Friday, March 25, 2011

Evolving Thoughts on the Peopling of the Americas

Understanding of both the timing and complexity of the arrival of the first peoples into the Americas continues to evolve. 

After many years of the "Clovis First Model", which supports the idea that the Clovis people were the first to enter the Americas from Beringia starting 13,000 years ago, there is increasing evidence which supports those who have insisted that the peopling of the Americas began earlier, during the ice age.

The evolution of thinking on this topic is covered in an extraordinary collection of papers: Ice Age Peoples of North America edited by Robson Bonnichsen and Karen L. Turnmire.  Barbara Purdy's terrific book Florida's People During the Last Ice Age also explores evidence for an earlier people in Florida. 

The evidence for pre-Clovis migrations continue to mount.  Michael R. Waters publishes today his research on the Buttermilk Creek archaeological site in Central Texas.  In an NPR segment, Texas Find Turns Back Clock On Settlers In America James Adovasio, an archaeologist and anthropologist who has questioned the Clovis first model, comments on the find: "Everything we're learning now — from genetics, from linguistic data, from geological data, from archaeological data — suggests that the peopling process is infinitely more complicated than we might have imagined 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago."

It's an exciting time for those who have long been curious about the history of the first peoples of the Americas.

See also:

Michael R. Waters announcement
New York Times Article
Scientific American
BBC Article

Barbara Purdy
January 2010: youtube video discussing the Vero Man site
March 2010: Ancient Art of the Olympic Peninsula and Florida

James Adovasio
Meadowcroft Rockshelter

Reconsidering the Bering land bridge theory

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