Monday, November 15, 2010

Come Meet Sam - In The Magic And Dust of History, He Was Buried Here 11,200 Years Ago In A Small Cave On The River

You might not know Sam – yet. Soon, the rest of the world will know all about he and the small girl buried by his side 11,200 years in the past.

The world has beaten a path to his burial place. Clifton will no doubt join the pantheon of paleontological designations for stone-age tools such as the “Clovis points” of the Buffalo hunters' spears, or the pottery of the Anasazzi, the “ancient ones” who built the Pueblos at Four Corners.

The Horn Shelter, located at an undisclosed place on the Bosque River, is one of only 3 Paleo-American sites in North America, according to the curators of the Bosque Memorial Museum, located at 301 S. Ave. Q.

Paleo American is a classification term given to the first peoples who entered, and subsequently inhabited, the American continent during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period. The prefix "paleo" comes from the Greek adjective palaios (παλαιός) meaning "old." The term Paleo-Indians applies specifically to the lithic period in the Western Hemisphere. The exact time period during their in migration is a matter of ongoing debate among archaelogists and paleontologists. It is believed to have taken place some time around 14,000 B.C. when ice free corridors developed along the Pacific Coast and herbivorous animals traveled south into the interior of the continent. Humans followed.

Dated with nuclear Carbon 14 radioisotope processes, the funereal remains of Sam and his companion are proof that the earliest occupants of El Bosque. DNA testing shows they were not Native Americans; they were nomadic tribesmen from the North Manchurian peninsula, Mongolia or China, according to physical anthropologists affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution.

“Don't ask me how they proved all this,” Clifton Mayor Fred Volcansek told members of the Public Utilities Commission of Texas last Wednesday. “Somehow, they proved it.”

In the items buried with Sam, there are turtle shells, deer antler tools, bird and animal claws, coyote teeth, and bird shells. He must have been an revered member of the community.

The national museum will soon announce plans to extend the dig area by two miles on each side of the Horn Shelter along the river banks in an effort to obtain a more complete study of the village where Sam met his demise.

That is only the beginning, according to Mayor Volcansek.

There is a future in the plan and it's very buttoned-down, to say the least.

Between November and June, more than 100 million viewers will see a video presentation produced by London Broadcasting that will feature Sam's burial site, the museum, and locations such as the Cliftex Theater, the city's numerous art galleries and sculptures, wineries, restaurants, and 26 of the Bosque area's prominent and world-famous western and cowboy artists – people such as George Hallmark and Melvin Warren.

It's all being done with funds obtained through a grant from the Texas Arts Commission.

Numerous billboards, each with its own worldwide website that can be reached by cell phone, will be put in place on major highways that lead to the area. Passersby will be able to find information about the area, maps, ads and numbers to call for reservations. The reason for the separate websites for each advertising billboard is to track the location and traffic pattern of travelers making inquiries.

Ten local stations will air 300 30-second spots pointing the way to Clifton and its cultural attractions, along with satellite and cable outlets.

These promotions are valued at $500,000, according to Mr. Volcansek.

The potential return on the investment – priceless, to say the least.

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