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Points, skulls, bow and arrows, and boom and bust

6 October 2013

At http://phys.org/print299829375.html … a site on the River Grande in New Mexico, now a dry and arid spot but one a lush wetland, in the Late Pleistocene, has yielded one of the earliest and biggest collections of Clovis stone tools yet found.

At www.livescience.com/40058-snow-reveals-neolithic-bow-arrow.html … a melting patch of snow and ice in Norway has revealed a bow and some arrows left behind by Mesolithic hunter gatherers some 5000 years ago. The archaeologist expresses concern at the warming climate but fails to notice the contradiction – the climate must have been as warm or warmer in the past for them to have been covered in snow or ice. However, the bow itself was only 3800 years old – suggesting it was buried at some time after 1800BC. One of the arrows is said to date back to 3400BC, but what is more interesting is that the design of bow and arrows has a similarity with bows and arrows in the Yukon (on the other side of the Arctic Ocean). People could not have migrated that far – could they?Hence, the archaeologist implies it is an accidental similarity – but is that really true as Moe Mandelkehr catalogued some long range movements across the top of the world in the late third millennium BC (published in SIS Review).

At www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24351460 … archaeologists working ahead of the Cross Rail Project in London have come across 20 skulls that are believed to have been washed out of a Roman period cemetery. They were found on what was the old stream of the Walbrook, caught up along the bank otherwise they would have been washed all the way into the Thames. This is something of a coincidence as in the last SIS Review (summer of 2013) Steve Mitchell described previous archaeology found along the Walbrook, including the fact that first to third century Roman London was partly overcome by rising sea levels. It may be that this is what caused the cemetery to be flushed of its skeletal remains, as the bodies would have been buried to a substantial depth.

At www.sciencenews.org/article/Ancient-farming-populations-went-boom-then-bust … which is a glib interpretation of what has been found, the populations of Europe went up and down on several notable occasions. Farming arrived after 6000BC but was interrupted by blips when farming activity appears to have diminished. This coinicided with falls in population – which we have been saying at SIS for quite a number of years. However, the piece claims there is no link between the declines and change in climate – but it would be necessary to read the article in full in order to ascertain where they locate the various booms and busts. Do they coincide with low growth tree ring events?

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