News / USA

New Discoveries Suggest Earlier Settlement of Americans

Arrows, a bow (top) and stone cutting tools that are part of a Klamath tribes artifacts collection (not related to the Texas discovery)
Arrows, a bow (top) and stone cutting tools that are part of a Klamath tribes artifacts collection (not related to the Texas discovery)

The first human inhabitants of North America settled at least 2,500 years earlier than the people previously identified as the first Americans. So say archaeologists, who have unearthed a trove of stone artifacts belonging to the early Americans at an archaeological dig in central Texas, in the U.S. southwest.

The 1,600 ancient stone artifacts, including chipping debris and flecks from sharpened arrow points and so-called bi-facial knife blades, were found lying undisturbed at an archaeological site over 60 kilometers southwest of Austin.

Michael Waters, director of Texas A & M University’s Center for the Study of First Americans, led the dig at the site near the head of a small stream in what’s come to be known as the Buttermilk Creek Complex.  

Waters say the latest relics were buried in a clay layer beneath sediment containing artifacts of the Clovis people, thought to have lived in this region between 1,200 and 1,300 years ago and been the earliest American settlers.

But Waters say the stone artifacts include a wide variety of tools dating as far back as 15,500 years ago. "We found many, many chisel-like tools, indicating that people were working bone, working wood, you know, many hard materials," he said.

Archaeologists used a technique called luminescence dating to show when the early settlers arrived.  The technique measures light energy trapped in sediment grains surrounding the tools from the last time the layer was exposed to sunlight.


Evidence of Clovis people were first discovered in 1932, and ever since, Waters says, archaeologists have argued about whether other sites also belonged to the Clovis civilization or were older, unrelated settlements. Waters says his team’s findings validate those who argue for an earlier colonization of the Americas.

Waters says the presence of prehistoric humans in the Americas more than 15,000 years ago doesn’t challenge the current theory that humans migrated out of Africa, moved east through Asia and on to the Americas over a Siberian land-bridge to Alaska.

But he says it could mean that the instead of a land bridge, the earliest settlers used boats to come to the Americas.

"By 15,500 years ago, the ice-free corridor, that land corridor connecting Alaska with the mainland of the United States, was closed.  The two ice sheets had merged.  So, the only route you could take to get south of those ice sheets and down into what is now the continental United States you would have had to have taken a boat.  So, I think this clearly shows that people must have arrived in the Americas by boat.  The earliest Americans," he said.

An article on an earlier settlement of the Americas is published this week in the journal Science.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More