Researcher finds 10,000 year-old hunting weapon in melting ice patch (w/ Video)

Jun 29, 2010
University of Colorado at Boulder Research Associate Craig Lee holds a 10,000-year-old atlatl dart that had been frozen in an ice sheet near Yellowstone National Park. The dart was straight when it was entombed and became bowed from the melting and barely survived being snapped in half by a passing animal. Credit: Photo by Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado

(PhysOrg.com) -- To the untrained eye, University of Colorado at Boulder Research Associate Craig Lee's recent discovery of a 10,000-year-old wooden hunting weapon might look like a small branch that blew off a tree in a windstorm.

Nothing could be further from the truth, according to Lee, a research associate with CU-Boulder's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research who found the atlatl dart, a spear-like hunting weapon, melting out of an ice patch high in the close to .

Lee, a specialist in the emerging field of ice patch archaeology, said the dart had been frozen in the ice patch for 10 millennia and that climate change has increased global temperatures and accelerated melting of permanent ice fields exposing organic materials that have long been entombed in the ice.

"We didn't realize until the early 2000s that there was a potential to find archaeological materials in association with melting permanent snow and ice in many areas of the globe," Lee said. "We're not talking about , we're talking about the smaller, more kinetically stable snowbanks that you might see if you go to Rocky Mountain National Park."

As glaciers and ice fields continue to melt at an unprecedented rate, increasingly older and significant artifacts -- as well as plant material, animal carcasses and ancient feces -- are being released from the ice that has gripped them for thousands of years, he said.

Over the past decade, Lee has worked with other researchers to develop a geographic information system, or GIS, model to identify glaciers and ice fields in Alaska and elsewhere that are likely to hold artifacts. They pulled together biological and physical data to find ice fields that may have been used by prehistoric hunters to kill animals seeking refuge from heat and insect swarms in the summer months.

"In these instances, what we're finding as archaeologists is stuff that was lost," Lee said. "Maybe you missed a shot and your weapon disappeared into the snowbank. It's like finding your keys when you drop them in snow. You're not going to find them until spring. Well, the spring hasn't come until these things started melting for the first time, in some instances, in many, many thousands of years."

The dart Lee found was from a birch sapling and still has personal markings on it from the ancient hunter, according to Lee. When it was shot, the 3-foot-long dart had a projectile point on one end, and a cup or dimple on the other end that would have attached to a hook on the atlatl. The hunter used the atlatl, a throwing tool about two feet long, for leverage to achieve greater velocity.

Later this summer Lee and CU-Boulder student researchers will travel to Glacier National Park to work with the Salish, Kootenai and Blackfeet tribes and researchers from the University of Wyoming to recover and protect artifacts that may have recently melted out of similar locations.

"We will be conducting an unprecedented collaboration with our Native American partners to develop and implement protocols for culturally appropriate scientific methods to recover and protect artifacts we may discover," he said.

Quick retrieval of any organic artifacts like clothing, wooden tools or weapons is necessary to save them, because once thawed and exposed to the elements they decompose quickly, he said.

An estimated 10 percent of Earth's land surface is covered with perennial snow, glaciers and ice fields, providing plenty of opportunities for exploration, Lee said. However, once organic artifacts melt out of the ice, they could be lost forever.

"Ninety-five percent of the archaeological record that we usually base our interpretations on is comprised of chip stone artifacts, ground stone artifacts, maybe old hearths, which is a fire pit, or rock rings that would have been used to stabilize a house," Lee said. "So we really have to base our understanding about ancient times on these inorganic materials. But ice patches are giving us this window into organic technology that we just don't get in other environments."

Explore further: Greek archaeology site sparks intense interest (Update)

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kevinrtrs
1 / 5 (10) Jun 30, 2010
Good for Lee to be able to recognize some ordinary looking twig as really being something made by a human being.
Question is whether this "bow" could have arisen by itself through the action of ice, snow and land movement. Just like life is supposed to have arisen by itself billions of years ago - even though the incredible complexity in the DNA code points clearly to some intelligent designer.

