Clovis culture

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Clovis
Geographical range Great Plains
Period Lithic
Datesc. 13,000 – 11,000 BP
Type site Blackwater Locality No. 1
Preceded by Paleo-Indians
Followed by Folsom tradition
A Clovis projectile point created using bifacial percussion flaking (that is, each face is flaked on both edges alternately with a percussor) Clovis Point.jpg
A Clovis projectile point created using bifacial percussion flaking (that is, each face is flaked on both edges alternately with a percussor)

The Clovis culture is a prehistoric Paleoamerican culture, named for distinct stone tools found in close association with Pleistocene fauna at Blackwater Locality No. 1 near Clovis, New Mexico, in the 1920s and 1930s. It appears around 11,500–11,000 uncalibrated RCYBP [1] at the end of the last glacial period and is characterized by the manufacture of "Clovis points" and distinctive bone and ivory tools. Archaeologists' most precise determinations at present suggest this radiocarbon age is equal to roughly 13,200 to 12,900 calendar years ago. Clovis people are considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. [2] [3] [4]

Contents

The only human burial that has been directly associated with tools from the Clovis culture included the remains of an infant boy researchers named Anzick-1. [5] [6] Paleogenetic analyses of Anzick-1's ancient nuclear, mitochondrial, and Y-chromosome DNA [7] reveal that Anzick-1 is closely related to modern Native American populations, which lends support to the Beringia hypothesis for the settlement of the Americas. [8]

The Clovis culture was replaced by several more localized regional societies from the Younger Dryas cold-climate period onward. Post-Clovis cultures include the Folsom tradition, Gainey, Suwannee-Simpson, Plainview-Goshen, Cumberland, and Redstone. Each of these is thought to derive directly from Clovis, in some cases apparently differing only in the length of the fluting on their projectile points. Although this is generally held to be the result of normal cultural change through time, [9] numerous other reasons have been suggested as driving forces to explain changes in the archaeological record, such as the Younger Dryas postglacial climate change, which exhibited numerous faunal extinctions.

After the discovery of several Clovis sites in eastern North America in the 1930s, the Clovis people came to be regarded as the first human inhabitants who created a widespread culture in the Americas. However, several archaeological discoveries have cast significant doubt on the Clovis-first theory, including sites such as Cactus Hill in Virginia, Paisley Caves in the Summer Lake Basin of Oregon, the Topper site in Allendale County South Carolina, Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, the Friedkin [10] site in Texas, Cueva Fell in Chile, and especially Monte Verde also in Chile. [11] The oldest claimed human archaeological site in the Americas is the Pedra Furada hearths in Brazil, controversially dated to 19,000 to 30,000 years before the earliest Clovis sites. [12] [13] [14]

Description

Clovis points from the Rummells-Maske Cache Site, Iowa Clovis Rummells Maske.jpg
Clovis points from the Rummells-Maske Cache Site, Iowa

A hallmark of the toolkit associated with the Clovis culture is the distinctively shaped, fluted-stone spear point, known as the Clovis point. The Clovis point is bifacial and typically fluted on both sides. Clovis tools were produced during a roughly 300 year period. [15] Archaeologists do not agree on whether the widespread presence of these artifacts indicates the proliferation of a single people, or the adoption of a superior technology by diverse population groups. [16]

The culture is named after artifacts found between 1932 and 1936 at Blackwater Locality No. 1, an archaeological site between the towns of Clovis and Portales, New Mexico. These finds were deemed especially important due to their direct association with mammoth species and the extinct Bison antiquus . The in situ finds of 1936 and 1937 included most of four stone Clovis points, two long bone points with impact damage, stone blades, a portion of a Clovis blade core, and several cutting tools made on stone flakes. [16] Clovis sites have since been identified throughout much of the contiguous United States, as well as Mexico and Central America, and even into northern South America. [17]

Clovis people are generally accepted to have hunted mammoths, as well as extinct bison, mastodon, gomphotheres, sloths, tapir, camelops, horse, and other smaller animals. More than 125 species of plants and animals are known to have been used by Clovis people in the portion of the Western Hemisphere they inhabited. [18] [19]

