The Curious Case of the Cinmar Biface…


Shane Miller has a nice post on the continuing conflict between those supporting the Solutrean hypothesis for the peopling of the Americas and those arguing it is insupportable. If you don’t follow early North American paleolithic archaeology, this is the idea that people followed the Atlantic ice shelf from Europe into the the Americas, likely following seals. There is a new paper attacking this claim that shows just how nasty academic fights can be. Often times, people get called liars in print, but it’s usually pretty flowery and couched in ways to backpedal if it turns out you were wrong. This one, while not directly saying it, is about as close as I’ve ever seen in archaeology. Here’s the conclusion:

“Until clearly and reliably addressed, the gravity of the discrepancies and factual inaccuracies presented above indicates that there is no evidence that the stone blade and the mastodon remains were associated or where exactly either was originally discovered. Going further, given the reported inconsistencies in the blade’s history, there is no confirmable evidence currently available that demonstrates that it was even dredged up by the Cinmar. Thus, even in the event that the same, original underwater mastodon site is eventually empirically proven to be re-located at some point in the future, this re-discovery would not provide context for, or validate, the stone blade’s association with it.” – Eren, Boulanger, O’Brien 2015 The Cinmar discovery and the proposed pre-Late Glacial Maximum occupation of North America

You can read the whole article here. As Shane mentions, JAS is open access so you don’t need library access to read.

seacunderground

For those of you who don’t follow Paleoindian archaeology, this is the Cinmar biface…

Proponents of the Solutrean hypothesis argue that it was dredged up, along with with remains of a mammoth dated to 22,760 ± 90 RCYBP, off the mid-Atlantic coast. It’s on the cover of their book. If you have an academia.edu account, you can read about it in more analytical detail here.

With that being said, this article came out yesterday in Journal of Archaeological Science (it’s open access – so you don’t need a subscription).

After reading it, this was about what my reaction was like…

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