The point is why are we not asking the same question of this incredibly simple thing? What makes it so different from a cell that we can't assume it arose spontaneously? Or else why can't we also point to a designer for the cell if we can point to a designer for this simple thing?

Ethelred
4.3 / 5 (12) Jun 30, 2010
Question is whether this "bow" could have arisen by itself through the action of ice, snow and land movement.
No. Not if it has the tool marks described.
even though the incredible complexity in the DNA code points clearly to some intelligent designer.
You point not DNA. The complexity came from the environment and mutation. You simply don't want to understand. If you did you would quit running away when confronted with reality.
The point is why are we not asking the same question of this incredibly simple thing?
Apparently there are tool marks. Signs that a stone head was on it at one time.
What makes it so different from a cell that we can't assume it arose spontaneously?
Cells aren't made. They grow and reproduce but not exactly. Do you think the cut marks can reproduce themselves? Unless you do there is no relationship between the two items. One grows and one is shaped.

Since there is no designer of the cell it is VERY hard to point to one.

Ethelred
kevinrtrs
1.4 / 5 (9) Jul 01, 2010
@Ethelred. You are clearly missing the point.

Can you not see the contradiction that arises from a philosophical constraint that there is no God?

That was the whole aim of the statement.

Have you ever gone thru the exercise of starting from scratch when thinking about where life comes from and how it would be possible for things to evolve from a single cell into a human being [ or dolphin or ostrich or eland for that matter ]? Have you thought it out for yourself instead of regurgatating the textbooks?
Just try it. Read the book on biomolecular chemistry of the cell and check out all the "it could be", "it might have been" and "it is thought that" kind of statements made with regards to evolution.
If you have an engineering or software development background you pretty easily see the enormous gaps between those "supposed" statements and things that actually work.
The more we know about the cell, the more impossible it becomes for evolution to go from a single cell to a man.
Ethelred
4.6 / 5 (9) Jul 01, 2010
This is going to be a tad long. With a link or two to places where things were discussed with REAL posts. None of the idiocy about brevity being soul for twits.
Ethelred. You are clearly missing the point.
Rubbish. We both know that you are a creationist.
Can you not see the contradiction that arises from a philosophical constraint that there is no God?
No. Jehovah is not required for the Universe to exist. Even there was a God called Jehova there is no physical evidence to support the idea that Jehovah or any other deity created the Universe a mere 7,000 years ago. If such a thing had happened the evidence would be clear, obvious, and absolutely provable and I would not be an Agnostic.

Continuing on
Ethelred
4.5 / 5 (8) Jul 01, 2010
Stage 2 Enter some links.
Have you ever gone thru the exercise of starting from scratch when thinking about where life comes from
Yes. Here is one link or two to a somewhat representative discussion.

Questions for creationists
http://apolyton.n...p;page=8

"Theory of Evolution Should have never been a part of this game! "
http://apolyton.n...;page=14

This one is just to show where I started discussing these things. However the thread has pretty good discussion with a guy called 68nate.
The Religion-Evolution Circle
http://forums.pro...17764.33

? Have you thought it out for yourself instead of regurgatating the textbooks?


What a bizarre statement considering how much my posts are clearly based on my own thinking. And coming from one that refuses to think about how evolution occurs and gets his information from Creationists.

Continued Exeunt the links
Ethelred
4.5 / 5 (8) Jul 01, 2010
Stage 3 Unwarranted assumptions of ignorance
. Read the book on biomolecular chemistry of the cell
Which one? The one I have doesn't have much to say about evolution but then I have only skimmed through it since it doesn't cover the newer information on ribosomes that I was interested in at that time.
all the "it could be", "it might have been" and "it is thought that" kind of statements made with regards to evolution
What is your problem with them. We CAN'T have evidence at that level except by looking at the genes which is just getting started and we don't have much in the way of genetics for even recently extinct species. We are never going to have details for the cambrian era. Which in no way makes the world 7,000 years old.
f you have an engineering or software development background
Some of both. But neither teaches you evolution UNLESS you are engaged in testing evolution. Which has been done. Both with software and with electrical circuits. Successfully.

