(Amazon) 2011
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Of all the human characteristics, mobility is among the most interesting. Immense courage and curiosity is demanded to walk into the unkown and keep on walking until one dies, is killed or discovers something useful. What a person takes with them is experience but what drives them is belief, belief that there is something down the trail. Something that represents salvation. Somewhere that is better than where they are. Driven by imagination and vision they are compelled to seek new experience.

Consider if you will, why a family group, carrying with it all it knows of survival and procreation, and thus must contain men, women and children, walk out on the ice looking for something, even when there is no immediate evidence whatsoever that something better awaits them.

18,000 years ago there was an ice age. The polar caps reached well into temperate latitudes. Around the southern rim of the North Pole, nomads found their way from Siberia and Europe along the edge of the ice and down into North America. An astonishing feat of migration regardless of how long it took them.

People from Siberia finding their way across the Baring Strait even though there is nothing but ice is daunting and impressive. But they are not a singular event. People of South Western Europe cross the Atlantic with nothing but water on the horizon. The Europeans probably had the better chance, as with a strong current and favorable weather, the trip might have taken as little as three weeks but they did not know that when they set out.

Simultaneously flotillas of immigrants entered South America by crossing the Pacific, a much more onerous endeavour than crossing the Atlantic. We know this because Mitochondrial DNA studies confirm South China or Indonesia ancestry of much of the present aboriginal population in South America. The typical surprised reaction of anthropologists to Pleistocene Brazilian skulls was that they resembled no current race. Skeletons of mastodon-hunters in Peru look neanderthaloid, totally unlike native Peruvians today. There many theories as to why this might be the case.

What did these migrants bring with them? Those crossing the Atlantic from the East are hunter gatherers. They know how to stampede horse and cattle herds over cliffs as do the later Paleo-Indians stampede bison and elephants, and occasionally camels and horses over precipices as a collective hunting strategy.

These people travel in very small bands, living in the open and staying in one place only a few days at a time. They have the technology such as the eyed bone needle to build seaworthy craft similar to those used by Eskimos and Inuit to the present day. There are pictures of canoes, kayaks, and dugout types painted in red or black in Pleistocene Spanish caves at La Pasiege, Castillo, and La Pileta, which include the midship gunwale peak later seen in Beothuk watercraft of Newfoundland. They are experts at catching and killing the fish and marine mammals that hunt and feed among the icebergs of the North Atlantic with multi-barbed bone harpoons. They are in the habit of burying caches of stone artifacts and covering them in red ochre. They make flint blades and arrow and spear heads using the edge-to-edge or "outre passe" bifacial percussion flaking. Their speciality is exquisite laurel and willow-leaf projectile points (arrows), sometimes fluted, hafted and hurled by hand or atlatl. Fluting is a groove partway up the stem, both thining the haft and allowing a better join. Fluted all the way up, Folsom points, find perfection in Clovis culture after mammoths (and mastodons) have disappeared, leaving bison as primary prey. Then Archaic Plano points, which dispensed with fluting, target smaller species and we are brought to modern time. Over the next six millennia, Clovis and other hunting and gathering culture spread as far as the American deserts and Canadian tundra, and perhaps into South America.

The nomads brought with them all these things,and much more. Very importantly they brought the ability to reproduce and develop the technology they already employed but they also probably brought their beliefs, communicated in stories and songs and pictures, but carried in a place deep within their own bodies. A place, for lack of a better word, some call the soul. The soul is the magic helix, the repository of our beliefs.

If you've followed me thus far, hang on....But here are two possible choices.

PROCEED or GO BACK HOME.............


(Amazon) 2012
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purchase here (U.K.)