Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tomthemick@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Historic Controversy


I spent decades teaching US History and stayed at it so long because I loved it. Still do. I’m a history geek, and a recent book about where early Americans came from has me all excited. It’s called “Across Atlantic Ice,” and it’s shaking up the history world.

The new theory is that at least some early Americans arrived from Europe across the Atlantic along the edge of pack ice during the last glacial maximum - that period 22,000 years ago or so around the time when the Atlantic would have been frozen furthest south. Every US History text I’ve ever used taught that the first Americans came across a land bridge from Asia - where the Bering Strait now separates the two continents - no earlier than 14,000 years ago, as if were established fact. That always bothered me, because we simply couldn’t know that for certain. When I was teaching, I’d always point out to students that their textbook was making an unsubstantiated claim. Evidence pointed in that direction, yes, but it wasn’t a certainty. While it is proven that some early Americans migrated from Asia, we simply couldn’t be sure that they were the first to come here. I’d always caution students to qualify such a claim by saying something like: “As far as we can tell . . . ”The general rule of thumb would be that the further we go back in history, the less we can be sure of. When we’re trying to figure out what happened tens of thousands of years ago, it’s mostly speculative. The authors of “Across Atlantic Ice” are nothing if not humble. The book is filled with qualifiers because it’s authors know their idea is a theory, and because professionally, Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley are sticking their necks out. Because he’s Director of the Smithsonian’s Paleoindian/Paleoecology Program, Stanford’s book has to be taken seriously in the archaeology community. His and Bradley’s theory isn’t new, but until now, the case hasn’t been put forth as comprehensively as they have done, so there’s lots of heated discussion. That’s as it should be in any scientific or academic community.

Those who insisted that people from the so-called “Clovis” culture were the first Americans, and that they came exclusively from Asia after the 14,000-year mark, are the most threatened by “Across Atlantic Ice,” and it’s time they were seriously challenged. Even though evidence of previous Americans hadn’t shown up until relatively recently, the “Clovis First” crowd should have understood the possibility that it might. Because there’s no evidence for something doesn’t mean it never happened. Because we’ve found no remains of boats from 22,000 years ago doesn’t mean there weren’t any. They would have been made of perishable materials like wood, animal hides and such and wouldn’t be preserved except under unusual conditions. The authors contend that Europeans came along the ice margin in small watercraft while hunting marine mammals much the way the Inuit did in historical times.Stone, or “lithic” material as archaeologists call it, has been preserved, and Stanford and Bradley are expert at gleaning information from stone artifacts. Most evidence in support of their theory comes from examining techniques of shaping stone into usable tools.Those early Europeans who allegedly crossed that Atlantic ice are known as Solutrean and they were masters at working stone and other materials. The earliest identifiable sewing needles were found at their habitation sites. I never realized how much skill went into the manufacture of stone knives, scrapers, arrowheads and spearpoints until I read “Across Atlantic Ice.” It was Solutrean techniques showing up in North American artifacts that first caused archaeologists to theorize about migration to what is now to the United States from Europe during the end of the last Ice Age. Methods for making artifacts earlier archaeologists labeled “Clovis” may well have come from Europe and not from Asia as first thought. Solutrean-like artifacts showed up on this side of the ocean but the stone they were made from came from North America. If a Solutrean point were to appear made of stone from Europe, well, that might be enough to convince skeptics.So, when a Solutrean point found in Virginia in 1971 was determined to have been made from a flint originating in France, it looked like proof. However, it was found near the remains of a colonial era home and could have been carried over during historical times, so it’s not the smoking gun it might otherwise have been.Meanwhile, the research continues. Exciting times in the history-geek community.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous Jean D. said...

Thanks Tom, very interesting article.

8/21/12, 1:33 PM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

Or the Chinese my have sailed here a thousand years before Columbus? Or Scandanavian Vikings? Or anyone else? But who really cares? It's irrelevant really. Perhaps interesting, i get that, but that's it.

My question is , for such an ardent lover of history, have you questioned the truly important moments in history? Such as the true reason we revolted against England---the printing of mone being key. Or, where did hitler get his oil? ( standard oil?) how, and why and who snuck the federal reserve act through a congress on xmas recess? How about the retreat on jekyll island georgia? After repeated defeats of such nonsense? Dis you teach you students that the fed was illegal and unconstitutional? Or did you just tell em it was normal for a non federal federal agency to print money out of thin air and tax us on it!! why were we lied to about the gulf of Tonkin incident, that we now kow never happened!
And 9/11. Way to many questions to accept the 9/11 commission report.
I'm curious if you really question our history, or believed what was printed by the ministry of truth in the school textbooks?

