18 AVRIL 2017 NEWS: Orkney - Rocky Fork - Lincoln - Edisto - Alpena -
INSTITUT SUPERIEUR D'ANTHROPOLOGIE
INSTITUTE OF ANTHROPOLOGY
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SPRING TERM : APRIL 2017
ROYAUME UNI – Orkney - Senior Project Manager Nick Card of the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology revealed that the Neolithic people in the Orkney archipelago off of Scotland's northern coast had a "sophisticated society." They had religion, art, home decorations, "formed communities with complex structures," managed farms and knew architecture—all these even before the discovery of metal. They were also "masters of fire" and masters of their environment, environmentalist Malcolm Handoll of Five Senses Eco-Tours told BBC, as he explained that these masteries "allowed them the concept of organised, communal, surplus time - time to erect standing stones, time to create, time to be social." The number of Stone Age excavations in Orkney makes it an archaeological gold mine that nestles the Ness of Brodgar; the stone circle as old as Stonehenge and known as Ring of Brodgar; the Stone of Stenness, which is two centuries older; the Barnhouse Settlement inhabited 5,100 years ago; the 3,000 B.C. prehistoric chambered tomb of Maeshow; and the prehistoric village of Skara Bae. The houses at Skara Bae revealed that the Neolithic people built house insulations and pieces of furniture like built-in stone dressers and stone box beds. Card told BBC that the discoveries proved they "were no different from us. They were just as inventive - and in some ways more inventive" or maybe just the most sophisticated people who ever lived.
USA - Rocky Fork - With Jesse Germeraad, manager of Rocky Fork State Park in neighboring Unicoi County as as their guest speaker, the club received a rundown on plans for construction of the park’s first infrastructure, markers and foot bridges in place along its trails and what scientist have found in their so far in their exploration of the park’s 240-year-old Flint Creek Battle Site. At the battle site where John Sevier and a local militia wiped out a winter encampment of about 130 Chickamauga warriors who had recently wiped out a frontier settlement on the Holston River, Germeraad said an electromagnetic survey did not reveal any relics of the battle or the encampment. Like most flat areas in the surrounding mountains, Germeraad said the battle site was used for agriculture by both Native Americans and settlers, explaining the lack of any trace of the interesting chapter of American history that took place there. But an interesting discovery has been made at the battle site and an area with chemical changes in the soil that indicate a very hot fire has occurred has peaked scientists’ curiosity. “So we’re going to keep the location of that site secret until they can get in there and dig” with hopes of finding bits of Native American pottery that may have been made there, Germeraad said.
ROYAUME UNI – Lincoln Eastern Bypass - The bone would have been butchery waste, as the lower leg and feet of sheep have little value as food. The craftsperson would have cut off the top of the bone, split the upper part of the shaft, and scraped out the marrow cavity to form the tool. The engraved cross and line pattern on the handle provided a grip as well as being decorative. The style of decoration suggests that this is a late medieval, or post-medieval (AD 1500 to 1800) object. It may date from the monastic grange, where monks lived, farmed and reared animals, or perhaps later, when the grange became Sheepwash Grange Farm. Through both periods, sheep would have been reared for meat and wool. The tool was found at the bottom of a well that would have been used as a source of clean water. This type of tool is usually called a corer, and one possibility is that it was used for coring apples.
USA - Edisto Island - At Edisto Island, an irreplaceable past is about to vanish. Tides are sweeping away the prehistoric shell mound on Scott Creek faster than ever seen before in its 4,000 years of existence. It might last only a few more months. The Native American artifact stood more than 15 feet high a hundred years ago and covered a half acre. Today, it's barely 3 feet high and covers little more than a tenth of an acre. During the last Edisto dig in March, archaeologists found something they haven't seen before: a pit dug in the earliest years of the mound. Filled with the shells and other discards, the pit is a mystery at the heart of the mysterious mounds themselves. Why dig a pit when you are piling shells? The shell mound — popularly called the Spanish Mount — sits on a bank along Scott Creek in the Edisto Beach State Park. It's one of more than a hundred found along the Southeast and Gulf coasts. They are remnants of nomadic tribes that date back 12,000 years — the first known people in the Carolinas. Their descendants live here today. The mounds hold a singular cultural history that researchers are still discovering. They were built in patterns that suggest ceremonial feasting or village sites. Shards of pins made out of bones and ornately designed pottery have been found in them.
USA – Alpena - Deep below the chill waters of Lake Huron, scientists have found long-submerged physical evidence that prehistoric peoples systematically and strategically hunted caribou thousands of years ago. Searching 50 miles offshore from Alpena, researchers discovered “drive lanes” — in effect, runways of death that channeled unwitting caribou into the clutches of hidden hunters — and stone hunting blinds where hunters awaited their prey.“Caribou have a thing for linear features. They like following lines,” said scientific researcher Lisa Sonnenburg of the environmental consulting firm Stantec Consulting Inc. in Hamilton, Ontario. “Line stones up in a row and caribou will follow them. It’s something about how their brains work.” Today, scientists and shoreline property owners pay close attention to annual fluctuations of Great Lakes water levels, but water levels between 8,350 and 9,000 years ago were unusually low, according to a newly published study by Sonnenburg and John O’Shea, the curator of Great Lakes archaeology at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. The discoveries came along the limestone-capped Alpena-Amberley Ridge that runs between Alpena and Point Clark, Ontario, 50 to 164 feet below the surface of the lake. There, hunters built the blinds and driving lanes during the last of several post-Ice Age times when the land subsided and rose — a process scientists call isostatic rebound — after the glaciers melted, Sonnenburg said. Lake Huron was completely cut off from Georgian Bay and Lake Michigan. Scientific evidence illustrates how different the climate was when prehistoric hunters preyed and camped along the Alpena-Amberley Ridge. And “some of the most important questions in human prehistory require the investigations of submerged landscapes,” the study said At the time, the microclimate there was similar to current subarctic environments where indigenous people still hunt for caribou.