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Originally posted by Loki
I also remember, some time ago, reading about the existence of extensive mining operations for copper and other semi-precious metals in the great lakes region, specifically UP Michigan, and Minnesota.
The story goes that there are several mine shafts that are reckoned to be quite old. And that, judging by their structure, were possibly built by Romans.
...Here at home however, popular books which are widely available and by all accounts financial successes, help to perpetuate the myths that stand for the truth about Michigan prehistory. These myths are dangerous for the following reasons:
1) They detract from the pressing need to preserve archaeological sites. Some of these publications announce that the sites are already destroyed (Sodders 1990:27-28), which is absolutely false. The trouble here is that the public may be persuaded to disregard important site protection issues based on wrong information.
2) They put people's energies into false hopes of splendid and snazzy discoveries (which encourages site looting) rather than into productive activity, such as training in excavation, analysis of artifacts, and site preservation and protection.
3) They're so sensational that people are liable to devalue the facts in favor of the fantasy. Archaeology gets a bad name when it takes away people's pet myths, even if they're irrational!
4) These authors overlook the requirements of science, particularly those about testing hypotheses objectively, yet offer speculations as though they were scientific fact. This failure to distinguish fact from fiction disadvantages people in a culture such as ours that prides itself in generating literacy but also succeeds in the generation of misinformation! Telling truth from myth is an important skill for citizenship, no matter what the subject.
Most of the myths take their 'truth' from mantra-like repetition rather than empirical evidence. In fact try as I have, it's often impossible to find the original sources of some of the ideas accepted as fact in these volumes! For example, when I read about the area in which I've lived and done fieldwork for twenty years, that being Houghton County, Michigan, I'm simply amazed! According to these books, there is evidence, everywhere, of Phoenicians, Bronze Age Europeans, and others sailing copper-laden flotillas from the Keweenaw home to the Old World! And I've apparently been asleep at the switch the whole time because I sure never found any such evidence!
I'd like today to point out some of the major elements of mis-statement and myth revealed in these books, and to suggest why they are fallacious, using current archaeological data about copper mining as counterpoint....
Originally posted by kenshiro2012
that the coc aine that was found in a couple of mummies is actually from contamination after the mummies had been recovered and while they were in storage.
Originally posted by carlwfbird
Furthermore, the concentrations are several times over the lethal dose.
Originally posted by Majic
Getting The Shaft
It's not clear to me that the presence of high concentrations of coc aine or nicotine in hair shafts necessarily means these substances got there via metabolism or prior to death.
If these chemicals were used in mummification, it seems plausible to me that the high concentrations of them measured in the hair and tissue are a consequence of the embalming process.
...But if tobacco from Mexico or coca from the Andes was carried across an ocean, it apparently need not have been the Atlantic. According to Alice Kehoe, a number of other American plants mysteriously turn up outside the "sealed" continent. But they are found on the other side of the Pacific.
PROF ALICE KEHOE - Anthropologist, Marquette University:
"The one that absolutely proves trans-pacific vaoyaging is the sweet potato. There are also discoveries of peanuts more than 2,000 years ago in western China. There is a temple is southern India that has sculptures of goddesses holding what looks like ears of maize or corn."
And if American maize might have got as far as India, why couldn't tobacco or coca have reached Egypt? They could have come across the Pacific to China or Asia and then overland to Africa. The Egyptians need not have travelled to America at all, or known where the plants had originated, but could have got them indirectly, through a network of world trade. But any ancient trade route that includes America is unacceptable in archeology.