, convinced in the mid 90s), maize in Hopewell sites
(accepted it in the early 90s), and several other matters in that time.
However, my politics, ethics, and feelings towards the French and Latin
Americans (or Brits or Germans or Hoosiers for that matter) haven't
altered much that I can tell.
"If you think you've become a person of some influence, try orderin'
someone else's dog around." --Cowboy's Guide to Life
Robert J. Jeske, Ph.D.
Department of Anthropology
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53201
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