Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hmmm, sounds rather like Chekov on Star Trek back in the '60's bragging about all the things that the Russians did (not!): Russians the first potters on earth? Wed, 22 Oct 2008 10:50:16 GMT Russian archeologists claim that the Russians were the first people on the planet to cultivate land, breed cattle and make earthenware. Russian tribes [how do they know they were "Russian" tribes?] inhabited Khabarovsk Region in the Stone Age, the archeologists said after finding a 15,000-year-old hunters' settlement on the bank of the Amur River in Khabarovsk. Stone axes, knives, scrapers, arrowheads and baked earthenware have so far been unearthed in the area. "It was the first earthenware on the globe, and though it was primitive, with plain decoration, and poorly baked, yet it was a significant landmark in the history of mankind," said Andrei Malyavin, an employee of Khabarovsk Archeology Museum. [Not necessarily the "first earthenware on the globe", but to date it's the oldest preserved evidence discovered.] Firing shaped clay is among the possible first steps toward social organization, or society. The production of earthenware shows that the group had moved beyond simple farming, and into some specialization. Khabarovsk is the administrative center and the largest city of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia, located some 30 km from the Chinese border. HRF/JG/RA
Take a look at the map that is in the article. The Jomon Culture is in the area - across a narrow straight on the islands that today comprise the nation of Japan. Jomon dates back to approximately 14,000 BCE, verified by updated carbon-14 readings. Those "Russians" who created the earliest known pottery (to date) along the Amur River could just as easily have been Jomon Culture people. Thing is, we don't know, and never will know, unless we find flash-frozen bodies or well-preserved human remains and can do extensive DNA analysis! However, I doubt we are talking about blonde-haired blue-eyed Russians, the only kind of Russian the Kremlin likes to showcase. More intriguing to me is the question of whether these ancient Amur/Jomon people are related to the people who crossed over into the Americas sometime before? It seems to me that most people have an image in mind that the people who settled the Americas were primative savages who crossed over the Bering Strait during the last interglacial period while they were following the last of the giant game. This ignores the reality of the fact that, to date, we haven't found any older evidence of pottery-making anywhere on earth - not in Egypt, not in Mesopotamia, not anywhere in the Fertile Crescent, not in Southeastern Europe (Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Romania), not in the Anatolian Peninsula. We know that people were in South America 13,000 years ago, and in eastern United States even earlier than that! So, perhaps all the concentration on the Middle East, etc. looking for the origins of civilization is mistaken, and we need to look along the far Pacific coastline of Europe and Asia.

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