02 June, 2005
Mystery of the First Americans
Aside from the film on Africa, this is, strangely enough, my favourite of them all. Itfs difficult to put my finger on why – there are so many interesting points. I suppose that itfs the presentation of the enew old stuff;f I love hearing about new discoveries, new theories, things that break the status quo, and change the way we view the world, if only in little ways.
It was probably also the controversy – much as it hurts my pride to admit it, I like a good train wreck as much as the next morbidly curious bystander, and the events that hovered around Kennewick Man held me more riveted than I would have given them credit for.
I find myself really siding with the archaeologists and anthropologists in this one – a 9,000 year-old body doesnft belong to anyone. If it does, well then, do we not have to return the mummies of Egypt to their possible descendants for proper burial? Or what about the South American and Mezoamerican remains? Therefs certainly more proof about their descension than there is about the Kennewick Man, or any others of his contemporaries.
The evidence pointed out by the video rather firmly argues against Kennewick Man being an ancestor to modern Native Americans. Even if he were – it seems to me that the tribe(s) claiming him would want to know more about their ancestry. I can imagine how frustrating it must be, for archaeologists trying to learn more about the origins of the peoples of the Americas.
One of the most interesting points that was highlighted, I think, is the tendency of the media to take things out of context. The facial reconstruction of Kennewick Man found Caucasiod features – the paper said ewhite,f which, as I learned for the first time, are not necessarily the same thing. Itfs very disheartening to see the way that information is handled by unqualified non-experts, as most members of the media are.
The other interesting – and cool – thing shown in the video is the skull-casting method used in the case of Spirit Cave Man. Ifve seen it once or twice before, but itfs still really neat; modern technology is just so sci-fi! The more ways that we have to do a thing, it seems, the better and more accurate results we can get.