Continu
Ethelred
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 01, 2010
Stage 4 The End of the Beginning

The more we know about the cell, the more impossible it becomes for evolution to go from a single cell to a man.


What utter rubbish. However it is true that the more we learn about genes the more we can see the steps in evolution of the cells. And the more we see Dr. Behe make stuff up and then claim its proof of design because HE can't see how things might have evolved.

Even Dr. Behe believes in evolution is not under the delusion that the world is only 7000 years old. He just doesn't want to think about things can happen. He just wants to claim they can't. Which is why he did so badly at the Dover trial.

Ethelred
frajo
3.4 / 5 (5) Jul 01, 2010
None of the idiocy about brevity being soul for twits.
Well, I'm enjoying concise phrasings. They are pieces of art. Unfortunately, the casual reader sometimes confuses art with "pointless verbiage".
droom
4.2 / 5 (5) Jul 04, 2010
DNA is that complex because its has a BILLION years of information in it. Its complexity lends into the thought of it being around a very long time, not that it was designed. And if someone did design life, they were certainly not infallible like the "God" so many believe in, because life is nowhere near perfect and is downright inefficient at many turns.
adaptation
1 / 5 (1) Jul 05, 2010
@Ethelred:
The idea here should be to engage in a discourse, not to rant (Maybe a strong word choice. Sorry if that offended you.) or take a poke at some one.

I've come to a deeper understanding of many things by arguing for them. Telling somebody why evolution is real could benefit both of you. (It would most certainly benefit the creationist.) Usually, if it appears that an individual is being attacked, there is a tendency for that person to close off and fight back.

Both science and religion have their own dogmas and neither is perfect.

We have something to learn from each other. Try to find out what it is.
Ethelred
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 05, 2010
The idea here should be to engage in a discourse, not to ran
I totally agree. That is why I don't rant. I do point out crap when I see it and Creationist rarely avoid producing it. Rarely not never. Check out the link where I have a discussion with 68nate who is a Creationist. It is very rare to find a Creationist of any kind that discuss things rationally.
I've come to a deeper understanding of many things by arguing for them
You are not unique in this
Usually, if it appears that an individual is being attacked, there is a tendency for that person to close off and fight back.
Tell me something I don't know.
Both science and religion have their own dogmas and neither is perfect
The only real dogma of science is to avoid dogma.

Look if you have an issue with what I wrote get specific.

Ethelred
marjon
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 05, 2010
If the object was frozen 10000 years ago, it means the climate of today approximates the climate of 10000 years ago.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2010
If the object was frozen 10000 years ago, it means the climate of today approximates the climate of 10000 years ago.

Certainly does not. If the object was frozen 10,000 years ago that simply means it was frozen 10,000 years ago.
Ethelred
4 / 5 (4) Jul 05, 2010
If the object was frozen 10000 years ago,
It means that after 10,000 years it is now warm enough to thaw out stuff that was FIRST frozen 10,000 years ago. It also means that it DIDN'T thaw out during the warm period that ended in with the Little Ice Age.

Ethelred
marjon
1 / 5 (5) Jul 05, 2010
If the object was frozen 10000 years ago, it means the climate of today approximates the climate of 10000 years ago.

Certainly does not. If the object was frozen 10,000 years ago that simply means it was frozen 10,000 years ago.

Which means the climate was warmer before 10000 years ago and then started cooling.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2010
Now that might be true. Warmer then, not the same as now. However the CO2 content of the air is higher now then it was 10,000 years ago so there are going to significant climate differences.

Warmer at the poles for instance. Possible warmer at higher altitudes. So it could still be cooler overall than it was back then.

Now that I think about it this goes for Ötzi the Iceman as well. Though he was still mostly embedded in the ice when found nearly twenty years ago.

