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New Discoveries at the Smith Creek Sites, Mississippi

Penn State Researchers are studying are studying the transition between the Coles Creek Culture and the later Plaquemine Culture in Mississippi at the Smith Creek sites. They have found arrowheads, animal bones, pottery. Mounds at the two sites they are excavating were constructed by the Coles Creek people from 800-1000 CE. One mound was a temple foundation, another was for a burial. White sand was brought to build one layer of a mound. A human skull was found, but the neighboring tribal leaders asked that the skull not be studied or excavated. The later Plaquimine culture, who took up residence there, grew corn and amaranth, squash, pecans, sunflower seeds, fish, turtle and deer. The sites at Smith Creek show the transition between the hunting and gathering Coles Creek Culture and the sedentary Plaquemine farming culture.

The Advocate has the report here with a good slide show

And Penn State has a larger blog about the ongoing work at the site

Possible 3000 Year Old Writing at the Peruvian Site of Checta

El Comercio Peru reports that there is strong evidence of writing at 2200 BCE at the site of Checta, a petroglyph site 3 hours from Lima. 500 petroglyphs at the site show images and motifs from four cultural periods. The second phase from 2200-1000 BCE could be writing. The same motifs appear over a wide area for 1000 years. The designs appear to be ideographs like ancient Sumerican writing. The site is endangered by new roads leading to a mine and hew housing. Pruvian officials have not been resposive to taking steps to preserve the site.

The Bradshaw Foundation has the report here

And with a film and photos of the glyphs here

Underwater Maya Temple Complex Discovered at Cara Blanca, Belize

Archaeologists are working at the Maya site of Cara Blanca in Belize. They have discovered an underwater temple complex. It appears that the Maya at this site were making hurried sacrifices to the rain god Chaak to stave off a continuing drought. Pots and bowls were thrown in by pilgrams coming here to pray for rain. Lisa Lucero is the lead archaeologist at the site, and has been investigating there for four years. Repeated droughts in the Maya realm eventually helped to bring the Maya kings down by 800 CE. The floors of the water temple were sprinkled with sacrificed potsherds and fossil teeth and claws. People also pulled out rocks and fossils from the bottom of the pools and cenotes to incorporate into above ground temples. Human sacrifices also took place in these pools.

National Geographic has the report with nice photos;
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150127-maya-water-temple-drought-archaeology-science/

New Discoveries at the Old Vero Man Site may Yield Pre-Clovis Proof

The Old Vero Man Site is being excavated in Florida anew in a large way. Radiocarbon dating of the soil that contained cultural materials and 170 species of plants and animals have been dated at 13,000-14,000 years ago. A buried soil layer has been dated at 19,000 years old. Burnt fragments of bone, some with cut marks, indicate a human presence at this Pre-Clovis dated site. Florida Atlantic University scientists are working with the archaeological team to confirm dates on any human artifacts that may be found at the site. Excavations will continue into 2015.

Heritage Daily has the report here with a very good film narrated by James Adavasio.

According to Mike Ruggeri

All of the Pre-Clovis or possible Pre-Clovis discoveries made so far fall into four categories;

1) Sites were human bones or skulls have been found and possible stone tools, but where the claims of Pre-Clovis have not been confirmed, but postulated.

2) Sites where stone artifacts that have been made by humans or appear to have been made by humans have been found but with no corresponding human/animal interation or human DNA, but where stratigraphy dating has been done by experts and then confirmed by outside researchers. The best example of a site like this is the Debra Friedkin Site in Texas, where years of excavation have been taking place and the dates of the stone artifacts continue to be confirmed as Pre-Clovis.

3) Sites where man made tools, materials like fabric, housing, man made tools and human DNA have been found and dated and confirmed by outside peer group testing. There are two of these sites. Monte Verde, Chile, where all of these have been found, including seaweed that had been chewed on by humans yielding human DNA that was Pre-Clovis in time, along with all the other associated materials and tools dated at the same Pre-Clovis time period, and Paisley Cave in Oregon where tools and now human coprolites have been found thus giving human DNA to date. The human coprolites have been dated at Pre-Clovis along with the tools found in the cave.

4) Sites where animals that were extinct before Clovis times showed proof of human hunting and butchering at these Pre-Clovis times. There are two of these; The Manis Mastodon site and the Ohio Ground sloth find.