Paleoamerican Odyssey Presentations


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The Ones that Still Won’t Go Away

J. M. Adovasio and D. R. Pedler

Since the seminal discoveries at what for all intents and purposes is the Clovis type locality at Blackwater Draw, New Mexico in 1933, more than 500 archaeological sites in North and South America have been claimed to be older than the Clovis horizon now fixed at 13,500-13,000 calendar years ago. As each of these sites was sequentially and often vitriolically debunked and dismissed, the notion that the makers of Clovis fluted points were the first colonizers of the New World was powerfully reinforced. As it slowly passed from a scientific peopling paradigm to pseudo-theological dogma, the Clovis-first model assumed a behavioral dimension as well as maintained a chronological one. Not only were the first inhabitants of the Americas producers of highly distinctive points, they were a veritable “culture” whose spear-wielding members were rapidly moving, highly specialized, big-game focused hunters without parallel in the history of the planet. Beginning in the early 1970s, a series of far-flung discoveries in widely separated parts of the Ameri- cas began to systematically unravel the chronological and behavioral underpinnings of Clovis-first. These pivotal loci include Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, Monte Verde in Chile, Cactus Hill in Virginia, the Nenana Complex sites in Alaska, and, most recently, the Deborah L. Friedkin locality and its “sister” site of Gault in central Texas. Initially greeted with scorn, these sites and others in conjunction with linguistic and genetic data would collectively cause one foreign observer to recently note “Clovis-first ist todt” (Karge 2011)! The salient characteristics of several of these sites is detailed and an assessment of their historical role in the collapse of a venerable paradigm is offered.

The Late Pleistocene Human Settlement of Interior North America: The Role of Physiography and Sea Level Change

David G. Anderson, Thaddeus G. Bissett, and Stephen J. Yerka

The colonization of interior North America during the late Pleistocene from ca. 20–10k cal yr BP would have been profoundly shaped by physiographic features early explorers and settlers encountered, such as the location of major river valleys, mountain ranges and deserts, pluvial and periglacial lakes, and ice sheet margins, and in coastal areas by the dramatic changes in sea level that were occurring. An examina- tion of the relationship between changes in sea level and the extent of the Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plains in the vicinity of the southeastern United States indicates that, because of the uneven topography of the now submerged continental shelf, sea level rise or fall does not closely correspond to the area lost or gained. During some periods, notably MWP-1a, only small areas of the Coastal Plain were lost, while in others, such as during the Younger Dryas and MWP-1b, much larger areas were affected. The widespread appearance of Clovis in the interior of the southeast, and the apparent reduction or reorganization of imme- diate post-Clovis settlement in the Coastal Plain, and an increase—or at least no evidence for population reduction—further into the interior of the region may be related to these changes in sea level. Evaluating these ideas will require much new fieldwork, and the collection, compilation, and public dissemination of primary archaeological data among the professional community.

Fingerprinting Stone Tool Production Processes: Towards an Identification of Human Artifact Characteristics

William Andrefsky, Jr.

One of the most controversial and difficult aspects of recognizing very early human occupations in the Western Hemisphere deals with our ability to identify chipped stone artifacts made by humans as opposed to other non-human agents. Homogenous, brittle, fine-grained, or microcrystalline rock is a favorite raw material for stone tool makers and users in all times and places. However, these qualities also make such rocks candidates for natural fracture from taphonomic processes such as wind and water erosion, animal trampling, and frost fracturing. Sophisticated formalized tools are easily recognized. Less formalized tools and debitage become points of contention during investigations into early human occupations. What are the qualities found on lithic debitage and tools that allow investigators to determine if a specimen has been modified by intentional human shaping? This study reviews a series of experiments aimed at identification of macroscopic traits common to human-made lithic artifacts. Results show that commonly surmised traits such as conchoidal fracture initiation on objective piec- es and detached pieces can be the products of natural processes. How- ever, there are a suit of traits such as striking platform configuration, pattern of flake removal scars on dorsal surfaces, distribution and size of flake removals from nodules that reveal uniquely human processes. This study shows that recognition of such traits can be assessed on both individual specimens and on populations of specimens to discrimi- nate between non-human taphonomic processes and human artifact production processes.

The South American Paleoindian Record Viewed from a Theoretical Standpoint: Cultural Transmission Theory and the Variability of Lithic Industries

Astolfo Araujo

Eastern South America, or what is today Brazilian territory, poses interesting problems about the early human occupation of the Amer- icas. Three totally distinct and contemporaneous lithic technologies, dated between 11,000 and 10,000 radiocarbon years BP, are present in different portions of the country: the southern Umbu tradition, with its formal bifacial industry, with well-retouched scrapers and bifacial points; the central-northern Itaparica tradition, totally unifacial, whose only formal artifacts are limaces; and the “Lagoa Santa” industry, completely lacking any formal artifacts, composed mainly of small quartz flakes. Our data suggests that these differences are not related to subsistence or raw-material constraints, but rather to different cultural norms and transmission of strongly divergent chaînes opératoires. Such diversity in material culture, when viewed from a cultural transmission (CT) theory standpoint, seems at odds with a simple Clovis model as the origin of these three cultural traditions given the time elapsed since the first Clovis ages and the expected population structure of the early South American settlers.”

