It is a mortifying truth, that many of the most valuable discoveries have been the result of chance rather than contemplation, and of accident rather than of design.
Charles C. Colton (1780-1832)
Robert F. Heizer (1975) and Michael J. Moratto (1982) have postulated that a publication covering all California archaeology could not be produced. This author submits that these gentlemen are not only correct in their assessment of California Archaeology, but their logic also covers anthropology and archaeology throughout North America. Moratto’s observation that many archaeologists, with their own projects, goals and agendas developed a myriad of schemes and imaginative methods for explaining California’s pre-white history in their own words…
“ The cultural sequences presented in these reports are in large part repetitive, most being restatements of one of the existing proposed sequences. They are confusing, however, because some authors simply apply new names to an existing chronological scheme, whereas a few attempt to develop new bases for a chronology.” (Moratto 1982)
…suggests that most of these individuals are, as Adam Kuper (1988) put it, simply “synthesizers” of existing works.
This is an astute assessment, which would apply to the majority of the pre-history across the American continent. Dr. Benjamin Smith Barton made a similar observation: “I may observe, that the opinions of writers concerning the origin, or parental countries, of the Americans are as numerous as the tribes and nations who inhabit this vast portion of the earth” (Barton 1797) … not a lot of progress in 185 years.
The problem with early American Indian history is that it 'appears' not to exist, a misconception first developed and promoted by the Father of American Cultural Anthropology, Lewis Henry Morgan; one of the most devious, deceptive and misquoted writers of the nineteenth century. Thousands of academics have read Ancient Society, written by Morgan and published by Henry Holt and Company in 1877, but to this author’s knowledge, not one of them has made the connection between Morgan’s amateur avocation and his professional actions. This is not surprising; most people’s attention has been focused on Morgan’s conjectured development of ancient societies and kinship research … exactly where Morgan wanted everyone’s attention! In support of this assessment an observation made by Elisabeth Tooker, Temple University, who wrote the forward to the 1985 version of Ancient Society:
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