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Petroglyphs And More: What To Know From the Calico Early Man Site

If the first is thinking about prehistory in California there's no beating the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. Another excellent archaeological website is the Calico Early Man Site in San Bernardino County within the Mojave Desert. If one does visit the La Brea Tar Pits, educate yourself about the poorly understood La Brea Woman – the only human found in the tar pits.

There are many interesting archeological sites in the usa including famous places like Poverty Point and Cahokia. The storyline of early man in North America is a at continues to be remolded as more and more is discovered about the past.

What To understand about the Calico Early Man Site

The Calico Early Man Website is situated in an old Pleistocene lake and has many Pleistocene formations (the Pleistocene is roughly the Ice Age period). If one had stood there around 20,000 years back, one would have experienced a sizable lake surrounded by sandy beaches, marshes, and mudflats.

It also has petroglyphs in the Holocene (the Holocene is the duration of humanity after the Ice Age).

The Calico Early Man Site includes around 900 acres of land in the Mojave Desert. They have been excavated pretty much continuously since 1964 and has been a valuable supply of knowledge of the prehistory of the region.

  • Location: Within the Mojave Desert 16 Miles East of Barstow

What The Prehistoric Lake Was Like And Fossils

In the prehistoric era, people lived here and made utilisation of the lake's then-abundant resources. At those times, the climate was much wetter than today and the alluvial fans round the lake were likely covered with juniper, sagebrush, creosote bushes, and other alike plants.

  • Fossils: Fossils Of Many Familiar North American Animals Have been located There

The lake's shores would have been filled with bison along with other large animals as the air might have had many storks, pelicans, and flamingos. Some of their bones have been preserved with what was the soft mud which was then fossilized.

Fossils of ground sloths, mammoths, dire wolves, coyotes, bears, mountain lions, scimitar cats, horses, camels, llamas, antelopes, mountain sheep, and bison have been found here.

The Controversy Around Human Tools In the Site

The Calico Site was a quarry and gear production site and lots of prehistoric tools have been found made of the rocks there. Human remains have not been found there but lots of their tools have. Thousands of rocks that appear to be prehistoric tools have been discovered to begin.

These have been found both at first glance plus some 26 feet or 8 meters underneath the surface. A few of the tools are believed to be over 10,000 years of age. There is also some debate as to whether the tools were manmade or formed naturally.

The website is a very odd one. If it actually was humans making all these “tools” it would mean that humans have been in North America in excess of 30,000 years. It might also imply that we would have over 60,000 tools by a few accounts. That would allow it to be one of the most important (and dismissed sites in North America).

Or the various tools or most of them are simply natural occurrences. That will mean that much of the hype around the site could be something of the hoax. It would be where some anthropologists got caught up misinterpreting a lot of loose gravel and rocks for very early evidence of man.

Some from the main (uncontroversial) artifacts in the site include:

  • Artifacts of the Lake Manix Lithic Industry: These Lithic Artifacts Are located Around The Ancient Shoreline
  • The Rock Wren Biface: A sizable Prehistoric Stone Tool With Two Faces (The Longest Used Tool in History) Dated to 14,400 ±2,200 Years Ago

It is thought that the tools of the Lake Manix Lithic Industry and the Rock Wren are most likely human-made.

Visiting The Calico Early Man Site

The Calico Early Man Site is managed by the Bureau of Land Management but as of the time of writing (April 2022) the website is under re-construction and is closed to the public.

When the site reopens, hike the Dorothy Bowers Nature Trail. It's an easy-to-walk trail less than 2 miles long with printed guides introducing the people to the landscapes surrounding the site.

  • Dorothy Bowers Nature Trail: An Easy-To-Walk 2 Mile Long Informative Trail

In 2022 the BLM was proposing the remnant archaeological excavation options that come with the site to counter their risk to visitors to the website. They are suggesting installing air gates, backfilling, and other solutions so that they can reopen the website to the public.

The site has been closed since 2022 and also the BLM is looking to re-open it towards the public for self-guided tours.

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