Tuesday, November 11, 2014

WINDS OF EDEN - Long Awaited Dramatic Conclusion to Best Selling Prehistoric Trilogy!

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Fans of the SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL series from bestselling author John Bradford Branney are already receiving their preordered copies of the final book in the trilogy

What happens when the hunters become the hunted? That is what readers have been eagerly waiting to find out in WINDS OF EDEN, the thrilling finale to John Bradford Branney’s series of books about a Paleoindian tribe in prehistoric America.

In the conclusion of this highly acclaimed historical series of novels, the Folsom People return to the plains and mountains of Texas and Colorado at the end of the last Ice Age, a time of dramatic climate change, rising temperatures and melting glaciers. This was a time when several large mammal species went extinct and when small bands of humans roamed the mountains and plains attempting to survive in an unforgiving and violent world. WINDS OF EDEN quickly propels readers into the story where the first two novels of the trilogy left off. Chayton and the Folsom People are continuing their fight of survival in a violent and unpredictable prehistoric world with little more than their spears and wits.

“We are thrilled to be bringing out this latest installment,” said Sarah Luddington, Mirador Publishing’s Commissioning Editor. “John has a knack for bringing this era to life and combines this with an incredible eye for detail in a thoroughly engaging story. John’s attention to historical accuracy is extraordinary and he even includes three genuine indigenous languages within the narrative.”

Hailed for its accurate depiction of life on the prairies and mountains of prehistoric Texas and
Famous rock - the four inch long Alibates discoidal biface
that was the inspiration for the Shadows on the Trail Trilogy.  
Colorado, WINDS OF EDEN is a fast-paced read that accurately builds on clues from the archaeological record and traditions practiced by the first Americans.

“In the first two books of the SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL TRILOGY my emphasis has been on the dynamics of survival for these early explorers of prehistoric America,” the author stated. “In WINDS OF EDEN, I took a slightly different direction from the first two books of the trilogy. Yes, the book is still a high-intensity adventure, but I have added another twist. In WINDS OF EDEN, the main characters must face the reality of their own finite mortalities. I am hoping that readers take away much more than just reading a fun adventure story. This book is my most fulfilling work that I have written so far and I hope readers feel the same way.”

John Bradford Branney holds a geology degree and MBA from the University of Wyoming and
the University of Colorado, respectively. John currently lives in Texas and Colorado with his wife, Theresa. WINDS OF EDEN is the fifth published book by Author Branney.

Mirador Publishing continue their support of new authors and are proud to present John Bradford
Branney as an author to watch out for.

For more information visit the author at Shadows on the Trail Trilogy by John Bradford Branney on Facebook and at his blog at http://johnbbranney3.blogspot.com/.

SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL, GHOSTS OF THE HEART and WINDS OF EDEN are available in all good bookshops and online retailers both in paperback and eBook formats. Mirador Publishing may be contacted via their website at www.miradorpublishing.com

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Folsom - Agate Basin Points and the SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL Quadrilogy

Figure 1 - Top projectile point is a 2.35 inch long Agate Basin dart point surface found on private land in Jefferson County, Colorado. Lower artifact is a Folsom dart point surface found on private land along the Colorado-Wyoming border in Albany County, Wyoming.
John Bradford Branney Collection.
In one of my earlier posts on this Shadows on the Trail Quadrilogy blog site, I explained why I used Native American languages to differentiate between the three different tribes in the Shadows on the Trail Quadrilogy. I also differentiated between two of the tribes with their use of different projectile point types for hunting and weapons.

In the first book Shadows on the Trail, I used Folsom projectile points for the Folsom People and Agate Basin projectile points for the Mountain People. Figure 1 is a photograph of an Agate Basin dart or spear point and a Folsom dart point. Both points are in my collection and were made from the same or similar material (Knife River Chalcedony), but as the photo shows, the technology and morphology of Agate Basin and Folsom points was quite different. 
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In Wyoming, there is a famous archaeological site called Hell Gap. At the Hell Gap site, the investigators found an extensive geologic section of rock representing thousands of years of human occupation. According to Irwin-Williams (1973), radiocarbon dates from the Hell Gap site indicate that the people who used Agate Basin points existed sometime between 10,500 to 10,000 years ago. The Folsom people existed between 10,900 to 10,200 years ago based on radiocarbon dating from the Hell Gap and the Agate Basin site in northeastern Wyoming. Geologic evidence and overlapping radiocarbon dates indicate that there was a possible overlap between latter Folsom People and earlier Agate Basin People.
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Below, is a passage from my book Shadows on the Trail, the first book in the Shadows on the Trail Quadrilogy. In this particular scene, Avonaco and two hunters from the River People are searching for evidence of who attacked their village and massacred their people. The hunters found a spear with a unique projectile point. Avonaco describes his past experience with this type of projectile point.

