Monte Verde Chile Archeology
Standard archeology feels impelled to declare that the first human inhabitants
of the Americas came over the Bering Straits from Asia. Now recent finds
at Monte Verde in Chile make that view tenuous. However, the new discoveries
are quite consistent with the Theosophical view of history. On this subject,
news that can cause a pitched battle among archeologists can be greeted
as only so much more confirmation from the perspective of Theosophy.
The problem of the origin of the first human inhabitants of the Americas
has been a problem for archeologists. In the 1930's they discovered spear-points
at Clovis in New Mexico, USA and concluded that the human inhabitants of
the Americas came from Asia by crossing over the Bering Straits. Evidence
accumulated that seemed to substantiate this view and it became the standard
knowledge. Some alledgedly human remains were found in Monte Verde, quite
far south in Chile. For two decades archeologists fought acrimonious debates
on the authenticity of these new finds. One problem was they were much farther
south than New Mexico and some 1,300 years older. This required a significant
change in view. Now these finds have been "officially" sanctioned
but the problem has suddenly become much worse. Distinctly human seeming
remains have been found at the same site in Chile from some 20,000 earlier.
In the newspaper article below is says:
Should this prove true, it would revolutionize research into one of
the most intractable mysteries in American archeology: Just when were the
Americas first truly a New World, and how did people get here?
But now we realize we don't really know when the human entry time was,"
Dr. Meltzer said. And Dr. Dillehay said he did not even want to speculate
on the implications for early American migrations if he should establish
that people were at Monte Verde as early as 33,000 years ago.
And the article further adds:
No scholars seriously consider the possibility that the early Americans
landed first in South America.
So the noose around the established views tightens. Now what does Thesophy
say? Theosophy teaches that there was a continental sized land mass running
up and down the north and south Atlantic ocean. This was known as Atlantis.
It first began sinking around 4 million years ago (while containing human
inhabitants). By some 12,000 BC the final remaining island sunk and that
gave rise to the references to Altantis mentioned by Plato. The civilization
on Atlantis had become advanced. Some of the inhabitants fled the final
sinking and went East to various locations. There was plenty of time and
capability for other people to have moved to the land now known as the western
So finding much earlier remains of human habitation in Chile poses absolutely
no problem for the Theosophical view of history. Again the article says
"No scholars seriously consider the possibility that the early Americans
landed first in South America". Now that the Clovis man lock on history
has been sprung and the Bering Strait explanation is in troubled waters,
we look forward to findings of yet older and older human habitation in the
(For more on Atlantis.)
The clear, burbling waters of Chinchihuapi Creek flow out of misty hills,
past dark stumps of an ice-age forest and through green pastures, where
cattle graze and from time to time a farmer still finds a huge mastodon
tusk eroding out of the peat. No one standing by the creek today would suspect
that this bucolic place, known as Monte Verde, was so recently the scene
of a pitched intellectual battle among archeologists over when people first
inhabited the Americas.
The scars of excavation have disappeared. Lush grass grows over the filled-in
trenches, where archeologists had found the amazingly preserved wood, tied
and knotted strings, hearths and even leftover mastodon meat of an ancient
hunter-gatherer camp. The cookhouse and tent sites of the excavators are
also gone without a trace.
Even the scars of battle seem to have healed. Last year, after two decades
of acrimony, a blue-ribbon group of archeologists reached a kind of peace
treaty acknowledging the triumph of the Monte Verde excavators. Their evidence
had indeed established the site as the earliest firmly dated place of human
habitation in the Americas. People had lived here 12,500 years ago, about
1,300 years before the previously accepted date for earliest known Americans,
derived from stone spear points found in the 1930's near Clovis, N.M.
On a recent visit to Monte Verde, east of this seaport in southern Chile,
Dr. Mario Pino, a geologist at the Southern University of Chile in Valdivia,
leaned into the north bank of the creek and stabbed the dark soil with the
pick end of a geology hammer. He exposed more pieces of wood from the camp
where prehistoric humans once lived.
