THE MONTE VERDE and Kennewick finds have scrambled the conservative world of First American archaeology. Most archaeologists now agree that humans arrived in the New World sometime before, say, 12,000 years ago. Monte Verde may well be earlier than Clovis, but nobody knows how much earlier. Several hundred feet to the south of the 12,500-year-old deposit is a second, earlier component where Dillehay has found some questionable stone tools and burnt wood, three clay-lined pits, and two radiocarbon dates suggesting an age of maybe 33,000 years. At this writing, he is planning further excavations on this very early stratum.
A wave of new finds suggests that the southern tip of South America may have been first occupied about the same time as North America, or even earlier. How could this be? Were people sailing to Tierra del Fuego as Clovis hunters were slogging southward from the Bering Straits?
The combined linguistic, genetic, and archaeological evidence still points to a Bering Strait crossing, but since Clovis may no longer be the pio-