Waquini then handed Avonaco an object and said, “Avonaco, we found this in the brush near the village.”

Avonaco held the spear in his hands. The spear shaft was the same wood that the River People used, but the stone spear point was different. The stone spear point was thinner and longer than any Avonaco had ever seen and made from a shiny, black rock material. Avonaco ran his thumb down the sharp edge of the spear point and quickly pulled his thumb away.
Éŝkos!–Sharp!” Avonaco exclaimed, looking down at his bleeding thumb.

He continued to examine the spear point, “I have only seen a spear point like this once made from this black rock. When I was a boy, I found a spear point much like this deep in the mountains. My father told me the black rock comes from the mountains.”

Avonaco then inspected the sinew wrap that connected the stone spear point to the wooden spear shaft. The River People used sinew from deer or bison to attach their spear points. 

Even though there nay have been a time overlap between Folsom and Agate Basin People, Bradley (Frison 1991; Kornfeld, Frison, and Larson 2010) did not believe that Agate Basin technology came from Folsom technology. While a Folsom point is wide, thin and fluted, an Agate Basin point is thick and lenticular in cross section. If Agate Basin technology came from Folsom technology, there had o be a dramatic change that has yet to be understood or explained.
Figure 2 - Paleoindian projectile point evolution from left to right; Clovis, Goshen-Plainview, Folsom, Agate Basin,
Hell Gap, and Scottsbluff. Note the radical change from indented bases to lanceolate-shaped points at the Folsom / Agate Basin transition. For scale, Scottsbluff point to the right is 3.95 inches long. John Bradford Branney Collection. 

Since the technology to make Agate Basin points was much different than to make fluted Folsom points, do you think that maybe there were two culturally different human populations utilizing the same bison resources during the latter years of Folsom? Stanford (1999: 312) postulated that Agate Basin technology may have come from an earlier Northern Great Basin / Plateau projectile point that was typologically similar to Agate Basin but predates Agate Basin on the High Plains by over one thousand years. Stanford proposed that it was possible that Agate Basin technology came southward from the Paleo Arctic / Denali Complex people in eastern Beringia who transferred the technology to northern plains people. Figure 2 is a photograph of Paleoindian projectile point types beginning with Clovis and ending with Scottsbluff. My objective of figure 2 is to show the technological change, the paradigm shift that occurred between Folsom and Agate Basin. The only commonality between Folsom and Agate Basin projectile points as far as I can see; they are both rocks and have sharp points.

Were the people who made Folsom and Agate Basin points the same people? What caused them to change projectile point technology? How will we ever find out what the relationship was between the Folsom and Agate Basin Peoples? We probably won't find out. Investigators fit the archaeological puzzle together with hard evidence available in archaeological sites. We know from archaeological sites that Folsom and Agate Basin Peoples had a similar economy, centered around bison procurement. But, to really understand the differences between these two Paleoindian cultures, we need the "soft evidence", i.e. languages and other perishable cultural practices and artifacts, and these are not going to be found in the archaeological record.
Add caption


Frison, George C.

1991        Prehistoric Hunters of the High Plains. Second Edition. Academic Press.

Irwin-Williams, Cynthia, Henry T. Irwin, George Agogino, and C. Vance Haynes
1973    Hell Gap: Paleo-Indian occupation on the High Plains. Plains Anthropologist. 18      (59 ):   40-53.   

Kornfeld, Marcel, George C. Frison, and Mary Lou Larson
2010    Prehistoric Hunters-Gatherers of the High Plains and Rockies. Third Edition. Left    Coast Press. Walnut Creek, California. 

Stanford, D. J.
1999    Paleoindian Archeology and Late Pleistocene Environments in the Plains and Southwestern United States. In Ice Age Peoples of North America, edited by R. Bonnichsen. Oregon State University Press. Corvallis, Oregon.