The Increasing Complexity of the Colonization Process: A View from the North American West

Charlotte Beck and George T. Jones

The Clovis First hypothesis has been slowly crumbling since reports of Monte Verde began to appear more than two decades ago, but the pace has quickened in recent years due to mounting evidence against it, particularly that from Paisley Caves. Yet archaeologists have not fashioned an equally simple and compelling alternative to Clovis First; instead, the evidence suggests a more complex process of colonization and population spread. In 2010 we argued for evidence of at least two points of entry into North America by colonizing populations, one in the southeast/southern Texas represented by Clovis and the other in the Pacific Northwest. We suggested that these latter colonists may have used corridors like the Columbia River and its tributaries to enter the interior basins of the Intermountain West. As Alan Bryan argued years ago, we believe these western groups carried a distinctive stone tool technology from that of Clovis. In this paper we review our original arguments, evaluating our thesis in light of more recent data. In addition we tackle the question of the affinities between Clovis and Western Stemmed biface technology. Drawing on Western Stemmed biface assemblages numbering more than 1000 items, we compare production techniques with those of Clovis to assess if the two could represent descendent and predecessor as implied by the Clovis First hypothesis.


The Pleistocene Human Occupation of Piaui: An Unacceptable Reality? And Nevertheless They are Old!

Eric Boëda

The presence of humans in South America, prior to 12,000 BP, is an ongoing subject of controversy. Independently of the arguments of each researcher, we note at least two analytical biases. For the first, depend- ing on whether the material recovered is on the “good” or “bad” side of the “barrier”, scientific demonstrations do not have the same order of rigor. The second concerns the way in which the archaeological material is studied, limiting that which is presented to a very limited category of artifacts: points. Our more demanding approach combines technological, taphonomic and experimental approaches. We have included the study of the site of Boqueiro de Pedra Furada and two new sites in karstic and sandstone position in the Piaui, for which the arti- facts come from archaeological assemblages dating to more than 17,000 BP. Taking into account the totality of these artifacts demonstrates technological facies that rely on the use of cobble, which we can identify as entirely classical in comparison with those commonly found in all of the countries in Eastern Asia. Alongside this research, a comparative taphonomic analysis has been systematically carried out, which further confirms the presence of technological facies that are not natural. Thus, the increase in discoveries in various geological contexts confirms the existence of human occupations during the Upper Pleistocene in this region of the world.

Imagining Clovis as a Cultural Revitalization Movement

Bruce A. Bradley and Michael B. Collins

Clovis technology, as known in the durable record, consists of several distinctive flaked-stone reduction strategies as well as the manufacture of a range of bone, ivory, and antler tools. Stone was flaked to pro- duce large flakes from bifacial cores: blades from two core-reduction technologies, and bifaces for varying purposes including the distinctive points known as Clovis. All these were complex technologies, which demanded expert knowledge and significant skill to achieve, even at a basic level. Special characteristics such as the extraordinary selection of exotic raw materials, production of oversized bifaces for caching, con- trolled full-face and overshot biface flaking, and flat-backed blade core maintenance are some of the features that indicate “deep” technologies that must have had significant and distinguishable antecedents in the archaeological record. These specific technologies span multiple ecolog- ical zones from the sub-arctic to the tropics, indicating an astonishing consistency and a system imposed on environmental factors rather than controlled by them. These features and behaviors are used to propose that Clovis was the product of culture change known as a revitalization movement. This anthropological concept is introduced in detail and then used to suggest that Clovis may not have been a single culture but a disparate set of cultures unified by a technologically coded belief system.

A Paleoindian Site (10,450 to 10,040 B.C.) at Limón, Costa Rica

Marta Lucía Chávez Montoya

A sample of burnt wood gave a date of 10450 years before Christ. Arose during an archaeological assessment carried out on land of the Reventazon hydroelectric project (PHR) – ICE, between dimensions 265 and 120 m in the forest very humid Tropical with high precipitation and a range of temperatures between 20 ° C – 30° C. Areas of irregular topography that connect small terraces showed cultural remains and presented features suitable for human activities. The water resource 100 metres is the Sibón stream, descends into the Canyon of the Río Reventazón. The island site: The archaeological exploration revealed a panorama of ancient groups activities. Stratigraphically evidence stood: ceramic between 20 – 75cm. A lithic rock with foraminifera set overlaps with the ceramic between 50-80 cm. Another lithic set of silicified shale was revealed between 80 and 160cm identifying slices reafilamiento, slimming, unifaciales and bifacial artifacts (scrapers, scrapers, knives, preform and waste products of size); associated with this was the radio- metric dating. The evidence in these depths indicates interspersed with two stone complexes; of shale never gets to share the space occupied by ceramics, pointing out the result of C14 existed people inhabiting the region at least eight millennia before people who used the ceramic complex located in the first layers. Opens the picture with respect to the first human groups, now needing more in-depth studies to make partnerships with other parts of the continent or otherwise indicate a native tradition in the region.

