Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dr James M. Adovasio Interview! (4/11/14)

We are lucky enough to welcome one of the foremost archaeologists in the world to TRP! Dr. James M. Adovasio, currently the Provost, Dean of the Zurn School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Director of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute at Mercyhurst University

Just who were "the first" Americans?? Dr. Adovasio has very graciously come on to discuss his now famous work at Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania and his subsequent role in the “Clovis First/Pre-Clovis” debate. A prolific scholar, he has published nearly 400 books, monographs, articles, and papers. His credentials easily rank him with anyone on the planet in his field. He articulates some very confident statements to John & Frank, which they feel finally puts the supposed "debate" to an end! He also addresses his critics and gives us a wonderfully thought provoking interview! 

Dr. Adovasio is the recipient of a number of honors and awards. In 1971, the Smithsonian Institution awarded him a Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, followed by a Certificate for Academic Achievement in 1972. Adovasio received an honorary D.Sc. from Washington and Jefferson College in 1983. He also won the Mercyhurst College Alumni Association Outstanding Achievement Award (1993), the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Board Award for Archaeological Research at Meadowcroft Rockshelter (1996), and the J. Alden Mason Award for Career Contribution to Pennsylvania Prehistory (1996). In 1995, Dr. Adovasio became a Knight of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. His peers elected him as a fellow for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he has served as a lecturer for the Archaeological Institute of America since 2008.

He excavated the Meadowcroft Rockshelter site in Pennsylvania from 1973 to 1978 under the auspices of the University of Pittsburgh. The site contains 11 distinct stratigraphic units spanning at least 16,000, and potentially 19,000 radiocarbon years, of sporadic occupation, making it the oldest and longest occupational sequence in eastern North America and one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere. To support the radiocarbon dates from the earliest occupational levels, Adovasio emphasizes that the 52 radiocarbon dates from Meadowcroft are, with several inconsequential low order reversals in late contexts, in absolute stratigraphic order. Additionally, all of the assayed samples derive from firepits and fire features with directly associated cultural material of indisputable anthropogenic origins. The entire suite of early dates derives from beneath a rockfall event of Clovis age. 

Currently, Dr. Adovasio is working in the Gulf of Mexico looking for submerged sites on the continental shelf, focusing on submerged coastlines, especially where rivers meet the ocean. Analysis of submerged sites could yield a wealth of information about prehistoric humans, as modern humans have yet to disturb them due to the rise in sea level that submerged the sites thousands of years ago. He also continues to analyze prehistoric plant fiber perishables from throughout the world.

J. M. Adovasio has spent the last thirty years at the center of one of our most fiery scientific debates: Who were the first humans in the Americas, and how and when did they get there? 

At its heart, "The First Americans" is the story of the revolution in thinking that Adovasio and his fellow archaeologists have brought about, and the firestorm it has ignited. As he writes, “The work of lifetimes has been put at risk, reputations have been damaged, an astounding amount of silliness and even profound stupidity has been taken as serious thought, and always lurking in the background of all the argumentation and gnashing of tenets has been the question of whether the field of archaeology can ever be pursued as a science.”

Click Here: to download podcast right click and "Save Target As...or Save Link as..."