Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Can You Dig It?

As mentioned a couple days ago, I went wandering around. This time, my peregrinations led me back  to Calico Early Man Archaeological Site, where I always seem to wind up this time of year. I do not know what it is about the place that draws me back.

Calico is, of course, the world's most controversial archaeological site; where some scholars feel that the famed Louis Leakey met his intellectual Waterloo.

Master Pit No. 1 at Calico

The controversy hinges on the tension been artifacts and geofacts -- there are some lithic implements that are almost indistinguishable from the naturally fractured lithics of geological action -- and the all-important question of dating.

One school of thought demonstrates that Calico is the earliest known evidence of human habitation in the Western Hemisphere -- the supposed artifacts found there are dated back 200,000 years. The arguments "in favor" are persuasive, and many scholars subscribe to their authenticity.

However, a contending school of thought demands that human habitation in the Mojave area can only reliably be traced back some 11,000 to 12,000 years. The equally persuasive arguments "against" pit geologists against anthropologists, in an interesting scientific investigation of what might have been.

Regardless of the science, I like the place, and I like to camp in the surrounding mountains. There are caves, mines, and so forth, and an amazing variety of minerals. I like to watch the sky up there.

The plan was to stay up there most of this week, but not long after we began our expedition the first snows of the season came. I wanted to stay out, but I was voted down by the majority, who failed to see the wonder in cold rain and howling winds.

Some places got 14" to 16" snowfall overnight, which of course pleased all the skiers. Now is a good time to collect certain medicinal substances from the higher elevations.

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