North America before Clovis: Variance in Temporal/Spatial Cultural Patterns, 24,000 to 13,000 BP

Michael B. Collins, Dennis J. Stanford, and Darrin L. Lowery

A wide range of contrasting cultural patterns occur across North Amer- ica during various portions of the time period between ~24,000 and 13,000 BP. Each of these is represented by multiple sites and tends to occur in distinctive environmental settings. The extent and variance of this rich archaeological fabric indicates a complex process of peopling the Western Hemisphere, multiple cultural origins, and a long period of human presence prior to the advent of the distinctive Clovis manifestation.

The Presence of Gault-Ft. Hood Chert at the Brush Creek Clovis Site (41HU74), Hunt County, Texas

Wilson W. Crook, III and Thomas E. Williams

Ongoing investigations at the Brushy Creek Clovis site (41HU74) in Hunt County, Texas have recovered a total of 78 tools among which are 2 Clovis points, a fluted preform, 9 large curved blades, 10 small (<70 mm) bladelets, and a number of bifaces, end scrapers, and other tools. Recent finds over the last two years have added the broken bit end of a chert adze, a possible burin, a burin spall and an engraved piece of Inoceramus sp. shell. The latter displays an extensive cross-hatched pattern on both faces and is similar to an engraved Incoceramus shell from the Kincaid rock Shelter. Many of the artifacts from the site have the same coloration and UV response as chert from known central Texas Clovis locations such as the Gault site (41BL323). To test the possibility of interaction between the inhabitants of Brushy Creek and central Texas, all of the chert artifacts have been subjected to analysis using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), with select artifacts also analyzed by Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry – Laser Ablation or ICP-MS-LA. Both analytical methods confirmed the presence of Gault chert at Brushy Creek. This presentation summarizes the results of the XRF and ICP-MS-LA analysis and discusses the implications for Clovis people interaction and movement across north central Texas.


Late Pleistocene Economic and Cultural Diversity in North Peru

Tom D. Dillehay

This paper considers the earliest evidence for people along the coast and on the nearby western Andean slopes of northern Peru from 14000-10000 calibrated years ago. Synthesized and related here are both new and published data generated by three decades of archaeo- logical and paleoecological interdisciplinary research at more than 380 sites that represent the early Huaca Prieta, Fishtail, Paijan and unifacial cultures. The end of this time span was characterized by the appearance of domesticated plants, incipient social differentiation, a semi-sedentary to sedentary lifeway, and population aggregation, all of which formed a palimpsest of ever changing social and economic conditions across many different environments of the study area and set the stage for more complex developments.


New Evidence Supports the North Pacific Rim Migration Hypothesis

E. James Dixon, Kelly Monteleone and Mark R. Williams

Widespread Clovis and Folsom age human occupation along the Northwest Coast of North America is documented by reliably dated archeological sites characterized by distinctive leaf-shape and stemmed lithic projectile points, maritime subsistence economy, bear hunting at hibernacula, and inferential evidence indicating the use of watercraft. Post-Pleistocene sea level rise, forebulge height and collapse, and iso- static rebound in relation to local geography are now being applied to extend archeological survey for late Pleistocene age archeological sites to new areas above and below modern sea level. Archeological survey of submerged Pleistocene refugia on the continental shelf of Southeast Alaska’s Alexander Archipelago, and ancient shorelines located at and above modern sea level, will continue through the summer of 2014. Preliminary survey has resulted in new discoveries important to under- standing the timing and character of late Pleistocene occupation of the Northwest Coast.

The Demographic Isolation of Amerindians and Back Migrations to the Old World in the Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene: From the History of Ideas to Contemporary Scientific Realities

