The Cerutti Mastodon claim is further weakened by Ferrell’s analysis

In a 2017 Nature paper, Holen et al. claimed to have found a 130 000 year old archaeological site (CM site) in southern California, where humans had butchered mastodon and left cobble and anvil stone tools. The claim was immediately criticized. The main critique so far has been that the evidence is no more consistent…

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Equity, diversity, fieldwork, and the archaeological identity : Must archaeologists do fieldwork?

Josh Emmitt sparked an interesting conversation on Twitter about the requiredness of physically strenuous fieldwork in archaeology. Are there jobs in archaeology that are “non-fieldwork/non-super physical”, he asks? Some wonder whether people who do no fieldwork are even real archaeologists. The discussion, beyond giving a number of great example of archaeological roles that do not…

120kya in Australia? Bowler et al’s report on the Moyjil site is a model for how to present claims of early presence

Bower et al recently proposed archaeological evidence of a 120ky old human presence at the Moyjil in Australia. The oldest well-established archaeological material in Australia is currently just under 60ky old. As Bowler acknowledges in an interview, “That is a big jump to make”. How far do they get? It has become normal for the…

Creationist article retracted in Springer’s International Journal of Anthropology and Ethnology : Where the Open Access rubber hits the scholarly publishing road

A minor kerfuffle has recently developed around the retraction of “a straight-up creationist paper” published in Springer’s International Journal of Anthropology and Ethnology last year (Umer, 2018). There are many interesting and thought provoking aspects of this incident for those interested in Open Access, and beyond the narrower scope of Open Access journals, for those…

Against method: a minor rant

A professor in grad school used to tell us that the word method comes from the Greek roots meta (after) and odos (path), which together give a path to follow, a pursuit, or, as he used to put it very consciously in the past tense, the road we’ve traveled. There are two ways of seeing…