donderdag 5 december 2013

Humans In Mexico 250,000 Years Ago Hunting Mastodons: Hueyatlaco Archaeological Heresy

Humans were hunting mastodons in Mexico 250,000 years ago. This archaeological heresy is supported by finding at Hueyatlaco.

Hueyatlaco is an archeological site in Valsequillo, Mexico. Several potential pre-Clovis localities were found in the 1960s around the edge of the Valsequillo Reservoir, Mexico. One of these localities is the site of Hueyatlaco. This site was excavated by Cynthia Irwin-Williams in 1962, 1964, and 1966.
Of its early excavators Virginia Steen-McIntyre wrote “Hueyátlaco is a dangerous site. To even publicly mention the geological evidence for its great age is to jeopardize one’s professional career. Three of us geologists can testify to that. It’s very existence is blasphemous because it questions a basic dogma of Darwinism, the ruling philosophy (or religion, if you will) of the western scientific world for the past 150 years. That dogma states that, over a long period of time, members of the human family have generally become more and more intelligent.
The Hueyátlaco site is thus ‘impossible’ because Mid-Pleistocene humans weren’t smart enough to do all that the evidence implies. Besides, there is no New World anthropoid stock from which they could have evolved.:

File:High res mastodon rendering.jpg

The Hueyatlaco Archeological Site is situated on the Tetela Peninsula, along the north shore of the Valsequillo reservoir in the State of Puebla, Mexico, approximately 100 km southeast of Mexico City and 10 km south of the City of Puebla.
In the 1960s, highly sophisticated stone tools rivaling the best work of Cro-magnon man in Europe were unearthed by Professor Juan Armenta Camacho and Dr. Cynthia Irwin-Williams at Hueyatlaco, near Valsequillo.

Dr. Cynthia Irwin-Williams
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Credit: Smithsonian National Archives http://www.earthmeasure.com/first-american.html
After excavations in the 1960s, the site became notorious due to geochronologists’ analyses that indicated human habitation at Hueyatlaco was dated to ca. 250,000 years before the present.
Professor Juan Armenta Camacho

Professor Juan Armenta Camacho

Beds containing human artifacts at Valsequillo, Mexico, have been dated at approximately 250,000 years before the present by fission-track dating of volcanic material and uranium dating of a camel pelvis. The dilemma posed by such dates is clearly stated in the following quotation from the conclusions of the subject article.
“The evidence outlined here consistently indicates that the Hueyatlaco site is about 250,000 yr old. We who have worked on geological aspects of the Valsequillo area are painfully aware that so great an age poses an archeological dilemma. If the geological dating is correct, sophisticated stone tools were used at Valsequillo long before analogous tools are though to have been developed in Europe and Asia. Thus, our colleague, Cynthia Irwin-Williams, has criticized the dating methods we have used, and she wishes us to emphasize that an age of 250,000 yr is essentially impossible.”
(Steen-McIntyre, Virginia, et al; “Geologic Evidence for Age of Deposits at Hueyatlaco Archeological Site, Valsequillo, Mexico,” Quaternary Research, 16:1, 1981.)
Credit: mcremo.com

These controversial findings are orders of magnitude older than the scientific consensus for habitation of the New World (which generally traces widespread human migration to the New World to 13,000 to 16,000 ybp). The findings at Hueyatlaco have mostly been repudiated by the larger scientific community, and have seen only occasional discussion in the literature
According to Steen-McIntyre “we have evidence for two primitive human skulls. The Dorenberg skull was collected in the area over 100 years ago (Reichelt,1899 (1900)) . The interior cavities were filled with a diatomite that contains the same Sangamon-age suite of taxa that occurs associated with the artifacts at Hueyátlaco (VanLandingham 2000, 2002b,c, 2003). It was on display in a museum in Leipzig for many years, and was destroyed during the bombings of WW II. We are looking for a photo or drawing of it.
The second skull, the Ostrander skull, is rumored to have been collected illegally at Hueyátlaco sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s and recently to have been turned over to a Native American tribe for reburial. No attempt was made to date it.”

Ostrander skull to the rignt, allegedly from the Hueyatlaco Site. On the left a modern skull
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Credit: Austin Whittall patagoniamonsters.blogspot.com

Cynthia Irwin-Williams led the team that first excavated the site in 1962 The dig is often associated with Virginia Steen-McIntyre because of her continuing efforts to publicize her findings and opinions. However, the site was actually discovered by Juan Armenta Camacho and Irwin-Williams. Steen-McIntyre joined the team in 1966 as a graduate student, at the request of project geologist Hal Malde. The excavation was associated with the U.S. Geological Survey.