German Dziebel

At a time when archaeologists are increasingly seeking to define the pre-Clovis horizon (Dziebel 2000; Waters et al. 2011; Gugliotta 2013), the paper revisits early-to-mid 20th century ideas about human origins in the Americas (Florentino Ameghino) and back migrations from the Americas to the Old World across the Bering Strait (e.g., Franz Boas). Although these speculations have long receded to the fringes of science, the rapid accumulation of paleobiological, genetic, linguistic and eth- nological data pertaining to the origins of modern humans in the past 20 years (see Dziebel 2007) asks for the reassessment of the role of the Americas not only as a recipient of modern human populations but also as a source of admixture in the Old World. The discovery of very low genetic diversity among Denisovans – the phenomenon only observed among Amerindians, among living human populations – casts the new light on Pleistocene demographies in Siberia. Mitochondrial DNA fur- nished evidence for the presence of some Amerindian markers (hgs A2, C1) in Siberia and Northern Europe (Der Sarkissian 2011). Autosomal DNA studies (Patterson et al. 2012) have identified “Amerindian admix- ture” in Western European populations. Americanoid skulls have ap- parently survived in South Siberia and Central Asia into the Bronze Age (Okunev, Sopka, Chandman/Xiongnu) (Kozintsev et al. 1999; Schurr & Pipes 2011). Coupled with unusually high levels of linguistic diversity in the Americas (Campbell 1997) and some of the most conservative patterns of linguistic structure (Nichols 1992) and kinship organization (Dziebel 2007), this new multidisciplinary data suggests that archaeo- logical research in the Americas and beyond can benefit from a more complex population exchange and isolation model connecting human populations on both sides of the Bering Strait throughout the Late Pleistocene and the early Holocene.


After Clovis-First Collapsed: Reimagining the Peopling of the Americas

Jon M. Erlandson

From the ruins of the Clovis-First paradigm, which dominated 20th century American archaeology, archaeologists have proposed a variety of alternative models for the peopling of the Americas. Coastal and maritime perspectives now play a substantially more important role in such colonization models, buttressed by some recent archaeological, genetic, and paleoecological data. With increasingly robust genetic data suggesting that the Americas were first colonized by humans migrat- ing out of northeast Asia and Beringia between ~20,000 and 14,000 years ago, archaeologists must construct viable models from a very sparse pre-Clovis archaeological record. I believe the very scarcity of pre-Clovis sites is significant—suggesting that we may be missing an important part of the record. Small and highly mobile populations may explain the scarcity of early sites in some regions, but rising postglacial sea levels and the inundation of vast areas of the continental shelves are also a major problem. From these sparse records, we must reevaluate Paleoindian settlement chronologies using principles of chronological hygiene, reexamine key sites long dismissed by Clovis-First proponents, and reimagine the peopling of the New World.

Pre-Clovis and Bigfoot—The Searches Converge

Stuart J. Fiedel

The quest for hard evidence of cryptic early Homo in the Americas— Pre-Clovis humans—increasingly resembles the long, fruitless and often comical search for that other cryptic American hominid, Bigfoot. In view of the paucity of indubitable stone tools from secure pre-13,500 cal BP contexts, perhaps it is not surprising that footprints and feces have become as crucial for pre-Clovis advocates as they are for Bigfoot believers. I will critically examine the ostensibly human footprints from Valsequillo (now formally retracted) and Monte Verde (still widely accepted) and the Paisley Caves human (?) coprolites. In view of recent evidence of the survival of pre-sapiens hominins (“Hobbits” and Den- isovans) into the late Pleistocene of East Asia, is a pre-sapiens presence in the Americas too absurd to contemplate?

Rethinking Early Objects and Landscapes in the Southern Cone

Nora Flegenheimer, Laura Miotti and Natalia Mazzia

The Southern Cone exhibits a variety of early contexts with unique features, including isolated sites, such as Monte Verde, or groups of related sites, as the Puna contexts. Yet, the single feature with most widespread geographical distribution is the Fishtail or Fell 1 projectile point. It is found in a variety of contexts and environments throughout South America; specifically in the Southern Cone, in Uruguay, Chile and Argentina. Its typical design and technical traits, such as fluting, are shared in different regions and have been used in proposals about exchange, social identity and migration routes. This presentation will update information and focus on two localities with concentrations of Fishtail points, one in the pampas and the other in Patagonia. Localities Cerro El Sombrero and Los Dos Amigos exhibit similar features regard- ing objects and landscapes. Both hilltops were chosen to discard broken Fishtail points as well as other artifacts, including discoidal stones and small spheres. Based on the assumption that past selections of objects and landscape, were socially significant, we propose that people living in both regions in the Southern Cone during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition were sharing meanings and had more in common than tech- nical knowledge and designs.

Blade Cores, Blades, Blade Tools, and Clovis Points from the Powars II, Paleoindian Red Ochre Quarry 48PL330, Platte County, Southeast Wyoming

George Frison, Marcel Kornfeld, Dennis Stanford, George Zeimens and Danny Walker

The Powar’s II Paleoindian Red Ochre Quarry produced all Paleoindian projectile point types found at the nearby Hell Gap site 48G0305 plus at least five Clovis points. Recent {2013) analysis of materials recovered by the University of Wyoming in 1986 revealed blade cores and blades. The latter were ap rently used to loosen the red ochre in the procurement process and provide evidence of aspecialized Clovis tool kit.

