Monday, June 01, 2009

Tibetan Pottery and the Rise of California As A World Power

Back in Neolithic times, when you went walkies in Central, East, and South East Asia, it would seem you took along your pots. Pans were right out of the question, because they hadn't been invented yet. Pots were ubiquitous, and those of early Tibet are similar to what one finds all over the Neolithic world. Similar, indeed, to the pots of North America.

To digress:

I think most honorable, educated, civil, and perfumed adults will agree that the ancients could not keep still, and at least some of them entered into fluent intercourse between what we now know as Tibet and what we now suspect is California -- known in ancient times as "a really long way over there," and "a really bitchin' place over here."

How could it be otherwise?

Mitochondrial DNA is categorized into various groups, known as haplogroups. Testing of Native Americans reveals that out of the thirty-nine possible haplogroups, they possess linkages to five, called A, B, C, D, and X. Of these, A, C, and D are associated with Siberian Asia, and X is associated with the Gobi Desert. So, gosh, and heck yes... around 50,000 to 35,000 BCE, shamans beat the drums, and people picked up their pots and walked across the Bering Straits, to first settle not far from my hermitage, at what is now called (wouldn't you know it), one of the "most controversial archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere."

To digress from the digression:

I go looking around there on a frequent basis, searching for anything my predecessor might've dropped. The controversy arises because the site seems to indicate the presence of tool-making humans in California around 200,000 years ago -- a far cry from the 50,000 to 35,000 BCE date period that everybody wants to agree upon. I have looked at all of the evidence, and I'm sorry... I really can't remember... you'll have to read the book.

Back to the matter at hand:

In any event, early Tibetan pottery looks like early pottery everywhere else, and it really hasn't changed all that much over the past 1,000 years or so, as witness the example below:

This is both a pity and an opportunity. To my knowledge, nobody outside of China has yet begun the task of identifying and cataloging the extant kilns of Tibet, nor has there been much (big money Western) archaeological interest in finding pre or protohistoric sites. It is also a disappointment that collectors haven't "found" Tibetan pottery yet, nor are the museums making any effort to cultivate the region.

Sharpen up those grant-writing pencils. This one's a winner.

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