But the wood held less interest to him than a green knoll several hundred
feet away, south of the creek. Pointing with the
hammer, Dr. Pino said that cursory excavations there had turned up possible
remains of human habitation at Monte Verde 20,000 years earlier than the
camp north of the creek. Should this prove true, it would revolutionize
research into one of the most intractable mysteries in American archeology:
Just when were the Americas first truly a New World, and how did people
Dr. Pino and Dr. Tom D. Dillehay of the University of Kentucky in Lexington,
the archeologist who has directed the Monte Verde explorations, are planning
more extensive excavations of the knoll site in January 2001. They plan
to strip away six feet of topsoil with a bulldozer, then begin fine- tooth
digging in the lower layers where evidence of human activity has emerged.
"There's no doubt about the age -- it's 33,000
years old," Dr.
Pino said of the sediment layers bearing the apparent artifacts
under the knoll. The date, which would put the occupation
during a warm interlude in the ice ages, is based on radiocarbon
examination of burned wood that scientists suspect came from
hearths at the hunting camp. Archeologists found the charcoal
in three shallow depressions lined with scorched clay. Other
hints of human occupation include 24 fractured pebbles, several
of which were probably flaked by people using them to cut
and scrape meat, hides and plants.
When independent archeologists visited Monte
Verde last year and authenticated the younger camp site, Dr. Pino said,
they also examined the material from the deeper, 33,000- year-old layer.
"They said there is no doubt these are real human artifacts,"
he said. "We were surprised. We expected another fight."
Dr. Dillehay is somewhat more circumspect. In an interview by telephone,
he said: "We'll open up that level and see what's there. If the results
remain ambiguous, we will have done the best we could. But I'm leaning toward
accepting the antiquity of the level and the traces of human activity."
Dr. David J. Meltzer, an archeologist at Southern Methodist University
in Dallas, who was a member of the review committee that endorsed the younger
site, welcomes the new excavations. The older layer is "really intriguing,"
he said, "but we can't conclude anything about it until we have a better
sense of what's there."
What is needed, Dr. Meltzer said, are excavations over a much larger
area to increase the chances of finding many more artifacts and samples
for radiocarbon analysis. If these support the date and the presence of
humans at the site, he predicted, other archeologists wll be quicker to
accept the findings than they were with the first Monte Verde site.
"Of course, it depends on what they find," he said, "but
this time archeologists wouldn't be as resistant because now they are not
operating within the framework of Clovis history."
Since the 1930's discovery of distinctive
spear points of the so-called Clovis hunters, nearly all archeologists
staunchly held the view that the first Americans were big-game
hunters who crossed the ice-covered Bering Straits between
Siberia and Alaska about 12,000 to 13,000 years ago that is,
not long before the 11,200-year-old dates of the earliest
Clovis weapons. Prior
to the Monte Verde breakthrough, several other presumed pre-Clovis
sites had been reported, but none has yet met all the requirements
to be judged an authentic human site dating earlier than the
Once archeologists accepted the 12,500-year date for the younger Monte
Verde camp, they were forced to rethink how long people had already been
in the Americas for them to have made it all the way from North America
to southern Chile, 500 miles south of Santiago.
Archeologists are also puzzled by the absence so far of any confirmed
human sites in North America that predate Monte Verde. The numbers of migrating
human bands must have been so small, and their movements so nomadic, that
they left no impression on the land they were "archeologically invisible."
No scholars seriously consider the possibility that
the early Americans landed first in South America. All linguistic,
genetic and other evidence points to the Bering Strait as
the most likely point of entry.
"But now we realize we don't
really know when the human entry time was," Dr.
Meltzer said. And Dr. Dillehay said he did not even want to
speculate on the implications for early American migrations
if he should establish that people were at Monte Verde as
early as 33,000 years ago.
If it had not been for a quirk of nature, Dr. Pino pointed out, archeologists
would probably never have known that some hunting-and-gathering people occupied
the banks of the Chinchihuapi at least 12,500 years ago. The land covering
the site is a water-saturated peat bog, which isolated the wooden poles
and tent-pegs, animal hides and other perishables of the old camp from oxygen
and thus decay. Otherwise such materials rarely survive the centuries.
The attention of archeologists was first drawn to Monte Verde by the
chance discovery of some mastodon bones. The owners of the land, Juan Barria
and his son, Sergio, led Dr. Pino across the squishy bog to a shed to show
him their latest find. It was a piece of mastodon tusk, which would have
been 6 to 10 feet long and 6 inches in diameter.
"This animal would have weighed two tons," Dr. Pino said, rubbing
the tusk. "Enough food for two or three months for a
prehistoric family living at Monte Verde."