Nestled in the heart of Santa Fe, New Mexico is America’s oldest church known as St Miguel Chapel. It was built by the Spanish in 1610 and was completed in about 1626. The original adobe walls and altar were constructed by Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico. It is a Franciscan chapel and it is also known as St Miguel’s Mission.
Photo of San Miguel Mission taken in 1928
1680 brought what is known as the “Pueblo Revolt” in the Spanish colony of New Mexico. The Pueblo people frustrated with Spanish rule decided to drive the Spanish from what is today New Mexico and they did just that, for a time. This event is also known as “Pope’s Rebellion.” The Pueblo not only drove out the Spanish but they killed about 400 Spanish. At that time there were about 2000 Spanish in New Mexico. But the victory of the Pueblo was short-lived because 20 years later the Spanish returned and reoccupied New Mexico. And, surprisingly, they encountered very little resistance! During the revolt the chapel was damaged and in 1710 the Spanish rebuilt the church. For a time it served as a military chapel for the Spanish soldiers stationed in Santa Fe but eventually was opened to the public. Continue Reading
It’s not uncommon to find odd objects after hurricanes have washed them onshore but in this case what was found is significant. Randy Lathrop a fine arts photographer was riding his bike this past Monday morning looking at some of the damage left behind by Hurricane Irma in the coastal community of Cocoa which is east of Orlando. He spotted an odd shaped object on the banks of the Indian River and text a friend to come help him take the object. That friend just happened to be a specialist in underwater archaeology.
The pair struggled in waist high water but eventually got the canoe onto a truck. Turns out the object is a canoe 15 feet long and weighing about 700 pounds hallowed out of tree trunk. The canoe also has square iron nails in its construction so it’s not prehistoric but it’s still significant. It may have been made and used by early pioneers during the 1700s. The canoe is presently in the custody of the State and carbon dating is being done to determine its age.
The “Indian River Canoe” found last week in Florida after Hurricane Irma 2017
Luckily this guy was observant and didn’t just pass it off as nothing and pass it by. I think most likely it is a canoe once used by pioneers on the Indian River. I’ll be interested to see what the C14 analysis comes up with for age. Save for the square iron nails it looks pretty much as hallowed out canoes have always looked. Even those from prehistoric times. Funny how some things never change and some only slightly change over the eons of time. Continue Reading
Artistic bust of Peking Man
Dragon Bone Hill overlooks the sprawling Chinese capital of Beijing (formerly Peking). It is a small limestone mountain visited by over 150,000 visitors each year. It was here in 1929 that the first specimen of Asian Homo Erectus was found known as “Peking Man.” The find consisted of a nearly complete skull dated between 680-780 kyr. The specimen was also one of the earliest ancient human ancestor fossil remains ever found but since that time the fame and importance of Peking Man has dwindled, sadly. Older fossils have been discovered in Africa where environmental conditions for fossil formation are more conducive. China and Southeast Asia tend not to be very good places for finding fossils due to the tropical climate and wet conditions in much of the region. Today Chinese paleoanthropologists wonder if H. erectus died out or contributed genes to modern Chinese people.
In the past decade China has stepped up efforts to uncover evidence of early human ancestors in the country and surrounding region. Old fossils are being reanalysed and old theories are being revised as new evidence comes to light. And the Chinese government has built a million dollar lab to extract and sequence ancient DNA!
More and more paleoanthropologists are beginning to finally pay attention to what is being found and what has been found in China and Asia in general. Discoveries in China and Asia clearly indicate that there was a variety of prehistoric human ancestors in the region and these finds are beginning to challenge some conventional ideas about just what our evolutionary history might really be!
Sadly, Western researchers tend to view fossils and artifacts in terms of those found in Africa and Europe due to the age of the fossils found there and because they are closer to major research facilities. However, what is becoming increasingly clear is that Asian fossils do NOT fit into the traditional narrative of human evolution
There now comes a highly disturbing report out of the Javari Valley near the Peruvian border in Brazil. That valley is the second largest indigenous reserve in Brazil and tribes in that area are sometimes referred to as “lost tribes.” Reports indicate that gold miners slaughtered and chopped up some of the indigenous people recently and threw their mutilated bodies into a river….not once….but TWICE! The reason? The miners want control of the land to get at the gold!!
