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Society for American Archaeology

A Correction on "Preclassic Metal?" Author(s): Robert E. Smith Source: American Antiquity, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Apr., 1955), pp. 379-380 Published by: Society for American Archaeology Stable URL: Accessed: 30/09/2008 23:24
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FACTS AND COMMENTS fire-trees and cannot be a major permanent component of the vegetation in the absence of fires. Therefore, we are inclined to interpret the presence of pine dominance in pollen profiles as an indication of the presence of hunting Indian cultures, rather than primarily as an indication of a warm, dry climate." If the interpretation of Curtis is correct, I have been barking up the wrong trees. It probably will be some time before there is a generally accepted reconstruction of cultural and natural areas in late glacial times. A variety of opinions already have been published. Unlike Aschmann, I doubt that the certain hypotheses presented in the original paper will "become established dogma to burden subsequent investigations." The mortality rates on my previous dogma are too high. Below are corrections and additions for the references in the original paper: For Fairchild (1908) read (1909); for Ritchie (1952) read (1951); for Sears (1942) read (1932); and for Stanley (1943) read Greenman and Stanley (1943). Items marked thus (*) should have been listed in the original paper. Unmarked items are those I have read since its completion and would like to have included. In addition I would like to recommend a forthcoming paper by James Zumberge and John E. Potzger, to be published probably by the Geological Society of America. ANTEVS,ERNST 1954 Geochronology of the Deglacial and Neothermal Ages: A Reply. Journal of Geology, Vol. 62, No. 5, pp. 516-21. Chicago.


S. RICHARD *MACNEISH, 1952 A Possible Early Site in the Thunder Bay District, Ontario. Annual Report of the National Museum of Canada, Bulletin 126, pp. 2347. Ottawa. FRANKH. H., JR. *ROBERTS, 1951. Radiocarbon Dates and Early Man. Memoirs of the Society for American Archaeology, No. 8, pp. 20-2. Salt Lake City. IRVING ROUSE, 1952 The Age of the Melbourne Interval. Texas Archeological and Paleontological Society Bulletin, Vol. 23, pp. 293-9. Lubbock.

1932 The Archaeology of Environment in Eastern North America. American Anthropologist, Vol. 34, No. 4, pp. 610-22. Menasha.
1944 Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River. War Department, Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army, Mississippi River Commission, Publication No. 52. Vicksburg. FLINT, R. F. ANDOTHERS 1945 Glacial America, Map of North America. Geological Society Special Paper, No. 60, Pt. 1. New York. of


Chicago Natural History Museum Chicago, Illinois November, 1954 A CORRECTION ON "PRECLASSIC METAL?" The evidence for locating the find of sheet copper, reported by R. E. Smith (1944) and commented on by John L. Sorenson in AMERICAN ANTIQUITY (1954), has proved thoroughly unreliable. Since the publication of the above find, which included 11 pottery vessels and other artifacts, I have learned that the pottery most probably did not come from San Miguel Ixtahuacan at all. Nothing even vaguely similar has been unearthed from that vicinity. It is much more closely related to material from the SalcajaMomostenango region, as I pointed out in the article. Therefore, if the informant and original owner of the collection gave inaccurate information as to the provenience of the collection, he may also have been in error as to copper being found in one of the above pre-Classic vessels. This material was published in order to preserve the lot as a whole for students, because without regard to its provenience the pottery appeared to be a homogeneous collection, presumably found in a single grave or various graves of the same ceramic period.

1953 Glacial Features of Ungava from Air Photographs. Transactions of the Royal Society of Canada, Vol. 47, Series 3, Section 4, pp. 11-16. Ottawa. ANDL. E. TRYON *KULP, J. L., H. W. FEELY, 1951 Lamont Natural Radiocarbon Measurements, I. Science, Vol. 114, pp. 565-8. Washington.

SNELL 1952 Lamont Natural Radiocarbon Measurements, II. Science, Vol. 116, pp. 409-14. Washington. DONALD ANDJOHN ELSON B. A. LAWRENCE, 1953 Periodicity of Deglaciation in North America Since the Late Wisconsin Maximum. Geografiska Annaler, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 83-104. Stockholm. RICHARD LOUGEE, J. 1953 A Chronology of Post-glacial Time in Eastern North America. The Scientific Monthly, Vol. 76, No. 5, pp. 259-76. Lancaster.



