Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture

Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture

Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture

Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture

Synopsis

Who were the first humans to inhabit North America? According to the now familiar story, mammal hunters entered the continent some 12,000 years ago via a land bridge that spanned the Bering Sea. Distinctive stone tools belonging to the Clovis culture established the presence of these early New World people. But are the Clovis tools Asian in origin? Drawing from original archaeological analysis, paleoclimatic research, and genetic studies, noted archaeologists Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley challenge the old narrative and, in the process, counter traditional--and often subjective--approaches to archaeological testing for historical relatedness. The authors apply rigorous scholarship to a hypothesis that places the technological antecedents of Clovis in Europe and posits that the first Americans crossed the Atlantic by boat and arrived earlier than previously thought. Supplying archaeological and oceanographic evidence to support this assertion, the book dismantles the old paradigm while persuasively linking Clovis technology with the culture of the Solutrean people who occupied France and Spain more than 20,000 years ago.

Excerpt

Across Atlantic Ice is an account of two complex and treacherous journeys, one long ago and the other very recent. One is postulated to have occurred across a perilous mosaic of periglacial environments of the Northern Hemisphere during the peak of the last major glaciation some eighteen or twenty millennia ago. The other is a twenty-year intellectual excursion far outside the academic mainstream by two scholars to explore possible answers to the questions of who first came to the Americas, when, whence, and how.

We long thought that we knew the story of the initial peopling of the Americas: Nomadic mammoth hunters moved out of the Russian steppe, across the ice age Bering land bridge, down an ice-free corridor between the major ice sheets of Canada, and onto the northern Great Plains. This brought them to an American Serengeti of giant bison, mammoth, mastodon, horse, camel, and many other worthy game animals. Once in America some 13,500 years ago, these big game hunters coined a new technology, dubbed Clovis by archaeologists who crafted the romantic notion that these specialized hunters were the first Americans. This story has been dying slowly over the past thirty or so years and is now defunct. However, no consensus theory has replaced “Clovis First” in spite of a large, vigorous, diverse, and sometimes contentious cadre of scholars in many fields of science looking for the evidence to set the story straight.

This is not a trivial quest, because the Western Hemisphere affords 25 percent of the habitable surface of the earth and was colonized quite late in human history. What people were doing across the entire Northern Hemisphere over the past 50,000 years or so is the focus, along with what the changing terrestrial and marine environments of that expanse of time and space were like.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.