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One of the most famous and yet controversial archaeological sites in North America is the Calico site, located in the central Mojave Desert of California (Fig. 1). The Calico site has evidence, albeit controversial, for the presence of early man some 200,000 years ago, far earlier than any site in North America presently wholly accepted by the archaeological community, and almost as old as recent discoveries in South America (de Lumley and others, 1988).

The controversy generally centers on two issues: (1) the authenticity of the artifacts, and (2) the age of the deposits (Haynes, 1973; Bryan, 1978; Taylor and Payen, 1979; Meighan, 1983). At present, more than 11,000 inferred stone tools and flakes have been recovered, mainly from 7- to 10-m-deep master pits. The Calico site was apparently a quarry utilized because of the local presence of high-quality knappable chert and chalcedony (Budinger and Simpson, 1985). Despite ongoing debate, many archaeologists believe that the lithic specimens are tools and flakes of human manufacture, rather than fortuitously created, natural "geofacts" (see, for example, discussions in Leakey and others, 1968, 1970; Schuiling, 1972, 1979; Haynes, 1973; Taylor and Payen, 1979; Carter, 1980; Gruhn and Young, 1980; Patterson, 1983; Patterson and others, 1989; Budinger, 1983; Budinger and Simpson, 1985; West, 1983).

New World archaeologists would more likely accept Calico as an archaeological site if the age of the artifact-bearing beds were on the order of 20,000 or 30,000 years old, rather than 200,000 years or older, as shown by recent soil-stratigraphic and

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