Why You Do Not Have (and Don’t Want) Enemy Ancestors
When I first visited Chaco Canyon in northern New Mexico I got a creepy feeling. Who were these people? The staff, mostly Navajo and not descendants of the original inhabitants of the site, said they were the Anasazi, a Navajo term meaning “enemy ancestors.” When I pressed for more answers, I was told they belonged to the Chaco Culture. They were Chacoans.
Keynote address for Ancient American History and Archeology Conference, Sandy, Utah, April 2, 2010
To Do DNA or Not to Do DNA?
Much Ado about Nothing
American education is in such a state of decline and confusion that the following new program, with all its pros and cons, seems tantamount to a mad hatter’s tea party. We reproduce a description of it from Nature in all its carefully nuanced and agonizing detail.
Mary Settegast is described on the jacket simply as an archeological researcher, the 20-year-old book being Plato Prehistorian; 10,000 to 5,000 B.C. Myth, Religion, Archaeology(Hudson: Lindisfarne, 1990). It’s obvious she is not a member of the entrenched academic community of archeologists and prehistorians, for she spends most of the introduction to her fascinating study inveighing against the Old Model and New Archeology and defending the value of myth.
The bombshell arrived with the May 7, 2010 issue of Science Magazine. Entitled “A Draft Sequence of the Neandertal Genome,” it presented the years-long attempt of an international team of scientists to derive DNA from ancient female Neanderthal bones and determine if there was any genetic overlap with humans. The news was so sensational that the journal made the original scientific report and all collateral materials free to everyone, along with a podcast, multimedia presentation “The Neandertal Genome” and slew of links and forums for comments.
In an article titled “Indian Tribe Wins Fight to Limit Research of Its DNA,” Amy Harmon reports that Arizona State University has agreed to pay the Havasupai Indians of the Grand Canyon $700,000 and return blood samples collected from them for diabetes studies in the 1990s. The university’s Board of Regents apologized to the tribe for…well, that part of the story is not clear.
The explosion in commercial archaeology has brought a flood of information. The problem now is figuring out how to find and use this unpublished literature, reports Matt Ford in the current issue of Nature magazine.
“I became aware that what I was teaching would be out of date without looking at the grey literature (unpublished reports),” says one professor at the University of Reading in England.
DNA Consultants’ 18 Marker Ethnic Panel Reveals Native American, Jewish, Other Hard-to-Find Lines in Your Family Tree. PHOENIX – (April 7, 2010) – The market leader in autosomal DNA testing for ancestry, DNA Consultants announced that it has introduced the latest enhancement to its DNA Fingerprint Test™ ancestry tool. The add-on to its popular all-in-one ancestry tracing product is called the 18 Marker Ethnic Panel and sells for $50.00.
Book: Past Human Migrations in East Asia. Matching Archeology, Linguistics and Genetics, ed. Alicia Sanchez-Mazas et al. Routledge, Taylor & Francis, 2008.
Nature 463/298-299 (21 January 2010)
Abdallah S. Daar in reviewing this new book by NIH director Francis Collins maintains that “we have entered the era of rapid, inexpensive genetic testing and genome sequencing” and must simply come to terms with the phenomenon of personal genomics and consumer genetics.