Ethelred
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jul 05, 2010
Which means the climate was warmer before 10000 years ago and then started cooling.
Warmer global climate would lead to the result you speak of, however, so would local or regional climate. You do not have enough evidence or knowledge of the region to determine whether the warmth you speak of is local, regional, or global.

You're making unsupportable assertions again.
adaptation
1 / 5 (2) Jul 05, 2010
Ethelred, what I was saying is that you attack people. That's not really helpful. Rather than pointing out "crap", it might be more advantageous to point out faulty logic or other mistakes.

Take the venom out and people will take you more seriously.

Unfortunately, the history of science is replete with dogma. The ideal is that we are open minded. The reality is far from that. Godel's incompleteness theorem (just one example) seems to indicate to me that even in science there are some things that we cannot prove. Despite these things being unprovable, we teach them as the truth. I'd call that dogmatic.

Since they've been finding feces, we should have a better idea of the early human diet(at least in that area). Does anyone have any info on recent finds on that topic (Diet, not necessarily poop.)? Thanks in advance.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2010
Since they've been finding feces, we should have a better idea of the early human diet(at least in that area). Does anyone have any info on recent finds on that topic (Diet, not necessarily poop.)? Thanks in advance.

Is it ironic to anyone else that you start off being displeased that Ethelred is attacking your crap, then you go further and expound upon said crap by asking for data about prehistoric crap?

The venom is there for a reason. It gains the attention of those who do not have reason and simple sheep their way through life, as you're doing with your track of "can't we all just get along?"
Ethelred
5 / 5 (5) Jul 06, 2010
q]Ethelred, what I was saying is that you attack peo

I figured out the first time. That is nonsense. Not that I never do but that I did in this case. I attacked ideas that are based on ignorance not the person.
Rather than pointing out "crap", it might be more advantageous to point out faulty logic or other mistakes.
Then again I can do what I really did which was to point out crap and SHOW WHY its crap. You seemed to have missed that part. Perhaps you are under the delusion that it wasn't crap.
Take the venom out and people will take you more seriously.
There was no venom. So I can't take it out.
Unfortunately, the history of science is replete with dogma.
Would you care to give an example? One that is real and not just a few persons with their egos tied up what they think they know. Again science is about stopping dogma as well as learning new things.

Continued
Ethelred
5 / 5 (5) Jul 06, 2010
Godel's incompleteness theorem (just one example) seems to indicate to me that even in science there are some things that we cannot prove.
Godel's Proof deals with math and logic not science based on evidence. Sure there are things we can't prove. Evolution by Natural Selection and the age of the Earth are not amongst them as they subject to evidence and not just logic.
Despite these things being unprovable, we teach them as the truth. I'd call that dogmatic.
Pretty broad brush there. In that paragraph there is only one thing of science mentioned and that was Godel's Proof. Since it seems unlikely that was what you were talking about perhaps you think Evolution by Natural Selection is unprovable despite the megatons of fossil evidence and all of life from the physical to the genetic showing evolution. In any case how about an example. You seem to be exclusively attacking me here without even bothering to back yourself up in anyway.

Continued
Ethelred
5 / 5 (3) Jul 06, 2010
Does anyone have any info on recent finds on that topic (Diet, not necessarily poop.)?
Poop is what you get. Fossilized Feces, brown gold.

Which my mother found hilarious when she went back to college in the 60's. Serious discussions of poop, carefully referred to as Fossilized Feces.

Have a link:
http://www.enotes...-methods

http://dsc.discov...ces.html

The second link is Pre-Clovis North American. Very interesting except to YECs who will hate it since the bleep happened over 14,000 years ago.

You know that if you really wanted that information you could have used Google. That is what I did.