The oldest Clovis site in North America is believed to be El Fin del Mundo in northwestern Sonora, Mexico, discovered during a 2007 survey. It features occupation dating around 13,390 calibrated years BP. [20] In 2011, remains of gomphotheres were found; the evidence suggests that humans did, in fact, kill two of them there. Also, the Aubrey site in Denton County, Texas, produced an almost identical radiocarbon date. [21]

Disappearance of Clovis

The most commonly held perspective on the end of the Clovis culture is that a decline in the availability of megafauna, combined with an overall increase in a less mobile population, led to local differentiation of lithic and cultural traditions across the Americas. [9] [22] After this time, Clovis-style fluted points were replaced by other fluted-point traditions (such as the Folsom culture) with an essentially uninterrupted sequence across North and Central America. An effectively continuous cultural adaptation proceeds from the Clovis period through the ensuing Middle and Late Paleoindian periods. [23]

Whether the Clovis culture drove the mammoth, and other species, to extinction via overhunting – the so-called Pleistocene overkill hypothesis – is still an open, and controversial, question. [24] It has also been hypothesized that the Clovis culture had its decline in the wake of the Younger Dryas cold phase. [25] This "cold shock", lasting roughly 1500 years, affected many parts of the world, including North America. This appears to have been triggered by a vast amount of meltwater – possibly from Lake Agassiz – emptying into the North Atlantic, disrupting the thermohaline circulation. [26]

The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis, or Clovis comet hypothesis, originally proposed that a large air burst or earth impact of a comet or comets from outer space initiated the Younger Dryas cold period about 12,900  BP calibrated (10,900 14C uncalibrated) years ago. [27] [28] [29] The hypothesis has been largely contradicted by research showing that most of the findings cannot be repeated by other scientists, and criticized because of misinterpretation of data and the lack of confirmatory evidence. [30] [31] [32] [33]

However, proponents of the hypothesis have responded, disputing the accusation of irreproducibility or replicating their findings. [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] In 2013, a group from Harvard reported finding a layer of increased platinum composition exactly at the Younger Dryas onset in a Greenland ice core, followed in 2017 by a report that the Pt spike had been replicated at 11 continental Younger Dryas sites. [40] [41]

Discovery

A cowboy, George McJunkin, found an ancient bison (Bison antiquus, an extinct relative of the American bison) skeleton in 1908 after a flash flood. [42] The site was first excavated in 1926, near Folsom, New Mexico, under the direction of Harold Cook and Jesse Figgins. On 29 August 1927, they found the first in situ Folsom point with the extinct B. antiquus bones. This confirmation of a human presence in the Americas during the Pleistocene inspired many people to start looking for evidence of early humans. [43]

In 1929, 19-year-old Ridgely Whiteman, who had been closely following the excavations in nearby Folsom in the newspaper, discovered the Clovis site near the Blackwater Draw in eastern New Mexico. Despite several earlier Paleoindian discoveries, the best documented evidence of the Clovis complex was collected and excavated between 1932 and 1937 near Clovis, New Mexico, by a crew under the direction of Edgar Billings Howard until 1935 and later by John Cotter from the Academy of Natural Sciences/University of Pennsylvania. Howard's crew left their excavation in Burnet Cave, New Mexico, (the first truly professionally excavated Clovis site) in August, 1932, and visited Whiteman and his Blackwater Draw site. By November, Howard was back at Blackwater Draw to investigate additional finds from a construction project. [42]

The American Journal of Archaeology (January–March, 1932 V36 #1) in its "Archaeological Notes" mentions E. B. Howard's work in Burnet Cave, including the discovery of extinct fauna and a "Folsom type" point 4 ft below a Basketmaker burial. This brief mention of the Clovis point found in place antedates any work at the Dent Site in Colorado. Reference is made to a slightly earlier article on Burnet Cave in The University Museum Bulletin of November, 1931.

The first report of professional work at the Blackwater Draw Clovis site is in the 25 November 1932, issue of Science News. The publications on Burnet Cave and Blackwater Draw directly contradict statements by several authors (for example see Haynes 2002:56 The Early Settlement of North America) that Dent, Colorado was the first excavated Clovis site. The Dent Site, in Weld County, Colorado, was simply a fossil mammoth excavation in 1932. The first Dent Clovis point was found 5 November 1932, and the in situ point was found 7 July 1933. The in situ Clovis point from Burnet Cave was excavated in late August, 1931 (and reported early in 1932). E. B. Howard brought the Burnet Cave point to the 3rd Pecos Conference, September 1931, and showed it around to several archaeologists interested in early humans (see Woodbury 1983).

