Monday, February 26, 2007

Clovis People were not the first

The "textbook" view of American prehistory - that the ancestors of the Clovis people came over the Bering land bridge in a single group perhaps 12,000 years ago and populated the Americas with their descendants - has been under siege for some time. Now Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M, thinks he's put the nail in that coffin. Redating of Clovis sites makes them comparative latecomers - latecomers whose culture lasted only a few hundred years. Waters' paper "Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the Peopling of the Americas," appears in Science (2/23/07 issue).
COMMENT: I always thought the pre-Clovis "Adam and Eve" scenario was much too simplistic. I have no credentials in this area, but I've always been interested in this fascinating problem and try to keep up on the literature. I've found it hard to believe that all the claims for dates of 20,000 years and older from sites scattered all over the Americas could be wrong. I think archaeologists are slowly migrating to a more complex view, that there were several migrations, by sea as well as land, over thousands of years.

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