The strange thing… the Venice pearls of Alaska

A reminder of the facts

Ten pearls created in Europe are found in Alaska. Problem: Their dating indicates that they would have arrived there before the discovery of America in 1492!

These small European-made jewelry, identified under the name “II a 40” or early blue pearls, have actually been found in the Caribbean, the east coast of Central and North America and in the eastern part of the large lakes. However, all the pearls discovered so far were made between 1550 and 1750, several decades after the arrival of the Genoese navigator. On the other hand, those from Alaska deviate from the norm: “They date back to the mid-15th century,” assures Mike Koons. A researcher got his hands on these mysterious pearls while excavating three Alaskan archaeological sites, including Panick Point, a former seasonal camp formerly occupied by the Inuit people. It’s a botanical thread, discovered on a bracelet buried a few centimeters away from early blue pearls at Panic Point, that enabled the archaeologist to make the first carbon-14 dating at the camp. Then several analyzes were performed on the coal. Wood and caribou Bones were found from the other two archaeological sites and near the pearls that were found, and the results of the first dating confirmed: the pearls were found in Alaska between 1443 and 1488!

Were the Inuit peoples able to make such jewelry? For Mike Koons, the impossible: “These are necessarily pearls made in Venice, which was the only place capable of producing such pieces of glass in the fifteenth century.” How will they end up there then? Only one interpretation, according to the researcher: “Pearls are said to have crossed overland from the Italian peninsula to the Far East via the Silk Road.” This trip of more than 17,000 kilometers would have taken them to the Bering Strait, where a merchant was able to ride them in a kayak before crossing 85 kilometers to Alaska,” suggests the American archaeologist, who published the results of his discoveries in January in the journal American antiquity.

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>> Read also: “Did Vikings Discover America?”

A new blow for Christopher Columbus, who has already culminated in the forefront by the exploration of the Vikings? I’m not sure: many of the items offered by Mike Koons are disputed by pearl specialists: “There is not enough evidence to say that these are really Venetian pearls. We can only say that they were made in Europe ”, Comments Adelphine Bono, a professor at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada who specializes in the study of glass beads. More than that, the technique named speu Allowing hot approximation of glass beads was invented and used in particular to make these blue vessels, according to some specialists, only from the middle of the 16th century!

a hundred years ago

How do we explain in this case the dating by Mike Koons? Carbon-14 dating can be influenced by many factors, including: Adelphine Bono confesses. The plant filament sample may have been covered for example with mineral gum or wax, which could falsify the result by introducing the oldest carbon into its analysis. “ So the history of pearls can be traced back to the end of the 16th century, or even the beginning of the 17th century.

But the discovery will still be amazing, Researcher enthusiasm. Because the first contacts between the Inuit peoples and Europeans were proven in the eighteenth century. These gems would have reached Alaska 100 years earlier than thought. “ And maybe not through the Bering Strait this time.

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