Also in 1968, in Montana, a Clovis burial site was found where the remains of a two-year-old child were studied. These remains have been named as Anzick-1 and recently, in 2014, have been used in scientific research. [7]

Clovis Paleo-Indians

Available genetic data show that the Clovis people are the direct ancestors of roughly 80% of all living Native American populations in North and South America, with the remainder descended from ancestors who entered in later waves of migration. [44] [45] As reported in February 2014, DNA from the 12,600-year-old remains of Anzick boy, found in Montana, has affirmed this connection to the peoples of the Americas. In addition, this DNA analysis affirmed genetic connections back to ancestral peoples of northeast Asia. This adds weight to the theory that peoples migrated across a land bridge from Siberia to North America. [4]

Clovis First

Known as "Clovis First", the predominant hypothesis among archaeologists in the latter half of the 20th century had been that the people associated with the Clovis culture were the first inhabitants of the Americas. The primary support for this was that no solid evidence of pre-Clovis human habitation had been found. According to the standard accepted theory, the Clovis people crossed the Beringia land bridge over the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska during the period of lowered sea levels during the ice age, then made their way southward through an ice-free corridor east of the Rocky Mountains in present-day Western Canada as the glaciers retreated. [46]

This hypothesis came to be challenged by studies suggesting a pre-Clovis human occupation of the Americas. [47] In 2011, following the excavation of an occupation site at Buttermilk Creek, Texas, a prominent group of scientists claimed to have definitely established the existence "of an occupation older than Clovis." [10] [48]

According to researchers Michael Waters and Thomas Stafford of Texas A&M University, new radiocarbon dates place Clovis remains from the continental United States in a shorter time window beginning 450 years later than the previously accepted threshold (13,200 to 12,900 BP). [2]

Recently, the scientific consensus has changed to acknowledge the presence of pre-Clovis cultures in the Americas, ending the "Clovis first" consensus. [49] [50] [51]

Alternatives to Clovis First

Evidence of human habitation before Clovis

Map of the Americas showing pre-Clovis sites Pre-clovis-sites-of-the-americas.svg
Map of the Americas showing pre-Clovis sites

Archaeological sites that antedate Clovis that are well documented include:

Predecessors of the Clovis people may have migrated south along the North American coastlines, although arguments exist for many migrations along several different routes. [75] Radiocarbon dating of the Monte Verde site in Chile places Clovis-like culture there as early as 18,500 to 14,500 years ago. [62] Remains found at the Channel Islands of California place coastal Paleoindians there 12,500 years ago. This suggests that the Paleoindian migration could have spread more quickly along the Pacific coastline, proceeding south, and that populations that settled along that route could have then begun migrations eastward into the continent.

The Pedra Furada sites in Brazil include a collection of rock shelters, which were used for thousands of years by diverse human populations. The first excavations yielded artifacts with carbon-14 dates of 48,000 to 32,000 years BP. Repeated analyses have confirmed this dating, carrying the range of dates up to 60,000 BP. [76] The best-analyzed archaeological levels are dated between 32,160 ± 1000 years BP and 17,000 ± 400 BP. These claims have become an issue of contention between North American archaeologists and their South American and European counterparts, who disagree on whether it is conclusively proven to be an older human site. [77] [78] [79]

In 2004, worked stone tools were found at Topper in South Carolina that have been dated by radiocarbon techniques possibly to 50,000 years ago. [80] But, there is significant scholarly dispute regarding these dates. [81] Scholars agree that evidence of humans at the Topper Site date back to 22,900 cal yr BP. [82]

A more substantiated claim is that of Paisley Caves, Oregon, where rigorous carbon-14 and genetic testing appear to indicate that humans related to modern Native Americans were present in the caves over 1000 14C years before the earliest evidence of Clovis. [83] Traces and tools made by another people, the "Western Stemmed" tradition, were documented. [84]

A study published in Science presents strong evidence that humans occupied sites in Monte Verde, Chile, at the tip of South America, as early as 13,000 years ago. [85] If this is true, then humans must have entered North America long before the Clovis culture – perhaps 16,000 years ago.

