I met Dr. Astolfo Araujo at the meeting in La Plata, Argentina in November 2010. He works at the Museu de Arqueologia e Etnologia de Universidade de Sa Paulo, Brasil. He specializes in a number of topics, one of which is the early peopling of Brasil. He was intrigued with our theory of Solutrean origin for Clovis culture as well as the use of flintknapping in gaining understanding of ancient technologies. He arranged through his institution for me to attend a conference in Rio Claro in late June, 2011 and then to do a knapping demonstration and presentation there. We also went on a field trip in the area to gather local chert and to see some of the sites and sites. Finally, we went back to the University in Sa Paulo where I gave another knapping demonstration and was filmed knapping for an educational display in the museum.

I met many people and all were friendly, interested and interesting. I mostly spent time with Astolfo and Mercedes Okumura. The trip to Brasil was long and tiring and on arrival in Sa Paulo I was picked up at the airport by a PhD student and driver and taken to Rio Claro where the archaeological meeting was already in progress. I attended some of the meeting then after lunch rested in the hotel for the afternoon then was taken out to dinner by Astolfo (starting at 9:00 pm). The next morning we went to the meetings (all presentations were of course in Portuguese). After one presentation Astolfo took me out of town to a site, Alice Bor, where he was to do field work in July. We arrived at a 19th century house in the countryside that is undergoing restoration then walked down through the forest to the site next to a small river. We were warned to watch out for the poisonous snakes (colubrid- neurotoxin), but unfortunately we didnt see any. On the river bank is a gravel bar that contains pieces of black chert, some of excellent quality, although a bit battered. I used this in my knapping demonstrations. It originates in limestone and smells like petroleum when freshly broken. After I left one of Astolfos students was trying knapping when he broke into a chert nodule to reveal a glob of viscous oil.

The Alice Bor site has been the location of several excavations over the years and mostly contains materials of about the 6,000 year old range. It is also purported to have a basal layer that contains chert tools that date around 14,000 years ago. This has not been demonstrated to modern data needs and this is why Astolfo is going to make another investigation. We collected some chert and rejoined the conference. After the afternoon break I gave a flintknapping demonstration, mostly using the local stones. It has some very good qualities but also contains inclusions and fractures. We went for an early dinner (in Brasilian terms) and I gave a presentation on the Solutrean origin for Clovis theory, which was well received. There was less concern about how people may have managed the North Atlantic that there was in Argentina.

The next day was a field trip out to some sites and sights in a local school bus. Our first stop was the location of an extensive flaked stone concentration, which is also a chert source. It was discovered during highway rescue. I collected a few good small pieces of chert and met a man living on the site who worked on the excavation crew. He also acknowledged that at the time he made fake points to sell to visitors. We then proceeded out into the countryside, which is dominated by sugar cane fields. This is mostly used to produce biofuels (ethanol). It has become the economic base of the region taking over from lumber and before it coffee. While walking through one of these fields we encountered a jatoba tree. These trees tend to be left as they produce a fruit that is supposed to be nutritious. It has a dry sweet green flesh that is edible and was evidently heavily used during paleoIndian times. From there we backtracked through the edge of town on the way out to the Alice Bor site. On the way we stopped at a typical eating place. It is basically a combined convenience store/bakery. This is very typical of the area. It did offer some really tempting pastries. Eventually, we made it out to the Alice Bor site, where Astolfo explained its history and pointed out the stratigraphy on a freshly cleaned profile. We also went back down to the river bank to show people where the chert was coming from. We went a short distance from the site to a place that is amazing. It is where two small rivers come together at exactly 180o angle! They form a pool that then empties into a combined river at a 90o angle. This happened because of a basalt dike that contains and directs the rivers. We finished the day by visiting a cultural park, which was once the site of the largest tree (mostly eucalyptus) plantation in the region. They once had over 150 species of eucalypti growing there. The plantation headquarters was a private house with a surrounding garden with many varieties of trees and stands of giant bamboo. There are also the associated outbuildings and a group of company houses where employees lived. One of the outbuildings is now a museum and one of the houses is a small shop. In spite of spending a reasonable amount of time out in the field, I saw few wild animals, mainly birds.

The next day we headed back to Sa Paulo. On the way we stopped by another small cultural park not far from the town of Santa Barbara. This is a cemetery that was in the center of a community of farms established by families from the Southern United States right after the Civil War. They were mostly from Louisiana and emigrated at the invitation of Brasil. They cleared the forest and primarily grew coffee. The park consists of the cemetery, a small chapel and a couple of houses. There is a memorial that lists the names of the founding families, and a small museum that displays some objects, like a plaque of the community leaders and a buggy, and tells their story. The tomb stones are inscribed in English and so many were of people in their late teens and early twenties. Malaria was endemic and took quite a toll. The road into the park has a limestone base in which there is a lot of nice black chert. If one could locate the source of the material it could be a good place to get flaking stone.

We made it back to Sa Paulo and that afternoon I gave another flintknapping demonstration for students and staff at the University. This was followed by a small get together. Astolfo put me up in a rather swanky hotel (top floor) from which I had a view of some of the Sa Paulo skyline. The next morning Astolfo and I met a film crew at the University. The venue was the botanical garden surrounding the biology building. It is full of plants from the Sa Paulo region, including some really pretty flowers. There are also an extraordinary variety of trees including the economically important Araucaria. It is a pine tree that produces huge nuts that were a staple for many prehistoric groups. The use of this resource is an area of study for Jose Iriarte, an academic in the Archaeology Department at the University of Exeter, on which he has published an article. The purpose of the film is for educational use in new displays being developed by the Museum.

The entire tip was extremely informative and Astolfo and I are investigating ways that I can continue my involvement with the University of Sa Paulo archaeology.