Friday, March 10, 2006

Time Magazine update Reader John Hardy emails to note that someone has posted most or all of the Time article on the peopling of the Americas here.

Errr, in the interests of remaining on the right side of various copyright laws, I cannot encourage readers to follow that link. But if you did. . . .

You would find a pretty decent primer on the whole issue. I didn't find any glaring ommissions or errors. They do tend to portray the Clovis-first idea as sort of coming out of nowhere though. The idea of an American Paleolithic had been around for some time, but so many outrageous claims were being made (still were for years) that a few workers -- notably WH Holmes -- more or less put the kibosh on the idea by ripping the bad work to shreds. (Prediction: much of that early work will soon be reanalyzed and some of it will be found to be valid) So, in that sense, rejection of an American Paleolithic had some justification. It's also sort of implied that Clovis-first had no real basis in fact:

The Clovis-first theory is pretty much dead, and the case for coastal migration appears to be getting stronger all the time. But in a field so recently liberated from a dogma that has kept it in an intellectual straitjacket since Franklin Roosevelt was President. . .

As if no one was out looking for earlier sites, or people were ignoring the obvious. People did look for pre-Clovis sites, many claims were made, but they all had significant problems. The Clovis-first theory was empirically based.

So anyway, read it and see what you think.

(Read the forum on that link, too, some of it's a hoot and a half)