[ XX, 4, 1955

This seems to me an excellent example of why it is best not to publish doubtful material unless explicitly so labeled because all finds are doubtful unless one can vouch for them without a question. In this case, I did not know the original owner and therefore my information was second hand. Furthermore, at the time of writing the article, I knew nothing about the pottery from the San Miguel Ixtahuacan region. ROBERT E. SMITH,
1944 Archaeological Specimens from Guatemala. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Division of Historical Research, Notes on Middle American Archaeology and Ethnology, Vol. 2, No. 37, pp. 35-47. Cambridge. JOHNL. SORENSON, 1954 Preclassic Metal? American p. 64. Salt Lake City. Antiquity, Vol. 20, No. 1,


Carnegie Institution of Washington Cambridge, Mass. August, 1954 BURINS FROM CENTRAL ALASKA Y True burins that are directly comparable with a number of Old World types have recently appeared as prominent elements of a number of collections from the American arctic. Their areal distribution from Alaska (Giddings 1951) to Greenland (Knuth 1952; Meldgaard 1952) and possibly Labrador (Harp 1951: 215; 1953: 41), in a variety of coastal and inland sites, shows that the trait was not a novelty nor a figment of .chance, but an integral part of several North American flint complexes. In certain instances, and particularly at the Alaskan sites, they are accompanied by other implements typologically similar to Old World Paleolithic and Mesolithic forms (Giddings 1951); elsewhere, they are found in complexes that may be more distinctively American (Knuth 1952; Meldgaard 1952; Harp 1951). Oddly enough, basal grinding, parallel flaking, fluted points, and other early American traits such as Oblique and Eden Yuma points, are more conspicuous in the "Mesolithic" Denbigh Flint complex than they are in stages found farther east, for which there is less evidence for close connections with the Old World. However, Harp reports a fluted point in a Newfoundland assemblage (1951: 209). It is pertinent, in view of the trait's evident relationships with early Arctic cultures, to draw attention to some burins that were recently identified in a collection
Publication of this note, prepared in the fall of 1953, has been delayed by my absence during an extended period of field work. Several revisions and additions, made after the appearance of MacNeish's recent paper (1954) are apparent in the text. Discussion with MacNeish in 1953 resulted in our agreement on most, though perhaps not all, of the points of typology common to the here. Campus site and Pointed Mountain that are mentioned Ivar Skarland and James W. Van Stone, of the University of Alaska, and Hallam L. Movius, Jr., and Gordon R. Willey, of Harvard, have kindly read the manuscript and made pertinent suggestions.

of "pre-Athabaskan" age that was taken in the 1930's from the University of Alaska Campus site, near Fairbanks. A re-examination of the Campus site material was prompted by the announcement of Richard S. MacNeish at the 1952 meetings of the Society for American Archaeology in Philadelphia that he had discovered, near Fort Liard, Northwest Territories, burins, prismatic flakes, and prepared polyhedral cores. The assemblage looked quite different from the Denbigh Flint complex, where these forms occur. However, inspection of a few of MacNeish's specimens and later the photographs which appear in his paper (1954) showed a detailed, and I think, significant, resemblance between some of his Pointed Mountain material and types characteristic of the Campus site. In particular, MacNeish's "tongueshaped cores" (p. 239), as distinguished from his subconoidal variety, are strikingly similar to cores from the Campus site where subconoidal cores do not occur. MacNeish has listed a number of other parallels, of varying significance. A search was made of the Campus site collection for additional similarities, with the result that 2 burins and a burin spall were identified. Another type found, which can be described as a flake gouge, may also have parallels in the Pointed Mountain complex, in the form of MacNeish's "lamellar flakes with retouched rounded ends" (p. 242). These implements will be described here so that they can be included in the typology of the Campus site. No attempt has been made to compare the whole assemblage with the Pointed Mountain complex. The Campus site was excavated during the period 1934-36 by Charles E. Bunnell, then president of the University, John Dorsh, Froelich G. Rainey, and several undergraduate assistants. Reports on the excavations and the material recovered have been presented by N. C. Nelson (1935, 1937) and Rainey (1939). A small type collection is at the American Museum of Natural History; the rest of the material is now in the Museum of the University of Alaska. The Campus site is on the brow of a hill which drops off steeply to the broad level floor of the unglaciated valley through which the Tanana River follows a course at present some 4 miles to the east. Cultural remains were found throughout most of the area of 100 m. radius in which test pits were dug. These are regarded by both Rainey and Nelson as comprising a single artifact complex devoid of recognizable intrusives. No hypotheses have been advanced as to the actual age of the material. However, Rainey (1939: 388; 1953: 43-4) regards it as typologically distinct from the Athabaskan collections because it lacks copper and artifacts made of organic substances. Moreover, it contains semilunar scrapers chipped on one face, cleavers, and small elliptical biface blades, none of which occur in the oldest known Athabaskan site in Alaska, Dixthada. There are also 34 prepared polyhedral (microblade) cores out of a total of 353 implements. This further distinguishes it from the mixed Dixthada collection, in which only 2 of the 496 implements are prepared cores. Nelson (1937)

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