Paleoindian Sites in the Basin of Mexico: Stratigraphy, Tephrachro- nology and Radiocarbon Dating during the Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Transition
Silvia Gonzalez, David Huddart, Isabel Israde Alcantara, Gabriela Dominguez Vazquez and James Bischoff

We present here the integration of 16 years of excavation and dating in some of the most important Paleoindian sites from the Basin of Mexico. All the radiocarbon dates quoted here are uncalibrated. The sites in- clude: the Santa Isabel Iztapan Mammoths I and II with lithics associat- ed with mammoth kill sites; the Tocuila mammoths associated with la- har deposits (volcanic mudflows); and the Peñon Woman III, the oldest directly radiocarbon dated human with an age of 10,755 ± 75 years BP. Our results indicate that there are 3 main volcanic ash (tephra) markers during the Late Pleistocene—Early Holocene: 1) the Great Basaltic Ash (GBA) with dates of 28,600 years BP; 2) the Pumice with Andesite (PWA) with an age of 14,600 years BP; and the Upper Toluca Pumice (UTP) with an age of 10,500 years BP. From our stratigraphy we can conclude that the Santa Isabel Iztapan mammoths kill sites are just be- low the Pumice with Andesite (PWA) tephra marker, with radiocarbon dates of 14,600 years BP. The lithics associated are intriguing because they include Lerma points, Scottsbluff points and obsidian prismatic blades. So far no Clovis Points have been found in the Basin of Mexico. Several Paleoindian sites are associated with the cold climatic interval known as Younger Dryas with dates between 10,900 to 9,800 years BP. In the Tocuila mammoths site we also find evidence for the meteorite impact layer reported for the SW of the USA, Canada, Europe, Syria, etc. In Tocuila we find a layer of 10 cm with large amounts of charcoal, magnetic spherules, and melted quartz, with a date of 10,800 ± 50 years BP, but not in association with a black mat deposit.


The First Humans in the Yucatan Peninsula Found in Drowned Caves: The Days of the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene in a Changing Tropic

Arturo H. Gonzalez Gonzalez, A. Terrazas, W. Stinnesbeck, M. Benavente, J. Avilés, C. Rojas, J. M. Padilla, A. Velasquez, E. Acevez, and E. Frey

Prehistoric evidence from submerged caves and sinkholes (cenotes) on the Yucatan peninsula give evidence for the emerging view of a pre-Clovis human settlement in southern Mexico. During our ongoing palaeoanthropological research work we already documented five well preserved human skeletons as old as 13 and 9 ky from drowned caves in Quintana Roo. The finds are associated with fire sites and a diverse megafaunal assemblage of latest Pleistocene age, most of which is yet unreported. With the gathered information since 1999, we have a first view of this first Americans which left the evidence of funerary rituals that took place in special chambers located more than 500 meters from the entrance to inside the caves. We know this humans were well adapted to the environment and the life expectancy were long lived, in some cases more than 55 years. At this moment we will highlight the enormous preservational potential of the cenote assemblage with spe- cial reference to human settlers and associated fauna, taphonomy and discussion of palaeobiogeographical links with adjacent coeval evidence from North- and South America. We will also calibrate prehistoric evidence chronostratigraphically, using 14C and U/Th dating on bones, teeth and charcoal, and we will analyse stalagmites, cave sediments, fossil water levels and palaeobotanical evidence (palynomorphs, char- coal) for palaeoecological signals. Isotopes and DNA will be analysed from fossil teeth and bones. With these multidisciplinary sets of data at hand we will be able to model the origin, mobility and environmental context of the first settlers on the Yucatan peninsula and reconstruct the regional palaeoenvironmental changes across the Pleistocene/Holocene boundary. Due to their evidently pre-Clovian age the human finds, which are assembled with mammals that were on the brim of extinction at the beginning of the Clovis age, our project will shed new light on the development of the human settlement throughout the Yucatan peninsu-la and their environment in Central America.

Topper, An Early Paleoamerican Site in South Carolina

Albert C. Goodyear, Douglas A. Sain, Megan Hoak King, Derek T. Anderson, and M. Scott Harris

The Topper site (38AL23) is a multicomponent prehistoric site located on the Savannah River in western Allendale County, South Carolina. A quality chert source is present at the eroding escarpment and in the present river bed. Annual excavations for the past 15 years have revealed an extensive Clovis, Archaic and Woodland record spanning the past 13,000 years. The site has received intensive geological study resulting in a basic chrono-stratigraphic framework spanning at least the past 50,000 years. Artifacts are found on the upland hillside, the es- carpment chert quarry, and on the terrace bordering the river. On the terrace, Clovis artifacts are found buried in colluvial sands OSL dated to about 13,000 years. OSL dates on colluvium below Clovis date from 14 to 15,000 years. Below the colluvium lies a Pleistocene age alluvial terrace with two distinct depositional units each bearing lithic artifacts. Non Clovis type flaked stone artifacts are thought to be in both units created by bipolar reduction. The assemblage consists of cores and choppers and flake tools formed by unifacial retouch and by bend breaking. Some prismatic blades are also present. Radiocarbon dates indicate the lower unit is at least 20,000 years old and as much as 50,000 years or more. Presently, Topper is unique in the western hemisphere for its technology and dating.

