Found: 12,000-Year-Old American Fishing Tackle

--Chad Love

There's vintage fishing tackle, and then there's really vintage fishing tackle...

From this story on newscientist.com
A treasure trove of finely crafted fishing spearheads from 12,000 years ago has been discovered on the Channel Islands of California. They are a clue to the lifestyles of some of the earliest American settlers, and suggest that two separate cultures lived in North America at the time: one, the well-known Clovis culture, lived inland and feasted on mammoths, mastodons and other mammals; the other was a coastal culture with a taste for seafood.

_The archaeologists who made the find believe that the two groups were distinct, but shared trade links. Jon Erlandson of the University of Oregon in Eugene and his team poked around caves, springs and likely sites of ancient human settlement on the islands of Santa Rosa and San Miguel, and found more than 50 shell middens ˆ large trash heaps of discarded seashells, chipped stone tools and animal bones ˆ which they dated to between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago.

But what astonished Erlandson and his colleagues were the tools they found near the middens. Team member Todd Braje of Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, describes finely crafted barbed spearheads. "We found very thin, expertly made projectile points and it blew us away that these delicate flint-knapped points are this old," he says. Such tools are generally only found at more recent sites._

Perhaps the archeologists should consider entering the Honest Angler's vintage tackle contest.