New Evidence: First Americans Likely Came from Europe, Not Asia

October 26th, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect:  Professor Dennis Stanford, of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, Across-Atlantic-Ice-book-160x210and Professor Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter,have published a book "Across Atlantic Ice" (University of California Press, Berkeley, 2012) that reviews the available archaeological analysis, paleoclimatic research, and genetic studies literature and adds some new archeological finds to draw a startling conclusion:  Stone Age Europeans were most likely in the new world well over 20,000 years ago.  This was well before archeological evidence indicates that Asians crossed a former land bridge that now lies beneath the Bering Sea some 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.

Click on image to go to Amazon page for the book.

Follow up:

Added to the existing literature (that had previously raised the possibility of Stone Age immigration from Europe to America) is detailed analysis of data from six archaeological sites along the east coast of the U.S. that have produced artifacts that date from 19,000 to 26,000 years ago.  One of these sites is under the Atlantic Ocean 60 miles from the current Virginia shoreline and last above water well over 20,000 years ago during the depths of the last ice age.  During the maximum extent of the last ice age, from 13,000 to 25,000 years ago, and in several millenia before that, the North Atlantic was covered for extended periods of time by thick ice.

The authors propose that sometime late in the last ice age (which extended from 110,000 to 10,000 years ago) and probably near the time of the maximum extent of the glaciers. Europeans walked across the ice, living off ice edge animal life, some 1,500 miles from Europe to North America.


One of the influential factors is the similarity of the Clovis (New Mexico) stone tool artifacts, the east coast artifacts and those from Stone Age Spain.  These tools are very distinct from other tools that have been found which are dated more recently than 13,000 years ago and are attributed to migrants from Asia.  One theory proposed was that there were several waves of immigration from Asia separated in time by millenia to account for the remarkable difference in stone tool technology.

Stanford and Bradley are proposing that the differences obtain because of migrations from two different continents, with the European migration occurring up to 10,000 years before the one from Asia.

A number of sources from GEI News are listed below that give earlier reports on questions that have been raised about early Europeans being the first humans in North America.  There have been some archaeological finds of charcoal remains which could put human habitation in North America as much as 50,000 years ago, but extensive collaborative evidence has not yet been found.

For those that question whether it is reasonable for a 1,500 mile "hike" to be proposed, Econintersect would point out that thousands of modern humans have done the 2,180 mile hike of the Appalachian Trail over quite challenging terrain in time periods from 3-6 months.

John Lounsbury


Hat tip to Mayascribe (Seeking Alpha).

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