Late Pleistocene Siberia: Setting the Stage for the Peopling of the Americas

Kelly Graf

Colonization of the Americas was a complex process. Both place of origin and timing of this event are hotly debated. Based on genetics, ge- ography, language, and cultural similarities, most researchers consider Siberia the homeland of the first Americans with migration via the Ber- ing Land Bridge. Others, however, argue earliest colonizers originated in Western Europe, arriving via a trans-oceanic voyage. Some hold that this early colonization event took place before the Last Glacial Maxi- mum (LGM), while others contend it happened much more recently during the Late Glacial. In this paper, I address the peopling of the Americas from a Siberian perspective, using archaeological and ancient DNA data. The Siberian record indicates there were two pulses of modern humans into far northeast Asia during the late Pleistocene, one before and one after the LGM. The colonization of Siberia by modern humans was an episodic process, taking over 10,000 years, setting the stage for the initial peopling of the Americas.

Clovis-Era Subsistence: Continental Patterning and Regional Variability

Gary Haynes

This presentation is a summary of the evidence about Clovis-era subsistence and the different interpretations found in the literature. Sites with adequate evidence about subsistence and diet are scattered in North America over thousands of kilometers, and cannot possibly be fair indications of a pan-continental Clovis-era “diet.” Yet they do suggest large- prey preference. At least 15 sites in the United States and northern Mexico contain fluted points associated with either mam- moth, mastodont, or gomphothere bones. Several more sites appear to contain proboscideans that may have been killed/scavenged/butchered by Clovis-era people, although they lack lithics. The total number of individual proboscideans at these sites is around 60. By comparison, nearly the same number of sites contain Clovis-era features or lithics and associated bones of six large mammal taxa (horse, camel, bison, caribou, bear, deer) , representing fewer individual animals (n=46). Another 10 sites may contain utilized remains of 47 small mammals, mostly rodents and rabbits. If Clovis-era people were preferentially se- lecting the largest animals to kill, and deliberately overlooking smaller species, their choices were rational.


The Resurrection of Owl Cave: Recent Investigations Regarding the Association of Fluted Points and Mammoth Remains

L. Suzann Henrikson, Robert M. Yohe II, Gene L. Titmus and James C. Woods

The excavations at Owl Cave (10BV30), conducted during the 1960s and 70s, produced tantalizing evidence to suggest human exploitation of terminal Pleistocene fauna on the Snake River Plain in southern Idaho. While a synthesis of the excavation data was never published and the locality has since been purged from the roster of sites with an unambiguous association with extinct megafauna, renewed efforts at the site may be warranted. A recent examination of the fluted points re- covered from the Owl Cave excavations, in addition to new AMS dates on mammoth bones from the same vertical and horizontal provenience, begs the possibility that a mammoth may have indeed been procured by terminal Pleistocene hunters. The five Folsom points recovered from the lower levels of the cave all exhibit evidence of catastrophic impact and two fragments produced positive reactions to horse and elephant antisera. Although Folsom points are not known to be associated with mammoth kills on the Great Plains, sufficient ambiguity exists regarding the chronology of fluted points in the Desert West to warrant a critical, objective analysis of the archaeological record at Owl Cave. It is clear that the story is far more complex than we have led ourselves to believe, and in light of recent work, the scientific community should be willing to keep an open mind.

The Mammoth Steppe Hypothesis: The Mid Wisconsin (OIS 3) Peopling of the Americas

Steven R. Holen and Kathleen Holen

A mid-Wisconsin peopling of North America was first proposed by Muller-Beck in the mid-1960s and was later supported by archae- ological research in the Yukon that has provided evidence of a mid Wisconsin percussion technology consisting of impacted and flaked bones. We develop the “Mammoth Steppe Hypothesis” using Guthrie’s ecological model that identifies a Mammoth Steppe biome present from northern Europe across northern Siberia into Beringia. Recent research in northern Siberia at the Yana Site indicates humans were adapted to the Mammoth Steppe by 27,000 rcybp. We test the Mammoth Steppe Hypothesis using data from several mammoth sites on the North American Great Plains dating between 11,700 and 33,000 rcybp and from experimental breakage of modern elephant limb bone. Evidence supporting the presence of humans consists of impact notches and flaking on mammoth limb bone, the selective breakage of limb bones and the distribution of bone debitage. Because Canada was completely covered with Last Glacial Maximum ice from ca. 22,000 to 11,500 rcy- pb, it is hypothesized that humans entered the Great Plains before the Last Glacial Maximum by a route south from Beringia and east of the Rocky Mountains sometime between 22,000 and 40,000 rcybp during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3.