The Tlapacoya site in Mexico is located along the base of a volcanic (remnant) hill on the shore of the former Lake Chalco. Seventeen excavations along the base of Tlapacoya Hill between 1956 and 1973 uncovered piles of disarticulated bones of bear and deer that appeared to have been butchered, plus 2,500 flakes and blades presumably from the butchering activities, plus one unfluted spear point. All were found in the same stratum containing three circular hearths filled with charcoal and ash. Bones of many other animal species were also present, including horses and migratory waterfowl. Two uncalibrated radiocarbon dates on carbon from the hearths came in around 24,000 and 22,000 years ago. [86] At another location, a prismatic microblade of obsidian was found in association with a tree trunk radiocarbon dated (uncalibrated) at roughly 24,000 years ago. This obsidian blade has recently been hydration dated by Joaquín García-Bárcena to 22,000 years ago. The hydration results were published in a seminal article that deals with the evidence for pre-Clovis habitation of Mexico. [87]

Coastal migration route

Studies of the mitochondrial DNA of First Nations/Native Americans published in 2007 suggest that the people of the New World may have diverged genetically from Siberians as early as 20,000 years ago, far earlier than the standard theory suggests. [47] According to one alternative theory, the Pacific coast of North America may have been free of ice, allowing the first peoples in North America to come down this route prior to the formation of the ice-free corridor in the continental interior. [88] No evidence has yet been found to support this hypothesis[ citation needed ] except that genetic analysis of coastal marine life indicates diverse fauna persisting in refugia throughout the Pleistocene ice ages along the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia; these refugia include common food sources of coastal aboriginal peoples, suggesting that a migration along the coastline was feasible at the time. [89] Some early sites on the coast, for example Namu, British Columbia, exhibit maritime focus on foods from an early point with substantial cultural continuity. [90]

In February 2014, researchers reported on their DNA analysis of the remains of Anzick boy (referred to as Anzick-1) of Montana, the oldest skeleton found in the Americas and dated to 12,600 years ago. They found the mtDNA to be D4h3a, "one of the rare lineages associated with Native Americans." [7] This was the same as the mtDNA associated with current coastal populations in North and South America. The study team suggest that finding this genetic evidence so far inland shows that "current distribution of genetic markers are not necessarily indicative of the movement or distribution of peoples in the past." [7] The Y haplotype was found to be Q-L54*(xM3). Further testing found that Anzick-1 was most closely related to Native American populations (see below). [7]

Solutrean hypothesis

The controversial Solutrean hypothesis proposed in 1999 by Smithsonian archaeologist Dennis Stanford and colleague Bruce Bradley (Stanford and Bradley 2002), suggests that the Clovis people could have inherited technology from the Solutrean people who lived in southern Europe 21,000–15,000 years ago, and who created the first Stone Age artwork in present-day southern France. [91] The link is suggested by the similarity in technology between the projectile points of the Solutreans and those found at Clovis (and pre-Clovis) sites. Its proponents point to tools found at various pre-Clovis sites in eastern North America (particularly in the Chesapeake Bay region) as progenitors of Clovis-style tools. [92] The model envisions these people making the crossing in small watercraft via the edge of the pack ice in the North Atlantic Ocean that then extended to the Atlantic coast of France, using skills similar to those of the modern Inuit people, making landfall somewhere around the then-exposed Grand Banks of the North American continental shelf.

In a 2008 study of the relevant paleoceanographic data, Kieran Westley and Justin Dix concluded that "it is clear from the paleoceanographic and paleo-environmental data that the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) North Atlantic does not fit the descriptions provided by the proponents of the Solutrean Atlantic Hypothesis. Although ice use and sea mammal hunting may have been important in other contexts, in this instance, the conditions militate against an ice-edge-following, maritime-adapted European population reaching the Americas." [93]

University of New Mexico anthropologist Lawrence G. Straus, a primary critic of the Solutrean hypothesis, points to the theoretical difficulty of the ocean crossing, a lack of Solutrean-specific features in pre-Clovis artifacts, as well as the lack of art (such as that found at Lascaux in France) among the Clovis people, as major deficiencies in the Solutrean hypothesis. The 3,000 to 5,000 radiocarbon year gap between the Solutrean period of France and Spain and the Clovis of the New World also makes such a connection problematic. [94] In response, Bradley and Stanford contend that it was "a very specific subset of the Solutrean who formed the parent group that adapted to a maritime environment and eventually made it across the north Atlantic ice-front to colonize the east coast of the Americas" and that this group may not have shared all Solutrean cultural traits. [95]