Brazilian police are said to be investigating the claim that 10 tribesmen belonging to remote Amazonian people were hacked to death after a complaint was filed with Brazilian prosecutors following an incident in which some of the miners involved in the slaughter bragged about the killings during a drinking bout in a local bar. But this is not the first such incident! Since the beginning of 2017 more than 50 tribesmen have been killed in Brazil in the first six months! Their lands are known to be rich in gold deposits and the miners want it at ANY cost, apparently.
In the bar the miners were showing off a hand-carved paddle that they claimed they took from one of the tribes. The talk in the bar was apparently cruel and laced with all sorts of nasty and prejudice language. And, the killer miners even bragged about cutting up the bodies and throwing them in the river! In a futile effort to attempt to justify their slaughter the miners told bar patrons that they “had to kill them or be killed.” Apparently, the killings happened just last month. Prosecutor Pablo Luz de Beltrand is heading the investigation. He told reporters that this is the second such investigation he’s led this year. The first centered around several killings of tribesmen in the same area back in February.
The populations of these remote tribes are very small to begin with and “Survival International” which is an indigenous rights group says the killings may have eliminated a significant number of the small populations. In 2016 there were 61 KNOWN killings of tribesmen and as of the end of July of this year there have been at least 50 killings. Continue Reading
model reconstruction of U-576
Back in August of 2014 NOAA researchers found the wreckage of two vessels 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina and less than 240 yards apart. One submerged vessel was identified as the “Bluefields” which was a Nicaraguan flagged merchant freighter. The other submerged vessel was a German U-boat identified as U-576. On 15 July 1942 an American convoy titled “KS-520” was formed consisting of 19 merchant ships charged with the task of taking supplies for Norfolk, Virginia to Key West, Florida. The convoy was escorted by US Naval ships and US Coast Guard vessels as a precaution.
Some of the submerged wreckage of German U-boat 576 found 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina.
Near Cape Hatteras in North Carolina the convoy was attacked by the German U-boat! The first loss was the Bluefields which the U-boat sank and then it severely damaged two of the other ships. A US aircraft carrier charged with providing air cover for the convoy launched its Kingfisher fighter planes and bombed the U-boat as the merchant ship “Unicoi” attacked the U-boat with its deck gun. Everyone got off of the Bluefields but the Germans in the U-boat were not so lucky. Their U-boat became there grave and remains so today just 30 miles off the coast of North Carolina! Continue Reading
There have been several discoveries over the past few years that are changing what we think about how and when the Americans were populated by modern humans and now comes yet MORE evidence that modern humans were in Brazil about 23 kya (thousand years ago). These new discoveries are proving our textbooks WRONG and frankly that is a breath of fresh air!!
A recent article in the journal “Antiquity” suggests that prehistoric modern humans were hunting giant ground sloths in eastern Brazil 23 kya. A large number of stone artifacts and bones were found at a rock shelter at Santa Elina between 1954-2004 and reanalysis now suggests small, bony sloth skin plates were notched and perforated and made into ornaments by modern humans living in the area. Remains of fire hearths were also found in the sediment layers. Dating suggests humans were living in the area at least 20 kya and the dates also suggest that humans were living again in the area between 10,000 and 2000 years ago. Continue Reading
Aye where do I begin? ……………… So I have a friend who had her DNA tested by one of the many labs now testing ancestry DNA and yesterday she got her results which she found very disappointing. She paid almost $200 for the analysis. Why so expensive? Because the lab she chose said for an extra charge they could sequence her DNA from “prehistoric humans.” I assumed they meant Neanderthal DNA but she assumed they meant……well come to find out…..she thought they could sequence her “handyman” DNA (Homo habilis)!!
Before she even paid the charge I told her that it is impossible for any lab to sequence H. habilis DNA (whom she refers to as the “monkey people) because we don’t have any viable DNA from that species with which to compare to. But she wouldn’t listen. She was sure they could do it. I told her that the only possible analysis they could do was related to the percentage of Neanderthal DNA in her genes and that would not be more than 4%. But she wouldn’t listen and went right ahead and paid the extra charge to have her “monkey people” DNA analyzed along with her ancestry. Hate to say it but “I told you so.”
As I mentioned, yesterday she got her DNA results and they were NOT what she expected at all. She has thought herself to be primarily “American and Mexican Indian.” I have questioned her about this as she doesn’t even remotely look like either. Her results showed that in fact she is mainly South American likely from the areas of Ecuador and Peru. That’s exactly what I told her the results would reveal as she looks very much like the native people in the highlands of those areas. Her results also showed that she had a percentage of Sephardi Jew in her which she found “very shocking” as she had no idea. Then came the results of the “monkey people” DNA. Continue Reading