Friday, October 23, 2015

New Island News - The Old People

It is time to take a break from Alan Faramond's travels and catch up with a few happenings around the island...  

The Old People left ruins all over New Island, such as these structures at Beatty Point.
So far, we haven't found any written records!
The Old People are mentioned in passing on page 29 in the New Island Guidebook

There is more to their story! Apparently this was a long-lasting culture that began 40,000 years ago, and mysteriously ended about 800 years ago, or around 1200 AD. 

So far, the Antiquities Department at Putney University has not been able to determine what happened to them, or, for that  matter, where they came from. Archaeologist Sheila Rankin stated in a recent interview, "We know they must have developed writing and art, given the sophistication of all the ruins on this island. They built ports, towns, roads and ceremonial sites, so there was commerce, government and religion. They had to have a written language!" 

We do know that, beginning about 5,000 years ago, they learned how to build in stone, using lintels and multi-floor construction. They developed a singular style of stone-fitting that rivals that of the Inca culture in South America. The stone platform at Wave Point, now used for the Wave Festivals, was likely built around 1000 AD and is in good shape today, despite centuries of occasional hammering by ocean surf at high tides. 

We think these people may have left some of the earlier sites due to climate and sea-level changes. The harbor at the Old Port ruins just west of Twentymile Beach (northern coast) tells us that the shore has risen above the waves about fifteen feet. Either the land rose or the sea level dropped enough to dry up the port!  Also, this area is all desert now, and could have once been much wetter, and more productive agriculturally.

"What we hope to find in the near future," Sheila went on, "are the writing, the art and other secrets of these Old People. We will keep looking and digging!"

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