Genetic evidence of east/west dichotomy

Mitochondrial DNA analysis in 2014 has found that members of some native North American tribes have a maternal ancestry (called haplogroup X) linked to the maternal ancestors of some present-day individuals in western Asia and Europe, albeit distantly. This has also provided some support for pre-Clovis models. More specifically, a variant of mitochondrial DNA called X2a found in many Native Americans has been traced to western Eurasia, while not being found in eastern Eurasia. [96]

Mitochondrial DNA analysis of Anzick-1 concluded that the boy belonged to what is known as haplogroup or lineage D4h3a. This finding is important because the D4h3a line is considered to be a lineage "founder", belonging to the first people to reach the Americas. Although rare in most of today's Native Americans in the US and Canada, D4h3a genes are more common among native peoples of South America, far from the site in Montana where Anzick-1 was buried. This suggests a greater genetic complexity among Native Americans than previously thought, including an early divergence in the genetic lineage 13,000 years ago. One theory suggests that after crossing into North America from Siberia, a group of the first Americans, with the lineage D4h3a, moved south along the Pacific coast and, over thousands of years, into Central and South America, while others may have moved inland, east of the Rocky Mountains. [7] The apparent early divergence between North American and Central plus South American populations may or may not be associated with post-divergence gene flow from a more basal population into North America; however, analysis of published DNA sequences for 19 Siberian populations does not favor the latter scenario. [7]

Spearheads and DNA found at the Paisley Caves site in Oregon suggest that North America was colonized by more than one culture, and that the Clovis culture was not the first. There is evidence to suggest an east/west dichotomy, with the Clovis culture located to the east. [97]

But in 2014, the autosomal DNA of a 12,500+-year-old infant from Montana was sequenced. [7] [8] [98] [99] The DNA was taken from a skeleton referred to as Anzick-1, found in close association with several Clovis artifacts. Comparisons indicate strong affinities with DNA from Siberian sites, and virtually rule out close affinity with European sources (the "Solutrean hypothesis"). The DNA shows strong affinities with all existing Native American populations, which indicated that each of them derives from an ancient population that lived in or near Siberia, the Upper Palaeolithic Mal'ta population. Mal'ta belonged to Y-DNA haplogroup R and mitochrondrial macrohaplogroup U. [7] [100]

The data indicate that Anzick-1 is from a population directly ancestral to present South American and Central American Native American populations. This rules out hypotheses which posit that invasions subsequent to the Clovis culture overwhelmed or assimilated previous migrants into the Americas. Anzick-1 is less closely related to present North American Native American populations (including a Yaqui genetic sample), suggesting that the North American populations are basal to Anzick-1 and Central and South American populations. [7] The apparent early divergence between North American and Central plus South American populations might be due to post-divergence gene flow from a more basal population into North America; however, analysis of published DNA sequences of 19 Siberian populations do not suggest this scenario. [7] Anzick-1 belonged to Y-haplogroup Q-L54(xM3), [7] which is by far the largest haplogroup among Native Americans.

Other sites

Mammuthus primigenius "Hebior Mammoth specimen" bearing tool/butcher marks, cast skeleton produced and distributed by Triebold Paleontology Incorporated Hebior Mammoth Clean.png
Mammuthus primigenius "Hebior Mammoth specimen" bearing tool/butcher marks, cast skeleton produced and distributed by Triebold Paleontology Incorporated

In approximate reverse chronological order:

See also

Related Research Articles

The Younger Dryas was a return to glacial conditions after the Late Glacial Interstadial, which temporarily reversed the gradual climatic warming after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) started receding around 20,000 BP. It is named after an indicator genus, the alpine-tundra wildflower Dryas octopetala, as its leaves are occasionally abundant in late glacial, often minerogenic-rich sediments, such as the lake sediments of Scandinavia.