The region, about 75 miles SE of Mexico City, was known for its abundance of animal fossils, and Irwin-Williams described Hueyatlaco as a “kill site” where animals were hunted and butchered.
These tools are believed to be 250,00 years old from the Hueyatlaco site.

Credit: Dr. Cynthia Irwin-Williams/H.S. Rice

Excavations were conducted via standard protocols, including securing the sites to prevent trespass or accidental disturbances. During excavation, investigators discovered numerous stone tools. The tools ranged from relatively primitive implements at a smaller associated site, to more sophisticated items such as scrapers and double-edged blades uncovered at the main excavation site. The diversity of tools made from non-local materials suggested that the region had been used by multiple groups over a considerable period.

In 1967, Jose L. Lorenzo of the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia claimed that implements had been planted at the site by local laborers in such a way as to make it difficult or impossible to determine which artifacts were discovered in situ and which were planted. Irwin-Williams counter-argued that Lorenzo’s claims were malicious and without merit. Furthermore, in 1969 Irwin-Williams cited statements of support from three prominent archeologists and anthropologists (Richard MacNeish, Hannah Marie Wormington and Frederick A. Peterson) who had each visited the site independently and attested to the integrity of the excavations and the professionalism of the group’s methodology

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In mid-1969, Szabo, Malde and Irwin-Williams published their first paper about dating the excavation site. The stone tools were discovered in situ in a stratum that also contained animal remains. Radiocarbon dating of the animal remains produced an age of over 35,000 ybp. Uranium dating produced an age of 260,000 ybp, ± 60,000 years.

The site had been buried by the ash of La Malinche. The reservoir, which lies 100 km southeast of Mexico City and south of the city of Puebla is surrounded by four of Mexico’s famous volcanoes: Tláloc, Iztaccíhuatl, Popocatepetl, and La Malinche, which is shown below.
File:Matlalcueitl.jpg
Credit: Wikipedia

The authors admitted that they had no definitive explanation for the anomalous results. However, Malde suggested the tool-bearing strata had possibly been eroded by an ancient streambed, thus combining older and newer strata and complicating dating.

In 1973, Steen-MacIntyre, Malde and Roald Fryxell returned to Hueyatalco to re-examine the geographic strata and more accurately determine an age for the tool-bearing strata. They were able to rule out Malde’s streambed hypothesis. Moreover, the team undertook an exhaustive analysis of volcanic ash and pumice from the original excavation site and the surrounding region. Using the zircon fission-track dating method, geochemist C.W. Naeser dated samples of ash from Hueyatlaco’s tool-bearing strata to 370,000 ybp +/- 240,000 years.

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The confirmation of an anomalously distant age for human habitation at the Hueyatlaco site led to tension between Irwin-Williams and the other team members. Malde and Fryxell announced the findings at a Geological Society of America meeting, admitting that they could not account for the anomalous results. Irwin-Williams responded by describing their announcement as “irresponsible”. Given the substantial margin of error for the fission-track findings, and the then-new method of uranium dating, Irwin-Williams asserted that Hueyatlaco had not been accurately dated to her satisfaction.

Excerpt of letter to Marie Wormington from Dr. Cynthia Irwin-Williams [circa 1969]:
“…Meanwhile, I recently got a letter from Hal, with some (completely wild) uranium dates on Valsequillo material. I don’t see how he can take them seriously since they conflict with the archaeology, with his own geologic correlations, and with a couple C14 dates. However, God help us, he wants to publish right away! I am enclosing a copy of Hal’s letter and my reply. Needless to say any restraint you can exercise on him would be greatly appreciated. All we need to do at this point is to put that stuff in print and every reputable prehistorian in the country will be rolling in the aisles.”


On March 30, 1981, Steen-McIntyre wrote to Estella Leopold, the associate editor of Quaternary
Research: “The problem as I see it is much bigger than Hueyatlaco. It concerns the manipulation of scientific thought through the suppression of ‘Enigmatic Data,’ data that challenges the prevailing mode of thinking. Hueyatlaco certainly does that! Not being an anthropologist, I didn’t realize the full significance of our dates back in 1973, nor how deeply woven into our thought the current theory of human evolution had become. Our work at Hueyatlaco has been rejected by most archaeologists because it contradicts that theory, period.”

