When careful dating at the Monte Verde site in Chile finally smashed the Bering Strait paradigm (SF#112), it was if science had been unchained. Ideas and
data that have long been suppressed in fear of professional retribution are now appearing. At the February 1998 annual meeting of the American Association
for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Philadelphia, anthropological heresies ran rampant.
T. Dillehay, who directed the Monte Verde work, declared that there were 15-20 other South American sites older than 11,500 years. Monte Verde itself
may have been founded 33,000 years ago.
D. Stanford, Smithsonian curator of archeology, opined that there were probably several waves of prehistoric immigration into the Americas across the
Arctic, the Pacific Ocean (!), and possibly even the Atlantic (!!). [This is heresy no longer.] Supporting early Atlantic crossings are several dozen artifacts
found in the eastern U.S. that closely resemble some found in France and Iberia. Stanford said, "We don't know yet what that means."
Studies of DNA diversity among New World Indian populations find such large differences that at least 30,000 years would have been needed for these
differences to develop. (Assuming, of course, a relatively homogeneous group of initial colonists.)
Linguist, J. Nichols, from Berkeley, sees a similar diversity in the languages of New World peoples. Some 140 language families -- half the world total --
are found in the Americas. Nichols estimates that it would have taken a minimum of 40,000 years for such diversification. (Again assuming initial
Nichols also pointed out strong similarities in languages all around the Pacific Rim, from New Guinea north to Siberia, around Alaska, and down the west
coast of the Americas. The implication is that many of these peoples derived from the same stock.
(Lore, David; "Bering Strait May Not Have Been Only Route to Americas," Columbus Dispatch, February 17, 1998. Also: Gibbons, Ann; "Mother Tongues
Trace Steps of Earliest Americans," Science, 279:1306, 1998.)
Comment. The Bering Strait fetters have been struck. Above we even see hints that ancient seafaring will soon be allowed.
Apparently epigraphic heresy, a la B. Fell, remains anathema. Also verboten: Pedra Furada, that 50,000-year-old site in Brazil. (SF#108, SF#105, SF#112)