Solutrean

The Solutrean industry is a relatively advanced flint tool-making style of the Upper Paleolithic of the Final Gravettian, from around 22,000 to 17,000 BP. Solutrean sites have been found in modern-day France, Spain and Portugal.

Aurignacian Archaeological culture

The Aurignacian is an archaeological tradition of the Upper Paleolithic associated with European early modern humans (EEMH) lasting from 43,000 to 26,000 years ago. The Upper Paleolithic developed in Europe some time after the Levant, where the Emiran period and the Ahmarian period form the first periods of the Upper Paleolithic, corresponding to the first stages of the expansion of Homo sapiens out of Africa. They then migrated to Europe and created the first European culture of modern humans, the Aurignacian.

Clovis point

Clovis points are the characteristically fluted projectile points associated with the New World Clovis culture. They are present in dense concentrations across much of North America; in South America, they are largely restricted to the north of that continent. Clovis points date to the Early Paleoindian period, with all known points dating to the 600 years between roughly 13,500 to 12,800 calendar years ago. Clovis fluted points are named after the city of Clovis, New Mexico, where examples were first found in 1929 by Ridgely Whiteman.

Monte Verde

Monte Verde is an archaeological site in southern Chile, located near Puerto Montt, Southern Chile, which has been dated to as early as 18,500 cal BP. Previously, the widely accepted date for early occupation at Monte Verde was ~14,500 years cal BP. This dating added to the evidence showing that the human settlement of the Americas pre-dates the Clovis culture by roughly 1000 years. This contradicts the previously accepted "Clovis first" model which holds that settlement of the Americas began after 13,500 cal BP. The Monte Verde findings were initially dismissed by most of the scientific community, but the evidence then became more accepted in archaeological circles.

Upper Paleolithic Subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age

The Upper Paleolithic also called the Late Stone Age is the third and last subdivision of the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age. Very broadly, it dates to between 50,000 and 12,000 years ago, according to some theories coinciding with the appearance of behavioral modernity in early modern humans, until the advent of the Neolithic Revolution and agriculture.

Paleo-Indians Classification term given to the first peoples who entered the American continents

Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleo-Americans, were the first peoples who entered, and subsequently inhabited, the Americas during the final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period. The prefix "paleo-" comes from the Greek adjective palaios (παλαιός), meaning "old" or "ancient". The term "Paleo-Indians" applies specifically to the lithic period in the Western Hemisphere and is distinct from the term "Paleolithic".

Late Pleistocene Third division (unofficial) of the Pleistocene Epoch

The Late Pleistocene is an unofficial age in the international geologic timescale in chronostratigraphy, also known as Upper Pleistocene from a stratigraphic perspective. It is intended to be the fourth division of the Pleistocene Epoch within the ongoing Quaternary Period. It is currently estimated to span the time between c. 129,000 and c. 11,700 years ago. The Late Pleistocene equates to the proposed Tarantian Age of the geologic time scale, preceded by the officially ratified Chibanian and succeeded by the officially ratified Greenlandian. The estimated beginning of the Tarantian is the start of the Eemian interglacial period. It is held to end with the termination of the Younger Dryas, some 11,700 years ago when the Holocene Epoch began.

Haplogroup X (mtDNA)

Haplogroup X is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup. It is found in America, Europe, Western Asia, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa.

Cactus Hill is an archaeological site in southeastern Virginia, United States, located on sand dunes above the Nottoway River about 45 miles south of Richmond. The site receives its name from the prickly pear cacti that can be found growing abundantly on-site in the sandy soil. Cactus Hill may be one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Americas. If proven to have been inhabited 16,000 to 20,000 years ago, it would provide supporting evidence for pre-Clovis occupation of the Americas. The site has yielded multiple levels of prehistoric inhabitance with two discrete levels of early Paleoindian activity.

Solutrean hypothesis Hypothesis for ancient human migrations to the Americas

The Solutrean hypothesis on the peopling of the Americas claims that the earliest human migration to the Americas took place from Europe, during the Last Glacial Maximum. This hypothesis contrasts with the mainstream view that the North American continent was first reached after the Last Glacial Maximum, by people from North Asia, either by the Bering land bridge, or by maritime travel along the Pacific coast, or by both.