8/21/12, 4:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its still an interesting book, with an interesting thesis. Of course its important. I care, relevance or not. You need to get laid Winston, just like in the book.

Sorry Tom,I just couldn't help myself.

8/21/12, 7:35 PM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

Ha, maybe anonymous? However, I would just like to see some substantive looks at history. Of course Tom buys into the idea that white men were first here on this continent.
But more important are the events in history that matter, that are never questioned, or, if they are, one is considered a conspiracy nut. What could be more pressing now than spreading the truth about the federal reserve? Or false flag events perpetrated by our own govt? How about 9/11? How does any rational person accept the mainstream media/ 9/11 accounts of that day? There are numerous discrepancies. I have no idea what happened other than we have been lied to, that is obvious. When the collapse of a building is blatantly ignored by the commision report, well, what can you say really? Or the fact that never, ever, in NORAD's history had four planes gone of course for as long as they did with no repercussions? Once you look at the so called facts it's obvious something sinister is going on.

Watch " 9/11 loose change". I challenge all readers to watch it. Listen to the first hand accounts of police and fireman explaining explosions at ground level. Or Larry silversteins amazing good fortune. or the lack of crash debris at the pentagon. Etc etc, etc. etc.

It seems to me most americans are out right scared of truth. Easier to believe the lies and give up your rights?? Wow.

Critical thinking anyone?
Do you all just accept what you're told by the military industrial complex, er , I mean the news? Come on..

8/22/12, 4:05 PM  
Anonymous Old' Hickory said...

Ah, once again, mention the worst event in our history, ever, and the silence is deafening. Absolutely pathetic.

Thank you America.

8/24/12, 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Infowarrior said...

Tony Cartalucci
Infowars.com
August 25, 2012
A vote for Obama will bring war with Syria, Iran, and eventually Russia and China. The economy will continue to suffer in order to bolster the interests of off-shore corporate-financier interests, while  the collective prospects of Americans continue to whither and blow away. A vote for Romney, however, will also bring war with Syria, Iran, and eventually Russia and China. The economy will also continue to suffer in order to bolster the interests of off-shore corporate-financier interests, while the collective prospects of Americans continue to whither and blow away. Why?
Because the White House is but a public relations front for the corporate-financier interests of Wall Street and London. A change of residence at the White House is no different than say, British Petroleum replacing its spokesman to superficially placate public opinion when in reality the exact same board of directors, overall agenda, and objectives remain firmly in place. Public perception then is managed by, not the primary motivation of, corporate-financier interests.
It is the absolute folly to believe that multi-billion dollar corporate-financier interests would subject their collective fate to the whims of the ignorant, uninformed, and essentially powerless voting masses every four years. Instead, what plays out every four years is theater designed to give the general public the illusion that they have some means of addressing their grievances without actually ever changing the prevailing balance of power in any meaningful way.
The foreign policy of both Obama and Romney is written by the exact same corporate-financier funded think-tanks that have written the script for America’s destiny for the last several decades.
Bush = Obama = Romney

Infowars.com

8/25/12, 1:40 PM  
Anonymous White power said...

"The take-home quote is from a skeptical scientist, named David Meltzer:

“If Solutrean boat people washed up on our shores, they suffered cultural amnesia, genetic amnesia, dental amnesia, linguistic amnesia and skeletal amnesia. Basically, all of the signals are pointing to Asia....”

There is abundant evidence of Asiatic origin of early Americans and science is properly conservative when it comes to accepting radical new theories that upend the orthodoxy. Anomalies do not add up to a theory.

Show me some skeletons, or at least some teeth. Show me some campfires, some well-dated artifacts, maybe the favorite comfy chair of the Top Dawg Solutrean. Come on, persuade me.

By Joel Achenbach  |  09:44 AM ET, 03/01/2012


Tom, I don't know why there are colored people on this planet either? What good are they? They haven't and can't do anything useful or productive. Unless a white man tells them to.

8/26/12, 8:24 AM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

White Power:

I considered answering you until I read the last line.

8/26/12, 12:05 PM  

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