The never-ending debate about when the first humans reached North America continues. This time an archeologist says there is evidence humans reached the American continent 130,000 years ago! This statement challenges the ‘Clovis First’ theory that has been the subject of heated debates lately.
Scientists have long believed that the first peoples to set foot on the American continent arrived by crossing a land connection, the Bering Strait, from Siberia at the end of the last Ice Age. When archaeologists unearthed stone tools used around this time, at a site near Clovis, New Mexico, these people were named They are often called ‘Clovis people’, named after the first discovery of stone tools used around this time, at a site near Clovis, New Mexico.
However, more recent studies suggest the Americas were populated well before that, with evidence found in Cooper’s Ferry, Idaho, dating back to approximately 15,000 to 16,000 years ago.
It would seem there are many uncertainties with the Clovis theory. As reported by AncientPages.com, earlier, a new study now reveals that the Americas were not populated via a suspected ice-free corridor more than 15,600 years ago, as previously thought.
The research team – led by Jorie Clark of Oregon State University and including Dr. Dylan Rood and Louise Guillaume of Imperial College London’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering (ESE) – found that the corridor between the two ice sheets did not open fully until about 13,800 years ago when the two ice sheets covering much of North America melted and retreated.
“We have closed the door on the ice-free corridor. This research makes it clear that the corridor wouldn’t have been available as a migration route back when people first entered the Americas some 2,000 years earlier, putting the Clovis First theory to rest,” Dr. Dylan Rood said.
Archaeologist and associate professor of sociology at Algoma University Paulette Steeves argues that archaeological discoveries combined with the oral stories of the Indigenous people offer evidence the first humans reached North America much earlier than previously thought.
Professor Steeves, says there is archaeological evidence that is much, much older than scientists used to accept.
The time period, such as the arrival of the Clovis people is relatively recent when compared to the history of homo sapiens, and it can conflict with the view of many Indigenous people who believe their ancestors have lived here “since time immemorial.”
“For many, many years, people thought the Clovis were the first people of North America, and that was the primary paradigm,” said Steven Holen, research director at the Center for American Paleolithic Research.
One interesting archaeological discovery was reported in 2017 when scientists found 23,000-year-old footprints at White Sands National Park in New Mexico.
The footprints were formed in soft mud on the margins of a shallow lake that now forms part of Alkali Flat, a large playa at White Sands. Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey dated these tracks using radiocarbon dating of seed layers above and below the footprint horizons. The dates range in age and confirm human presence over at least two millennia with the oldest tracks dating from around 23,000 years ago, which corresponds to the height of the last glacial cycle—making them the oldest known human footprints in the Americas.
“However, for those archaeologists who once faced aggressive pushback for challenging the so-called ‘Clovis First’ theory, the recent relaxing of archaeological dogma is too little, and too lacking in humility,” the CBC Radio reports.
Professor Steeves has gathered together the latest evidence and arguments in favor of believing the human presence in North America goes back many tens of thousands of years — at a minimum. The results of the studies have been published in her book The Indigenous Paleolithic of the Western Hemisphere.
“We’re supposed to believe that early hominids got to northern Asia 2.1 million years ago and then for some reason didn’t go any farther north,” Steeves explained. “A few thousand more kilometers, they would have been in North America. So it does not make any sense whatsoever.”
”For over ninety years, American archaeologists have argues that the first people to enter the Western Hemisphere walked across the area we know today as the Beringia landmass from the Eastern Hemisphere around 12,000-14,000 years ago. This time frame is very recent on a global scale of early human migrations and is an anomaly, as hominins were present in the Eastern Hemisphere over 2 million years ago. From fossil evidence, we know that Homo erectus, Neanderthal, Denisovan, and H. sapiens were very competent travelers adapting to diverse ecosystems while crossing thousands of miles of land and open bodies of water,” Professor Steeves writes in her book.
According to Professor Steeves, the meaning of “time immemorial” need not conflict with the archaeological project of dating the initial peopling of this hemisphere.
“This is where their cultures grew,” she said. “This is where their languages grew. This is where they’re from. They can tell their story in any way they want.”
Considering all evidence scattered across North America, it seems clear there is still much to learn about the arrival of the first people who reached the continent, most likely much earlier than most can imagine.