The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis (YDIH) or Clovis comet hypothesis posits that fragments of a large, disintegrating asteroid or comet struck North America, South America, Europe, and western Asia around 12,800 years ago. Multiple airbursts/impacts produced the Younger Dryas (YD) boundary layer (YDB), depositing peak concentrations of platinum, high-temperature spherules, meltglass, and nanodiamonds, forming an isochronous datum at more than 50 sites across about 50 million km2 of Earth's surface. Some scientists have proposed that this event triggered extensive biomass burning, a brief impact winter and the Younger Dryas abrupt climate change, contributed to extinctions of late Pleistocene megafauna, and resulted in the end of the Clovis culture.

Pedra Furada Collection of archaeological sites in Brazil

Pedra Furada is an important collection of over 800 archaeological sites in the state of Piauí, Brazil. These include hundreds of rock paintings dating from circa 12,000 years before present. More importantly, charcoal from very ancient fires and stone shards that may be interpreted as tools found at the location were dated from 48,000 to 32,000 years before present, suggesting the possibility of a human presence tens of thousand of years prior to the arrival of the Clovis people in North America.

Manis Mastodon Site United States historic place

The Manis Mastodon site is a 2-acre (1 ha) archaeological site on the Olympic Peninsula near Sequim, Washington, United States. During the dig, the remains of an American mastodon were recovered which had a 13,800 year old projectile made of the bone from a different mastodon embedded in its rib. The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Peștera Muierilor Cave and archaeological site in Romania

Peștera Muierilor, or Peștera Muierii, is an elaborate cave system located in the Baia de Fier commune, Gorj County, Romania. It contains abundant cave bear remains, as well as a human skull. The skull is radiocarbon dated to 30,150 ± 800, indication an absolute age between 40,000 and 30,000 BP. It was uncovered in 1952. Alongside similar remains found in Cioclovina Cave, they are among the most ancient early modern humans in Romanian prehistory.

Recent African origin of modern humans "Out of Africa" theory of the early migration of humans

In paleoanthropology, the recent African origin of modern humans, also called the "Out of Africa" theory (OOA), recent single-origin hypothesis (RSOH), replacement hypothesis, or recent African origin model (RAO), is the dominant model of the geographic origin and early migration of anatomically modern humans. It follows the early expansions of hominins out of Africa, accomplished by Homo erectus and then Homo neanderthalensis.

Anzick-1 is a Paleo-Indian male infant whose remains were found in south central Montana, United States, in 1968, and date to 12,707–12,556 years BP. The child was found with more than 115 tools made of stone and antlers and dusted with red ocher, suggesting an honorary burial. Anzick-1 is the only human who has been discovered from the Clovis Complex, and is the first ancient Native American genome to be fully sequenced.

The Upward Sun River site, or Xaasaa Na’, is a Late Pleistocene archaeological site associated with the Paleo-Arctic Tradition, located in the Tanana River Valley, Alaska. Dated to around 11,500 BP, Upward Sun River is the site of the oldest human remains discovered on the American side of Beringia. The site was first discovered in 2006.

El Fin del Mundo

El Fin del Mundo is an ancient Pleistocene site near Pitiquito in northwestern Sonora, Mexico. It features Clovis culture period occupation dating around 13,390 calibrated years BP. It was discovered during a 2007 survey.

Settlement of the Americas Prehistoric migration from Asia to the Americas

The settlement of the Americas is widely accepted to have begun when Paleolithic hunter-gatherers entered North America from the North Asian Mammoth steppe via the Beringia land bridge, which had formed between northeastern Siberia and western Alaska due to the lowering of sea level during the Last Glacial Maximum. These populations expanded south of the Laurentide Ice Sheet and spread rapidly throughout both North and South America, by 14,000 years ago. The earliest populations in the Americas, before roughly 10,000 years ago, are known as Paleo-Indians.

References

  1. "Clovis Culture" entry in the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology: "9,500–9,000 BC".
  2. 1 2 Waters, Michael R.; Stafford Jr., Thomas W. (2007). "Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the Peopling of the Americas". Science. 315 (5815): 1122–1126. Bibcode:2007Sci...315.1122W. doi:10.1126/science.1137166. PMID   17322060. S2CID   23205379.
  3. David R. Starbuck, The Archeology of New Hampshire: Exploring 10,000 Years in the Granite State, UPNE, 2006, p. 25.
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Further reading