True origins of the Clovis and Solutrean culture?
Dennis Stanford during the 2008 Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota.
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 (i.e. Beringia), or by maritime travel along the Pacific coast, or by both.
According to the Solutrean hypothesis, people of the Solutrean culture, 21,000 to 17,000 years ago migrated to North America by boat along the pack ice of the North Atlantic Ocean. They brought their methods of making stone tools with them and provided the basis for the later (c. 13,000 years ago) Clovis technology that spread throughout North America. The hypothesis is based on similarities between European Solutrean and Clovis lithic technologies. Supporters of the Solutrean hypothesis refer to recent archaeological finds such as those at Cactus Hill in Virginia, Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, and Miles Point in Maryland as evidence of a transitional phase between Solutrean lithic technology and what later became Clovis technology.
Originally proposed in the 1970s, the theory has received some support in the 2010s, notably by Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution and Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter. However, according to David Meltzer, "Few if any archaeologists—or, for that matter, geneticists, linguists, or physical anthropologists—take seriously the idea of a Solutrean colonization of America. "The evidence for the hypothesis is considered more consistent with other scenarios. In addition to an interval of thousands of years between the Clovis and Solutrean eras, the two technologies show only incidental similarities. There is no evidence for any Solutrean seafaring, far less for any technology that could take humans across the Atlantic in an ice age. Recent genetic evidence supports the idea of Asian, not European, origins for the peopling of the Americas.
Similar to the controversy surrounding Kennewick Man, the Solutrean hypothesis also became politicized in the 2010s. Reports claimed that it had attracted the support of white supremacy groups, interpreting the theory to the effect that the "original inhabitants of the Americas" were "white Europeans", "the Solutreans", and that the present-day Native Americans (Indians) are the descendants of "later immigrants" from Asia. A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary in January 2018 was widely criticized by scientists and Native Americans for its uncritical presentation of the Solutrean hypothesis.
Rethinking the Peopling of the Americas - ROBERT SEPEHR
"I believe every man must make his own path" - Blackfoot When sea levels were 400 feet lower during the Ice Age, landmasses in the Atlantic ocean, such as the Azores islands, would have had a dramatically larger area exposed above the waters surface. What are the true origins of the Clovis and Solutrean culture? Robert Sepehr is an author, producer and anthropologist.
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