Back in April I posted about the fossil remains of Luzia Woman found in Brazil. Most anthropologists, including myself, believe she was a Paleo-Indian who may well have been part of the first wave of migrants into South America. The fossil remains have been dated at about 11.5 kya and in terms of all things anthropological that’s not that long ago. In fact, it was towards the end of the last glaciation. You can find my original post at the link below. Continue Reading
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.
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.
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
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
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
A German Mexican (Deutsch Mexikaner in German or Germano Mexicano Or Aleman Mexicano in Spanish) is a Mexican citizen of German descent or origin. Most Germans arrived in Mexico during the mid to late 19th century inspired by the policies of Mexican el Presidente Porfirio Diaz and his liberal policies. German immigrants became merchants, industrialists, and educators. Some went to Mexico to be farmers or find work. Most settled in Mexico City, Veracruz, the Yucatan, and Puebla. During and after the First and Second World Wars significant numbers of Germans also immigrated to Mexico.
In Mexico City even today there are some neighborhoods that are clearly German Mexican as reflected in the Germanic styles of some neighborhoods and homes there. German settlements in Mexico go back to when they settled Texas when it was under the rule of Spain. The first permanent German settlement in Texas was in a town called “Industry” in Austin County. After the Mexican-American War of 1848 many Germans left Texas and went deeper into to Mexico as they sided with Mexico during that war.
Between 1865-66 about 543 German families were brought from Hamburg in Germany to the Yucatan in Mexico primarily to the villages of Santa Elena and Pustunich. The majority of these Germans were farmers, craftsmen, wheelwright, shoemakers, and cabinet makers. Continue Reading