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No. 130: JUL-AUG 2000

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Still Another East-Coast Pre-Clovis Dig

In SF#125, we reported on the Topper pre-Clovis site in South Carolina, where stone tools tentatively dated as 12,000-20,000 years old were excavated. Finds like this challenge the claim that the Americas host no artifacts earlier than 11,500 B.P., when the Clovis people first traipsed across the Bering Land Bridge.

Now, on a sandy rise, called Cactus Hill, some 45 miles south of Richmond, Virginia, archeologists have uncovered another apparently pre-Clovis site. An upper level at Cactus Hill, dated at 10,920 B.P. does contain typical Clovis artifacts. These are warmly received by mainstream archeologists for they support a highly cherished paradigm.

But only 6 inches below the Clovis level, the diggers gingerly brushed the dirt off crude projectile points that were clearly not of Clovis manufacture. This level seems to be about 5,000 years older than the Clovis level according to radiometric dating of charcoal.

Skeptics suggest that there has been mixing of the sandy soil and that these early dates are suspect. But thermoluminescent dating has confirmed the 5,000-year time gap. Thorough analyses of the soil with its plant and animal re-mains indicated little if any mixing.

D. Stanford, from the Smithsonian Institution, asserts that these purported pre-Clovis projectile points resemble those common in Europe in the same time period. From all this, it seems that Europeans may have preceded the Clovis immigrants from Asia. Archeology, it seems, is being rocked by a powerful paradigm shift!

(Stokstad, Erik; "'Pre-Clovis' Site Fights for Recognition," Science, 288:247, 2000. Bower, B.; "Early New World Settlers Rise in East," Science News, 157:244, 2000. Todt, Ron; "Site May Settle 1st Americans Debate," Austin American Statesman, April 9, 2000. Cr. D. Phelps. Anonymous; "Settlement Proves First U.S. Immigrants Arrived Earlier," Oil City Derrick, April 9, 2000. Cr. E. Fegert.)

From Science Frontiers #130, JUL-AUG 2000. � 2000 William R. Corliss

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