Archaeological Discoveries in Guyana

Starbroek News reports that archaeologists have been making groundbreaking discoveries in Guyana in recent years, including unearthing the remains of a whale, a giant porpoise, and a rock fish, all of which could date back about 10,000. There have also been significant discoveries of pottery from approximately 5,000 years ago at Kabakaburi. The article focuses on Dr. Mark Plew, Chair of the Archaeology Department at Boise State University in Idaho, who has spearheaded these discovery efforts over the past few years, leading local and overseas teams into different parts of Guyana for field work. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:

These excursions, particularly those made over the last three years, have been rewarding for Plew. The remains of the animals were discovered last year at the Wyva Creek Shell Mound in Region One.  A Shell Mound is a prehistoric refuse heap consisting chiefly of the shells of edible molluscs intermingled with evidence of human occupancy. The one at Wyva Creek is said to be one of the largest in Guyana and is believed to be about 6500-7000 years old [. . .]. According to Plew, when the bones were first discovered, he first thought that they were those of a giant sloth. But then after the remains were transferred to the USA, a specialist suggested that they may have been those of an elephant – a prospect which Plew was overjoyed about. However, when the bones were subsequently passed on to the British Colombia museum they were determined to be those of a whale, a giant porpoise and a rock fish.  And based on the location on Shell Mound where the remains were found, Plew believes that they could have been there since 10,000 years ago. Preparations are now being made to have all the remains returned to Guyana, since this is where they belong.

Plew says that these discoveries are “very, very interesting” since they outline what was happening in Guyana around that time. It is the discovery of the rock fish that Plew is particularly delighted about. The rock fish, he says, is an extremely rare species of which no record exists of it being found in this part of the world.

[. . . ] Concerning the pottery discovered at Kabakaburi in the Pomeroon, Plew says that the artifacts are among the oldest ever found in the Americas. The vessels found were of vast variety and included bowls and globular objects, the majority of which were fired and glazed.  Most of the pottery was plain while some had designs on it, Plew says. Importantly, further evidence was found to debunk initial views that the persons who occupied this area had settled there permanently. The new information reveals that the persons here were in fact seasonal visitors to the place.  Plew says too that more data continues to be found which suggests that areas that are now rainforest in territories such as Guyana were once large savannahs.

For full article, see http://www.stabroeknews.com/2010/stories/08/15/groundbreaking-archaeological-discoveries-being-made-in-guyana/

Also see http://antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/plew/index.html

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