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Archaeologists never returned to the site and curiosity died out. Soon after, this once world-class archaeology region became off-limits for official research, a "professional forbidden zone. Why this radical turn-about? What was found that was so unspeakable, so impossible? What happened to these artifacts--America's earliest art and spearheads, and why don't archaeologists seem to care?
In the new book, The First American, archaeologist Christopher Hardaker tries to unearth the mystery. The wormhole became an academic black hole, the region became a forbidden zone, and Valsequillo dropped from the lips of credibility. In the end the archaeologists won through silence. Irwin-Williams never published an official volume; not even site reports. And the curiousity that raged through the professional community was calmly checked at the door of credibility.
What happened to the artifacts? There was lots of stuff. Now it is forgotten stuff, largely a non-subject on both sides of the border with professionals from Mexico and the US sharing a common disinterest.
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This was America's first art, first spearheads, first kill sites, and a lot of other firsts as well. It satisfied all the required perfections demanded by the Clovis First crowd. And it was still flushed down the academic toilet.
The archaeologists would not work with the geologists unless they recanted their "ridiculous" dates. The geologists could not do this. Every time they dated the site with different dating techniques, the site came out as old or older than , years. And it would take a lot more than catcalls by angry archaeologists to make the geologist betray the scientific laws governing their evidence. Science is not opinion, but that was all the archaeologists could muster.
And in the end, the archaeologists won by default, by absolute noncomment; not even a whisper. And that was pretty much that. Had it not been for a lone hold out geologist from the original project, one of America's greatest archaeology stories would have been lost to the fog of professional amnesia.
She was able to recover the archives of Irwin-Williams, who had passed away several years earlier.
Letters, notes, some photos and other materials would show that Valsequillo was pure archaeological gold. It may not have been the earliest contender for the preClovis throne, but it was simply the best. And my archaeological elders didn't tell us about it?
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Or they felt compelled to forget about it? Only deep therapy will tell. One thing is certain. From that point on, for the next thirty years, First American studies were held hostage by the myth of Adam and Eve Clovis. Today, Valsequillo still remains unresolved. The good news is that pros are back doing work at one of the sites. A couple years ago, another investigator reported finding human footprints in lava a few miles away.
The First American: The Suppressed Story of the People Who Discovered the New World
It is an ongoing drama, and this is the prequel. Most of these people were prime time players during the s, and included at least two notable Clovis Firsters. It was an early instance of an integrated and multi-disciplined approach to archaeology. The potential worldwide implications for the Valsequillo discoveries could be monumental, and the world was watching. The official model for the rise of modern humans was facing its greatest challenge. In , we got to go back for another look with a whole new generation of Mexican archaeologists.
It had nothing to do with renewed interest by the US professional community. They had shown they were willing to let the priceless discovery drift forever. Rather, it took the interest of a well-healed outsider, a MIT engineering graduate, to get the show back on the road.