The Curse of Oak Island ends the season on a dubious note. Did you really think that the entrance to an underground treasure tunnel could be accessed from the bottom of a swamp? Ancient pirates didn’t have SCUBA gear. The Oak Island team seemed pleased to find a Spanish copper coin in the swamp. They found it pretty close to where the guy from Norway said the Mercy sephirot was. In fact, the Norwegian thrashed around in the swamp and showed them exactly where the spot was. What serendipity!
By the way, the Internet has Spanish maravedis coins for sale at between $1-$100, a small investment to keep an adventure going. I wouldn’t be so skeptical if coins were found scattered all over the swamp and other places on the island, but only one was found in a spot where lots of people had been wading and digging. Other than the coconut fibers, nothing encouraging has been found, in my opinion. I guess we’ll wait and see what next season offers.
America Unearthed, Swampy Mummies: The episode starts with the discovery of the Windover primitive burials then moves through several locations while exploring the theory of an early Atlantic crossing to North America.
Recently, Scott has begun to interview more qualified individuals on the show. In addition, situations are being created where he can speak to his expertise, which is geology. I think this may be in response to those who denigrate his credentials. In any case, the adjustments make the show more interesting.
Let’s hit some important new information, which wasn’t extensive public knowledge prior to this episode being filmed:
1. Recent discoveries suggest that the white gene mutation occurred 7000 years ago, long after the migration to the Americas. Whether immigration occurred solely over the Bering Strait (Beringia) or also across the Atlantic Ocean, everyone was brown in those days. White people were not involved, regardless of where the immigrants came from. However the second bit of new information implies that Europeans were assuredly involved, also regardless of which coast they arrived on.
2. A study of DNA from Siberia suggests that Native Americans are not simply extensions of the Eastern Asians, but are a whole new people who arose from interracial relations between European stock, most closely related to Germans and Czechs, and East Asian stock. It is possible that some from each of the parent groups crossed over as well, but most of those who came over the Bering Straits were a distinctly new people, the Americans.
Hence the issue of European DNA in America seems to have been settled before this episode was aired. However it brought several interesting items to my attention:
1. I never heard of Windover before, but I was aware of other oxygen free environments, namely the Black Sea, where wooden ships, as old as the Greeks and Romans, have been found in exceptional condition. As a side note, the lack of oxygen must have been characteristic of the Black Sea (at least at depth) since Roman times, since ships that old have been preserved there.
2. Dr. Stanford presented a map that shows the extension of the European land mass during the peak of the last glaciation. Generally we are shown Beringia at the peak of the Ice Age, not the European coast. This is the first time I recall seeing it mapped. It would be interesting to see the entire global circa 11,000 to 12,000 years ago.
3. Stanford also said that Solutrean points have been found in eastern North America. This astounded me. To me, that implies there only two possibilities: the Solutrean culture did come over, likely heading west not east, although given the time frame, it could have gone east to west as well; or someone has faked some stone implements. The Solutrean pattern of knapping is too distinctive to have been independently developed in two parts of the world at roughly the same time.
Previously, I thought the argument for the Atlantic crossing was based on the similarity of the Clovis and the Solutrean projectiles: they are similar in knapping, but different in shape.
The Clovis Point was first discovered near Clovis, New Mexico. Clovis is about equidistant between Greenland and the Bering Straits, which is NOT me saying that the Clovis people came from Greenland; it’s just an interesting geographical fact. After the first discovery, great concentrations of Clovis Points were discovered on the East Coast, leading some people to propose that it was first introduced there. Logically, the first place that the Clovis Point was discovered by modern man has nothing to do with it being the place it was first introduced by ancient man. Also the place where the greatest number of points has been discovered has nothing to do with where it was first introduced, rather it has to do with one, or more, of these factors: more modern people have looked for them there, they are easier to find there, the greatest concentration of ancients settled there, more were preserved there… I’m sure you can come up with even more possibilities.
4. At one point in the episode the European heritage of the bog mummies was denied on the basis that the Windover DNA was from an “ancient Asian” haplogroup group. As I said above, recent DNA tests on the Siberian remains seem to go against this statement. This article in Scientific American has the title, “Americas’ Natives Have European Roots,” meaning natives of all the Americas: North, South, and Central, have European ancestors, as well as East Asian ancestors. To further emphasize the point the subtitle is: “The oldest known genome of a modern human solves long-standing puzzles about the New World’s genetic heritage.”
Genetic material was extracted from Siberian remains that were 24,000 years old, making them the oldest contributor to the human genome; hence, this is a benchmark study in several ways. Further down in the article it states: “DNA from the boy’s mitochondria…haplogroup U, which is found in Europe and West Asia but not in East Asia, where his body was unearthed.” It is also found in Native Americas.
The earliest date for the Clovis people is around 12,000 years ago, giving roughly 12,000 years for their Siberia forefathers to find their way across Beringia—this seems to be a very long time, and I suspect that someday pre-Clovis people of the same genetic heritage will be found to fill in the 12,000 year gap.
A pre-Clovis site already has been found at Pedra Furada in Brazil, and, dated at 55,000 years ago, it also predates the Siberian forefathers of the Native Americans. I think we can conclude that a lot more will be discovered before the migrations to the New World are fully understood.