Re: diffusion and the amazing Amazonian pottery

Yuri Kuchinsky (
23 Aug 1996 21:09:30 GMT


Thank you very much for your kind reply.

John W. Hoopes ( wrote:
: Yuri Kuchinsky wrote:
: *edited for brevity*

: > In fact, more than that emerges from [Roosevelt's] work. Perhaps what she
: > documents is something that is close to scandalous. As it turns out,
: > the existence of early Amazonian pottery was known to some
: > specialists already for more than 20 years, and yet, this work, one
: > perhaps can say, was _swept under the rug_ for reasons and in
: > circumstances that are not yet entirely clear.

: > Briefly, as early as 1975, some materials from the Amazon have been
: > excavated _and tested_ (by the Smithsonian) using radiocarbon
: > methods. 13 dates were obtained, all very early. (The records in the
: > Smithsonian are available.) And then...
: >
: > These potential revolutionary dates were consigned to
: > obscurity without explanation. (Roosevelt, op. cit. p.
: > 119)

: > So here we go. This truly revolutionary and very important data has
: > been gathering dust, while people theorised about the origins of the
: > civilization in the Americas in the dark. Strange indeed!

: Thanks, Yuri, for drawing attention to a truly problematic issue. The
: story of the Smithsonian dates is one that has not yet been fully
: discussed in an open forum.

Yes, I can see potential "diplomatic" complications of such a discussion.
But at least this matter can be brought to the attention of those who may
be sincerely concerned about the state of scholarship in this area.

: You should know that a South American
: archaeologist has already raised objections to some of Roosevelt's
: interpretations, and there is reason to think that that *some* of the
: dates she claims as having been associated with early pottery (the ones
: from Barambina, in Guyana) may not, in fact, have been so.

I see. But with so much confusion as already exists with these dates, I'm
not surprised if some more things may have gotten confused...

: However, I
: have seen Roosevelt's photocopies of radiocarbon lab records and it is
: clear that there were several dates that simply were never reported in
: the literature.

This much is clearly established.

: Why they were not--and the effects this had on two
: decades of interpretation--is indeed a serious matter. I urge anyone
: interested to read Roosevelt's article in question. It will make for an
: interesting discussion if participants are informed.

Knowledge is GOOD!


: The controversy stirred up by Anna Roosevelt is particularly interesting
: given her new discoveries of non-Clovis Paleoindian material (with LOTS
: of radiocarbon dates) from the site of Pedra Pintada, also in Brazil.

I have been able to learn much from the book, THE EMERGENCE OF POTTERY,
that you brought to my attention, John.

Best wishes to you,


#% Yuri Kuchinsky in Toronto %#
-- a webpage like any other... --

Students achieving Oneness will move on to Twoness === W. Allen