Wednesday, August 1, 2012


   Bering Straits frozen-over or dry ground ~ BERINGIA ~ was the pathway used by Siberian tribes in traversing, discovering and inhabiting the totally so-called uninhabited Americas some 10,000 years ago: and so it was thought and taught. What once was mere guessology became ironclad history in the last century. That was what we, the over-70-crowd, were given as it was best cobbled together; that was, until older (earlier technological) stone arrows, spears and knives were discovered in the southwest U.S.

      FOLSOM chert and flint points from New Mexico, discovered in 1926, pointed to a similar time-frame as the Beringia theory, with arrow flaking technology predating the stone techniques first uncovered which helped shore up the Beringia crossing. Shortly after Folsom flints, New Mexico's CLOVIS cave primitive stone tools threw the date of crossing over to an even much earlier timeframe of some 13,000 years ago. Perplexing at first, but a new immigration theory was beginning to develop. Stone arrows, knifes, scrapers axes, spear points, etc. are a remarkable historical textbook of human ingenuity which increasingly became more ballistic-worthy, with styles indicating an ever-growing body of hunter specificity in technological stone-age tool-making. These older Clovis types have now been found and identified at several more sites in the United States.

      Virginia's Delmarva Peninsula findings in the 1980's of a SOLUTREAN flint which was lodged in a prehistoric whale's bone made Folsom and Clovis stone artifacts appear to be a later derivative technology which had to emanate from SOLUTREAN stone skills. There was enough material in the whale bone to scientifically date the kill to about 15,000 years ago. This has led to the most modern thinking on the subject of who came first to America; and is known today as the Solutrean Hypothesis.

      SOLUTREAN societies from France, Spain and Portugal (circa 21,000 ~ 15,000 years ago) were flaking flint tools in a direct line of technological upgrades from the oldest MOUSTERIAN stone tools [the most primitive] which are still being found in Northern Africa and western Europe.

      The SOLUTREAN HYPOTHESIS proposes that during one of the major ice/glacier ages, some 20,000 to 15,000 years ago, sea-hunters followed along the southern leading edge of the melting glacier from southern France and/or northern Spain all the way to the westward of the glacier's melting edge, ending up on Virginia's shores; all with the ever-present food/clothing bounty of seals, whales and an occasional woolly mammoth.

     The Stone-Tool Technological Chronological Order begins with Western Europe's MOUSTERIAN (Neanderthal); moves on to SOLUTREAN (Western Mediterranean and North African) as well as eastern shore of Virginia, U.S.; then on to CLOVIS NM and southwestern U.S.; then onward to FOLSOM, NM; thence to PALEO-NATIVE PAN-AMERICAN which evolved into ARCHAIC INDIAN; and finally to HISTORIC-NATIVE AMERICAN stone tools.

    ONE DISCOVERY, IN MY OWN DOORYARD, has given me somewhat more tolerance of the Solutrean Hypothesis. I found a flint scraper which is an exact match to the continually growing discoveries of Mousterian French flint stone artifacts which specifically include these small bubble holes. These holes were formed by gases trapped when the flint was a molten mass during volcanic formation. In searching "Mousterian flints" using any search engine, we find this particular light gray flint with small holes or bubble pockets. This French flint found here in Cutler, Maine, I believe is a Mousterian stone-age scraper, and clearly has a sharp point to use for separating skins from animals. Being left-handed, I picked it up in my left hand and it seemed logical, yet a little clumsy; however, when I put it in my right hand, it fit like a natural glove between my fingers for maximum pressure in cutting and gouging.

    RECENT DISCOVERY OF A STONE by my grandson, Ryan, 12-years-old, is quite a curious enigma. This 6-1/2 inch long black stone has many odd yet man-made doodles covering most of its surface. These scratches are quite stylistic and offer no modern designs whatsoever. It's all primitive linear scratches. Ryan found it on the shores of Little Machias Bay just last week; and we're in the process of research and communications with the Maine State Museum and Dr. Bruce Bourque.

     A white Kineo-flint of a LITTLE MACHIAS BAY ARROWHEAD sparkled into my eye one day 20 years ago as I walked down to the shore on the clam access road from the glacial moraine on the "Ridge." I picked the arrow up; and it remains my prize possession as it has "Made in ancient Maine" written all over it. The point and base broke off eons ago, coupled with countless ocean tides which have smoothed away the sharp knaps along with the breaks; but there can be no doubt that some prehistoric Native American chipped this flint for use in hunting. When I picked it up, I could not help but get the feeling that not a one of us will ever know the centuries which separated the ancient hunter's dropping it and my retrieval; but it had to be many, many, mucho, multitudinous moons ago.

    Another possible STONE CUTTER or KNIFE was found on the shores just below my cabin by my sister-in-law, Marlene, who insists it's a handy cutting tool from former times. This odd piece of fine-grained gabbro is most definitely the true underlying material of Cutler/Lubec lithic quadrant of Washington County. When holding this stone cutter in my left hand, it feels much more comfortable as a grip if I were to use it for scraping or cutting blubber from seals; although it can also fit comfortably in the right hand too. Back in the late 1970's, the late Carroll Ackley of Cutler told me that when he was a young lad that just a few years after the turn from the 1800's to 1900's, he remembers watching Passamaquoddy tribal members on the shore of Holmes Bay near the Ackley Road cooking and rendering seal blubber into oil. These tasks before modern metal tools of the 1600's reached these shores, would have been accomplished by a stone-age people using stone implements either refined by their stone-making skills; or just a convenient stone found nearby.

    A STONE FISHING SPEAR rested on the shores before my waterlogged shoes in the early 1980's while on a whitewater canoe trip down the Machias River. As Chuck Henderson and I carried on the portage at Little Falls to make camp for the night, I picked up the spear on the left bank, and turned it over and over, and back and forth repeatedly in studying the ingenuity of its' stone-age manufacturer. My suspicion is that this stone spear attached to a long pole was probably used to stab/catch salmon or bass in the Machias River.

     A LONE STONE TOOLMAKER used thousands of years of technological adaptation on the human design curve in creating any one of these wonderful relics from ancient times. One cannot but remain in awe at the skills involved in not only creating these artifacts; but you have to respect the skill to use them; and how the reward for the hunter must have been life-giving nourishment to himself, his family, clan and tribe.

    I see a NEANDERTHAL toolmaker as one of the earliest creators of a stone artifact that can still turn our heads today, and make us think of technology, tool design and purpose... even if we don't make any further connection to the Solutrean Hypothesis. However, from my perspective, the United States and the Americas was populated by several different groups of peoples coming in successive waves from what is now Western Europe, Polynesia, Japan and Siberia: All happening before Lief, Christopher and Bradford. The United States and all of America is indeed not only the MELTING POT of human immigration post 1000, 1492 & 1620 A.D., but just a continuum from our earlier PREHISTORIC MELTING POT.