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Digging on Cactus Hill


Imagine being in college, spending oodles and oodles of money and not being quite satisfied with the subject you came there to study. One day while sitting around as bored as a park bench, you walk out into your backyard, and just start digging in the dirt for no reason. You strike something hard and solid. "Hey what's this?" Then you dig a little deeper, as you should always do in life. Suddenly, you come upon a spear shaped rock. This object is rugged yet beautiful, brilliant yet simple. It changes your life. The lights in your head come on like 7:00am on the first day of school.

This is what happened to Mike Johnson, the chief archaeologist for the Archaeological Society of Virginia. Mr. Johnson has been nurturing his newest and loudest baby: the Cactus Hill project, in Cactus Hill, VA. So why should you care about a project like Cactus Hill? We (Nick and Kevin) don't even have to tell you how interesting this project is! This archaeological playground may be the home of the first inhabitants of North America. Hey, gals and guys, finding out more about Cactus Hill makes everything, from Michael Jordan to Pokemon, look like Brussels sprouts sitting next to cheesecake on your plate!

The Cactus Hill project is an attempt to discover the secrets of a time when the ground was rough, the air was wet with the smell of all types of animals; and when people lived in caves that were as big as castles, or spaces as tight as fly lips. This may be hard for us to imagine but not for Joe McAvoy. McAvoy is a world famous scientist who one day happened to stumble across a pre-historic artifact. At a glance it was just a burnt piece of birch bark, but what it represented was a whole new world, and also an old world. McAvoy studied the bark and found that he had found something amazing. That piece of birch bark dated back to the oldest inhabitants known in North America. So he launched a huge effort to dig deep into the earth's crust, in order to reveal the mysteries of North America. As he was digging, McAcoy could have had no idea he actually was making history by discovering the oldest record of North America. This culture and way of living is referred to as the Clovis Period. The Clovis Period was about 13,000 years ago! Anything found that dates before this period is called Pre-Clovis.


Please email me at: nick@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Stephanie - Brains vs. brawn: mammoths on the run
Teddy - The debates from the dinosaur age rage on
Becky - A sticky, gooey mammoth in Los Angeles, California?
Team - Where did all these people come from, anyway?
Team - Think Dinosaurs are Scary? Try Greenhouse Gasses!