, Research Paper
When did people first come to North America is a highly publicized question in archaeology. This question has been the focal point of many archaeologists careers. Although this question is really no more important than any other unanswered archaeological question; it remains a cataclysm for many, if not all, North American archaeologists
To the North American archaeologist the migration of humans from Siberia to North America is a topic of dispute no matter what his or her field of study might be. Although the commonly accepted theory of 12,000 years ago is by far the more common side to pick in the argument, there is not any evidence to support this as the only possible time of migration. But there is no evidence to disprove this theory either.
To most people the theory of human settlement in North America 12,000 years ago is commonly proposed and accepted, but any archaeologist knows this to be just that: a theory. What this means is that a theory will never satisfy everybody. When the search for humans entering North America first started there was a constant battle to see who could find the oldest sight. With each new discovery the age of migration into North America got pushed back until there seemed to be an agreement. With the discovery of Clovis remains it was thought that with such wide distribution of similar points and tools that this had to be the first migration. This may be a correct hypothesis, but the search for pre-Clovis sights is still being pursued to this day. Pre-Clovis sights range from 30,000 or 40,000 years ago to an almost unbelievable 200,000 years ago. With the exception of a few sights like Monte Verde and Meadowcroft Rockshelter pre-Clovis sights have been proven to be false time after time. With modern advances in excavation techniques and radio-carbon dating the possibility for finding a pre-Clovis sight is becoming harder. Geologic evidence supports the Clovis theory too. Beringia was uncovered at the time frame that would suit the Clovis migration theory of about 15,000 to 12,000 years ago. But a majority of pre-Clovis sights have been found in the time frame of 50,000 to 30,000 years ago, and geologic evidence also supports this migration theory. Beringia was also uncovered in this approximate time frame.
So who is right: Clovis or pre-Clovis? The evidence strongly leans toward Clovis. Clovis is becoming more and more the accepted theory for North American archaeologists, but evidence does exist to support the pre-Clovis theory. Until the pre-Clovis theory is proven or disproven one-hundred percent we will not know when people first came to North America.
As a reader I was looking for the answer to a question: why don t we know when the first people came to North America. I thought the answer was pretty obvious, but the article did help me realize the importance of pre-Clovis sights. Before I read the article I was probably convinced that Clovis was the first migration. The article showed me the facts and figures to convince me that Clovis isn t a rock solid theory. I m not saying that was the intention of the article but I think there was definitely no bias toward Clovis or pre-Clovis. My only complaint was the technical proficiency needed to fully comprehend this article. By this I mean the article was directed toward a more professional field of archaeologists. This isn t necessarily bad, I just think professionalism can be overdone.