Eventually, Quaternary Research (1981) published an article by Virginia Steen-McIntyre, Roald Fryxell, and Harold E. Malde. It upheld an age of 250,000 years for the Hueyatlaco site. Cynthia Irwin-Williams (1981) objected to these findings in a letter responding to these authors. Her objections were answered point-for-point in a counter letter from Malde and Steen-McIntyre (1981).

The case of Virginia Steen-McIntyre opens a rare window into the actual social processes of data suppression in paleoanthropology, processes that involve a great deal of hurt and conflict. In general, however, this goes on behind the scenes, and the public sees only the end result—the carefully edited journals and books that have passed the censors.

The Sangamonian Stage, also known as the Sangamon interglacial, is the name used by Quaternary geologists to designate the last interglacial period in North America from 125,000—75,000 years ago, a period of 0.05 million years. The Sangamonian Stage precedes the Wisconsinan (Wisconsin) Stage and follows the Illinoian Stage in North America

In recent times the Hueyatlaco Site has been reinvestigated by Dr. Sam VanLandingham using diatom dating methodology to confirm the anomalously old dates assigned by Malde, Steen-McIntyre and Fryxell:
Important artifacts have been found in situ (i.e., not redeposited) within lacustrine deposits in the Valsequillo region. These deposits contain many diatoms which indicate an age corresponding to the Sangamonian Interglacial sensu lato (80,000 to ca. 220,000yr BP). Two of the four samples in this study are associated with the Dorenberg skull or with stratigraphic units which contain bifacial tools. The remaining two samples are from diatomaceous deposits which are also Sangamonian and stratigraphically above the artifact units. These four diatomaceous samples yielded 30 extinct and 143 extant diatom taxa.

The ages of the four samples correspond to other diatomaceous samples (some of which are associated with artifacts) from nearby Valsequillo localities. A post-Sangamonian age for these four diatom-bearing samples is discounted by the presence of Navicula bronislaae and N. dorenbergi, both of which have short stratigraphic ranges and are known only from the Sangamonian (or its equivalents), and by 13 diatoms which evidently have known long stratigraphic ranges and extinctions before the end of the Sangamonian.
An age no older than Sangamonian for the artifacts and their enclosing diatomaceous deposits is indicated by the presence of two diatoms (Epithemia zebra var. undulata and Navicula creguti) known only from Sangamonian (or = age) or younger and by an extant diatom, Cymbella cistula var. gibbosa (C. gibbosa), which has its first occurrence in the Sangamonian.


The diatom biostratigraphy presented herein establishes a minimum (Sangamonian) and a maximum (Illinoian) age for the younger (bifacial) artifacts at the Hueyatlacoarchaeological site in units B,C, and E, Puebla, Mexico.

VanLandingham used diatom biostratigraphy in determining a minimum (Sangamonian = 80,000–ca.220,000 yr. BP) and a maximum (Illinoian = 220,000–430,00 yr. BP) age for the Hueyatlaco artifacts, Puebla, Mexico. Nova Hedwigia (February, 2009), Beiheft 135, p. 15-36.
Quoting the Abstract: The diatom biostratigraphy presented herein establishes a minimum (Sangamonian) and a maximum (Illinoian) age for the younger (bifacial) artifacts at the Hueyatlaco archaeological site in units B,C, and E, Puebla, Mexico. One of the 13 samples in this study is from a position of Sangamonian age which is stratigraphically higher than the artifacts. The minimum age of this sample (from unit B) is demonstrated by 6 taxa which became extinct at the end of the Sangamonian , and its maximum age (also Sangamonian) is denoted by 3 taxa with earliest known first occurrences in the Sangamonian. The diatoms of the remaining 12 samples have a minimum age of Sangamonian. Three of the 13 samples are in unit I and no Hueyatlaco artifacts are known below this unit.
____________________________
Sources:
Chris Hardaker
The First American: The Suppressed Story of the People Who Discovered the New World (New Page Books, 2007)
http://www.amazon.com/First-American-Suppressed-People-Discovered/dp/1564149420
http://www.earthmeasure.com/first-american.html
^ Irwin-Williams, Cynthia. (1978) Summary of Archeological Evidence from the Valsequillo Region, Puebla, Mexico. In Cultural Continuity in Mesoamerica, David L. Browman, ed. The Hague: Mouton Publishers.
^ a b c d e f g h Webb, Mark Owen and Suzanne Clark. (1999). “Anatomy of an Anomaly .” Disputatio, 6.

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