Ethelred
frajo
5 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2010
Godel's incompleteness theorem (just one example) seems to indicate to me that even in science there are some things that we cannot prove.
To be precise:
Goedel's incompleteness theorems are mathematical theorems and not theorems of the natural sciences.
The first simply states that in certain mathematical systems there always will be (mathematically) true statements which can't be proved. The second is about the consistency of certain systems. They were a complete catastrophe for mathematicians eager to fulfil Hilbert's program.
Despite these things being unprovable, we teach them as the truth.
Not in mathematics.
I'd call that dogmatic.
There's no dogma in mathematics.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2010
To be precise:
Goedel's incompleteness theorems are mathematical theorems and not theorems of the natural sciences.
The first simply states that in certain mathematical systems there always will be (mathematically) true statements which can't be proved. The second is about the consistency of certain systems. They were a complete catastrophe for mathematicians eager to fulfil Hilbert's program.
Despite these things being unprovable, we teach them as the truth.
Not in mathematics.
I'd call that dogmatic.
There's no dogma in mathematics.

Actually I disagree. There is a small amount of dogma directly related to Goedel's postulate of unprovable truths within mathematics. It wasn't until a really snarky statistician worked out one of these unprovable proofs using a method of manual confirmation and several months on a supercomputer.

Technically Goedel himself is the father of mathematical dogma.
adaptation
1.3 / 5 (4) Jul 06, 2010
These are modern rather than historical: Is the theory of gravity complete? Does it apply to the quantum realm? Is relativity an accurate description of the universe? Does the Boson Higgs particle exist? Is Hawking radiation real? How many dimensions are in our universe? How many universes are there? If the answer is no or we're not sure yet, something may come along and radically alter what we consider the truth.

Science is incomplete. It was never presented to me as such in school. This is the main dogma people without an advanced education are exposed to.

Mathematics is generally considered to be the language of science. If math is not self consistent, it would seem to me that this affects science.

Of course google is my friend, but I am interested in what my peers here have found to be interesting. Again, I'm looking for an exchange of ideas.
adaptation
1 / 5 (1) Jul 06, 2010
If it seems like I was picking on you, I'm sorry. That means I did a poor job of communicating.

Pointing out why crap is crap is important. You did that. The point is not to call it crap to get more people to listen. Again, this type of sharp edge makes people stop listening. I think it would be great if we could convert every creationist who comes here. (I can dream, can't I!)

I hope my feelings on evolution are evident in the light of my name.

Skeptic_Heretic, do you have any info on this “snarky statistician”? Sounds interesting.
adaptation
not rated yet Jul 06, 2010
Forgot to post this link: http://www.ems.ps...nce.html

As a teacher, I find it pretty interesting stuff.

Sorry for the triple post...
marjon
3 / 5 (2) Jul 06, 2010
adaptation:
I would suggest reading: Discussion of the Method: Conducting the Engineer's Approach to Problem Solving

http://www.me.ute...ory.html
frajo
not rated yet Jul 07, 2010
There is a small amount of dogma directly related to Goedel's postulate of unprovable truths within mathematics.
My definition of "dogma": A belief that cannot be doubted. There may be things which mathematicians "believe", meaning these things are not yet proven or disproven. Mathematicians call them conjectures. But there is no conjecture in mathematics that is not allowed to be doubted. Thus there is no dogma in mathematics.
It wasn't until a really snarky statistician worked out one of these unprovable proofs using a method of manual confirmation and several months on a supercomputer.
"These unprovable proofs"? Goedel's first theorem does not enumerate or explicitely express any "unprovable statements". His theorem is the discovery of the _existence_ of true and unprovable statements in certain systems, no matter how many consistent axioms one would add to the system. And no matter how many allegedly "unprovable statements" are proven.
Eocene1
not rated yet Jul 16, 2010
I'm a bit curious if any Oxygen isotope studies were actually done on the wood to determine the climate of the time period. Most plants have both Oxygen-18 & Oxygen-16, but if it was strictly oxygen-16 devoid of any O-18 then that would make a huge difference as to age. It would also prove an ancient hydrological cycle as being more of a minerotrophic one.

Anyway, just curious. So carry on with all your various religious debates. lol