Lost Treasure and Breakfast in Llano, Texas with W.C. Jameson, Laurie Wagner Buyer Jameson

We sat under the trees, listened to the birds, and ate huevos rancheros at the Badu House Inn this morning with two of our favorite people in the world, W. C. Jameson and Laurie Wagner Buyer Jameson. Had a great conversation about lost treasures from the de Soto expedition. As those of you know who read FIRE THE SKY, de Soto lost almost everything when he set fire to the native town of Mabila in 1540, including some spectacular artifacts, gold coins, silver and gold cups, jewels, and the golden chalice that carried the sacred host. No one knows where Mabila was, though archaeologists have ideas. W.C. Jameson is the author of the great book, TREASURE HUNTER, as well as over 60 books on lost treasures in America. He posed this question: What would you do if you found the lost treasures of the de Soto expedition? Worth millions, at least. Turn them over to a museum?

So…what would you do?

Our sweet Pia

Just wanted everyone to know that we had to euthanize Pia today, the first orphaned buffalo calf we raised. This morning we found the herd and noticed she was missing. We knew something was really wrong. We’ve been giving her meloxicam for her joint pain for over a year, but her condition has progressively gotten worse. When we went to look for her, we found her far away walking down the road in so much pain she could barely move. We tried to give her meloxicam and she refused to eat it. Next we tried to give her a shot of banamine, and she refused to let us. It was as though she was saying, “Come on, guys, enough is enough.”

It’s the end of an era. She was the best buffalo ambassador ever. She was so beloved, she made people care about what happened to buffalo.

The Village of Souls is a richer place. This world is poorer without her.

Hard day for us.

Buffalo Skulls for Sun Dance

Buffalo are sacred animals for a number of people, including us.  Over the past couple of decades, we have been happy to donate buffalo meat, skulls, and hides for Native American sacred ceremonies around the country. One of our friends came by this weekend to collect skulls for two different Sun Dances, one in South Dakota this summer, and another in Arizona next year. It’s always a good feeling to know that the spirit of the buffalo, present in the skulls, will be cared for and honored.

First bison calf born

Hi All,

One of the pleasures of spring in Wyoming is waiting for the birth of the first buffalo calf. Snow Star was born in the middle of a heavy wet snowstorm this morning. He was racing around like the wind within twenty minutes of hitting the ground–which is kind of an amazing thing. Usually their little legs are weak and wobbly for over an hour. Not this little guy. We figure he’s going to be a champion runner. Look out you wolves and coyotes.

Discoveries Challenge Beliefs on Humans’ Arrival in the Americas

The debate over the peopling of the Americas gets more interesting by the day. Recently, DNA from a child found at the Anzick site, which dates to around 12,700 years ago, was analyzed, and it was discovered that his ancestors definitely came from Asia. Which is nothing new. For over fifty years, archaeologists have thought that the earliest Americans crossed the Bering Strait land bridge between 13,000 and 15,000 years ago and moved south across the Americas. That was the most widely held archaeological opinion when we wrote PEOPLE OF THE WOLF in 1988.

New DNA research, however, is adding significantly to this debate. Last year, for example, molecular geneticists showed that the Botocudo people in Brazil in the late 1800s were genetically similar to Polynesians. And evolutionary anthropologist, Walter Neves, has demonstrated convincingly that the 11,000 year old skull of a woman in Brazil, known at Luzia, resembles aboriginal Australians. To make this even more complicated, in November, paleontologists in Uruquay published their findings that humans hunted giant sloths there around 30,000 years ago.

There is so much convincing evidence now that humans inhabited the Americas long before anyone thought, that any archaeologist who holds to the “Clovis first” paradigm is not so quietly referred to by other archaeologists as a “troglodyte.”

Personally–as of today–we think there’s mounting evidence that humans may have been in North America as early as 40,000 years ago. Just as an interesting aside, around 37,000 years ago the maternal lines (mitochondrial DNA diversity) of Bison priscus in Beringia underwent a dramatic and sudden decline. There’s no good explanation for this decline. We’ve always wondered if Bison priscus didn’t meet up with the first human hunters, who were also crossing the land bridge.

For anyone who’s interested in a deeper understanding of this debate, there’s a fascinating synopsis of most of this information in PALEOAMERICAN ODYSSEY. Chapter 30 is called, “North America before Clovis: Variance in Temporal/Spatial Cultural Patterns, 27,000-13,000 cal yr. BP.

MOONLIGHT WATER, a book by Meredith and Win Blevins

We just read, with delight, the upcoming novel by Meredith and Win Blevins. With this book, they may well become the new Edward Abbey of the Southwest. MOONLIGHT WATER is filled with Navajo wisdom and an impeccable sense of the vast and wonderful desert from which it is born. We’re reading the Advanced Reading Copy, so we’re not sure when the book will be released, but when it appears on the shelves, we think you’ll enjoy the heartfelt story of a lost soul just trying to find some meaning in life.

We did.