Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 127: Jan-Feb 2000

Issue Contents

Other pages











Paradigm quake: the solutreans were here first!

It's not just a paradigm shift, it's a paradigm "quake." The Bering Land Bridge theory is being superceded by the Solutrean Hypothesis. Of course, it will be a contentious, long-drawn-out transition; but it is as dramatic in archeology as the discovery of X-rays was in physics a century ago.

The artifactual basis for the Solutrean Hypothesis consists of projectile points and blades found along the east coast of North America that are virtually indistinguishable from those manufactured by the Solutrean culture that flourished in Spain, Portugal, and southwestern France 20,000 years ago.

Promoters of the Solutrean Hypothesis assert that adventurous inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula made Atlantic crossings in skin boats. With the help of the favorable currents and benign weather, they could have made the crossing in about three weeks. Diehard champions of the Bering Land Bridge ridicule such early trans-Atlantic crossings. Yet, South Pacific islanders had been making long ocean voyages for some 20,000 years before the Solutreans set sail.

No one denies that some immigrants to the Americas used the Bering Land Bridge; it is just that they were latecomers. Archeological sites in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina (SF#125) dating back 15,000-18,000 years demonstrate that the ocean-going Solutreans had footholds in the Americas 3,0006,000 years before Asian landlubbers trekked into Alaska.

(Anonymous; "Origins of Prehistoric North Americans in Dispute," Baltimore Sun, November 1, 1999. Verrengia, Joseph B.; "Are You a Clovis or a Solutrean?" Associated Press, Fox Newswire, October 31, 1999. Cr. M. Colpitts.)

From Science Frontiers #127, JAN-FEB 2000. 1997 William R. Corliss