Clovis Across the Continent: Distribution, Chronology, and Climate

Vance T. Holliday and Shane Miller

Clovis is often described as a continent-wide phenomenon based pri- marily on the broad distribution of stylistically similar projectile points. Moreover, because several of the earliest Clovis discoveries included proboscidean remains, many have argued that these early occupants of North America occupied a relatively narrow ecological niche. The time range for the Clovis artifact style is apparently narrow although the exact duration remains contentious. There also appears to be regional variation in Clovis point technology and “style,” though some would argue the differences are subtle. Significant geographical variation in the intensity of Clovis is apparent across the continent, with dense concen- trations in the East and a patchier distribution on the West. This pattern may in part reflect modern recovery biases, but Clovis foragers clearly occupied a broad array of landscapes, although evidence for mountain or other high elevation occupations is rare. In the eastern U.S. Clovis artifacts are found in a wide array of lower elevation settings, but in the central and western U.S. and northern Mexico they are more thinly scattered. Relatively few concentrated or intense Clovis occupations are known west of the Mississippi. Clovis period (the post-LGM late Pleistocene) environments across the U.S. were likewise varied and also changing. The continent was in an overall warming trend and was increasingly seasonal, and runoff and water tables were generally higher than in the Holocene, but the direction and magnitude of changes varied significantly at a regional scale.


Early Human Occupation of Lagoa Santa, Central Brazil: Implications for the Dispersion and Adaptation of Early Human Groups in South America

Mark Hubbe, Walter Neves, Danilo Bernardo, André Strauss, Astolfo Araujo, and Renato Kipnis

The presence of human groups in the Americas by the end of the Pleistocene has been demonstrated in numerous archaeological sites in North, Meso and South America. However, the number of early sites associated with human remains is very limited, and to date it is difficult to discuss the processes of the continent’s initial occupation in terms of the biological characteristics of early Americans. The Lagoa Santa region, in Central Brazil is a unique region in the Americas, because it presents dozens of early sites, some of which support the evidence for the human presence in the continent by 12 kyr BP. Since its initial excavation, during 19th century, the Lagoa Santa caves and rockshelters generated over two hundred burials that date between 11.0 and 7.0 kyr BP. Here, we present a review of the biological affinities between these groups, as well as their cultural and archaeological context, resulting from our long term project in the region during the past decade. Using multivariate analysis to compare their cranial morphological affinities with other worldwide groups, we demonstrate that the Lagoa Santa remains share the same morphological pattern seen in other early pop- ulations in the Americas and other regions of the planet, a pattern that is significantly distinct from the typical morphology observed among Late Holocene Native Americans. We also explore the notion that these populations, despite being strict hunter-gatherers, showed remarkable cultural diversity, especially when burial practices are considered. In conclusion, the biological and cultural contextualization of the Lagoa Santa early human presence sheds light on important aspects of the origin and adaptation of New World populations at the end of the Pleis- tocene and early Holocene.

Early Preceramic Lithic Industries in Northern Costa Rica

Luis Hurtado de Mendoza

Excavations in the Sarapiquí piedmont yielded evidence of a flake industry associated with tephras dating 6.0 ky BP and older. Artifacts were also recovered at the Gavilan site in the northern lowlands, 6 km from the piedmont sites. Strata in Gavilan attests of a long history of erosional processes including a large scale avalanche (lahar) of Late Pleistocene age, thick flood silt deposits, terrace building by alluvial transport of rocks, and the development of soils. Associated with these were well defined cultural deposits: Level 1 containing ceramics; Level 2 with a lithic assemblage named Toro II of preceramic age; Level 3 of silt sediments with scarce lithics identified as late Paleoindian, related to the bifacial fishtail point tradition; Level 4 with a flake lithic industry, Toro I, the oldest in the relative chronology. At the base, a polimictic lahar is found, regionally recognized by its yellow clayish mud matrix. Lithic artifacts, morphologically and technologically related to those of Level 3, date 12.2 ky BP at La Isla site in the Reventazón region. Deeper strata in La Isla contains Toro I materials, suggesting an older age for this assemblage. Thus far, Toro lithics have been found in similar tropi- cal ecozones in Sarapiquí, Reventazón and Chirripó.

Vectors, Vestiges and Valhallas—Rethinking the Corridor

John W. Ives and Duane Froese

The notion of an “ice free” or “deglaciating” corridor joining eastern Beringia with the eastern slopes of the Rockies became synonymous with New World colonization, especially that of “Clovis First.” This orthodoxy was often repeated, but seldom investigated: the corridor remains a thinly studied region. Geological evidence from the 1980s along with new models of biological productivity made the corridor yesterday’s news: Late Wisconsinan coalescence clearly took place, and many depicted postglacial landscapes as unremittingly bleak—devoid of a Clovis record or marginal, with late, atypical fluted points. In fact, fluted points occur at moderate densities in the corridor region, with other traces of early Paleoindian technological organization. Bison specimens—useful proxies for human habitability—show that ecesis took place centuries prior to Clovis throughout the corridor. Some postglacial landscapes may have been unusually attractive and some earlier dates for stratified sites in the Corridor need to be revisited. While these findings do not restore the Corridor as a prime route for initial settlement, they do mean the region has a critical bearing on “second order” processes with intriguing social overtones, particularly resumption of contact between eastern Beringian human populations and those south of the Laurentide ice.

