Gault Revolution

18 Jul 2018

At ... Clovis First dominated archaeology for years - but now we have archaeologists exploring below Clovis layers (at Gault near Austin in Texas for example). Here the finds go back to 16,000 years ago, possibly as early as 20,000 years ago at the height of the Late Glacial Maximum. Gone are the days when humans are thought to have been inhibited by the ice sheet in the north. Somehow they got to the Americas - and the evidence is now being taken seriously (instead of being hushed up). The findings are published in Science Advances (July 11th 2018) and the stone tool assemblage is unlike the typical Clovis tool repertoire. They are being hailed as the tools of the earliest inhabitants of North America - but this kind of certainty has egg on its face so might there be more under the layer now being excavated. Gault lies at the head of a valley with springs and outcroppings of chert (ideal for the manufacture of tools).

At ... a theory on the origin of Jomon pottery in Japan. Was early ceramic production closely associated with fishing at the end of the Late Pleistocene period. A 3 year study at York University claims pottery was used by hunter gatherers to store and process fish - such as salmon. Later, it was used to process shell fish and all kinds of freshwater and marine fish and fish like mammals (such as dolphins) as fishing became increasingly more common as new techniques were invented. Part of the evidence comes from food residues found on the pottery. At the moment Japan has the earliest pottery - which does not appear in Europe until the Neolithic period, 8000 years ago - but Jomon pottery goes back twice that number of years.