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Friday, July 18, 2008

Searching for early Americans

The Pittsburgh-Tribune Review published an article this week, Search for first Americans to plunge underwater, by Allison M. Heinrichs about James Adovasio's participation in an upcoming expedition in the Gulf of Mexico. Unlike many underwater expeditions the attract media attention, Adovasio, the director of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute, won't be searching for wrecked ships--he'll be searching for evidence of early occupation in North America, such as tools or the remnants of the plants and animals that were eaten. And he'll be searching 120 to 360 feet underwater.

He won't be alone; the project is supported by many institutions, including NOAA and the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, which will be sending C. Andrew Hemmings, research associate. An article about Hemming's participation in the project is not just interesting to read, but has links to more information about the Clovis culture that Hemmings and Adovasio are investigating. If you follow the link to the virtual museum exhibit, Clovis Reconsidered, you'll be taken far away from saltwater--far from maritime pursuits--but pursuing the trail of people through remote history is a reminder that the border between the land and the sea is not a solid, defined line. The saltwater moves and changes; the coast today will not be the coast tomorrow. Many lands of our ancestors are submerged today, and the ocean beds when the dinosaurs roamed? The Badlands in the center of a continent.

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