Human Technological and Behavioral Adaptation to Landscape Changes Before, During, and After the Last Glacial Maximum in Japan

Masami Izuho

Here I present technological and behavioral adaptations of hunter-gath- erers to landscape changes before, during, and after the Last Glacial Maximum on the Japanese Islands, which formed two landmasses during the Upper Pleistocene: Paleo-Honshu Island and Paleo-Sakha- lin-Hokkaido-Kurile Peninsula connected to the far eastern Asian con- tinent. Through assembling evidence of climate, landscape, flora, and fauna as well as cultural elements chronologically and geographically during periods which provide a high density of detailed data across Japan, I discuss the diversity of human technological and behavioral adaptations in the insular ecosystem between the cool-temperature and arctic zones. Differences in adaptation at the local scale between the insular and continental parts of Asia shed light on the nature of modern human dispersals and formation of cultural diversity in Eurasia and Americas.

Paisley Caves: 14,500 Years of Human Occupations in the Northern Great Basin

Dennis L. Jenkins

Ancient human copolites (dried feces) directly radiocarbon dated to 14,500 years ago have been recovered from Pleistocene aged deposits containing artifacts and extinct megafaunal remains in the Paisley 5 Mile Point Caves in south central Oregon. Their human origins verified by the extraction of ancient DNA, these are currently the oldest directly dated human remains in the Western Hemisphere. This paper provides an update on the progress of multidisciplinary scientific investigations of this unique site and the many kinds of perishable and nonperishable items preserved there. The evidence indicates the first site occupants were broad-range hunter-gathers well adapted to the Northern Great Basin’s high desert environment of the late Pleistocene.

Adaptations along the Ice Margin: Analysis, Interpretation and Impli- cations of Four Pre-Clovis Megafauna Butchery Sites in the Western Great Lakes Region

Daniel J. Joyce

Pre-Clovis mammoth and mastodon exploitation sites in Southeast Wisconsin are reviewed and compared with other mammoth butchery sites in North America. The Schaefer (47Kn252), Hebior (47Kn265), Mud Lake (47Kn246) mammoths and the Fenske (47Kn 240) mast- odon provide definative evidence of megafauna exploitation during the pre-Clovis period. These sites span 13,450 – 11,200 14C yr B.P. ending just as the classic Clovis culture is beginning. The environment and timing of this pre-Clovis adaptation to a recently deglaciated envi- ronment are explored using environmental data and climatic models. The timing of entry of Paleoamericans into the Western Great Lakes is reviewed and the question of economic adaptation and land use pat- terns to this landscape is addressed. Comparison to Clovis mammoth site geomorphic settings is made, and the proposed association of these butchery sites with a local lithic complex is analyzed. Evidence from these pre-Clovis sites makes a case for an early megafauna subsistence strategy. Although amended in recent years by more generalized forag- ing models, mammoth butchery is still a hallmark of some subsequent Clovis sites. Is the Great Lakes Proboscidean exploitation pattern different from others? Finally, a proposed relationship between these pre-Clovis butchered megafauna sites and the subsequent Clovis culture is put forth.

The Younger Dryas Boundary (YDB) Cosmic Impact Hypothesis, 12.9 ka: A Review

James P. Kennett, Allen West, Ted Bunch, and Wendy Wolbach

The abrupt onset of the Younger Dryas cooling episode at ~12.9 ka was marked by a complex array of rapid and potentially linked changes in the Earth’s environmental and biotic systems. Especially intriguing is the close and collective association of North American continen- tal-scale ecological reorganization, megafaunal extinctions, and human adaptive and population shifts. Various hypotheses have been proposed to account for these changes, including the Younger Dryas Bound- ary (YDB) Cosmic Impact Hypothesis. Our contribution will review the status of this hypothesis, summarizing evidence consistent with atmospheric impact (aerial bursts) including the character, geochemis- try, and distribution of nanodiamonds and extreme high-temperature products: impact spherules, melt-glass objects, microtektites; and other proxies. We will also review evidence consistent with the YDB hypoth- esis, including widespread biomass burning at the YDB (e.g. peaks in charcoal and aciniform soot), hydrographic reorganization, extinctions, biotic adaptations and human cultural change.

Clovis Caches: An Update and Consideration of Their Role in the Colonization of New Lands

David Kilby and Bruce Huckell

Scattered sporadically across much of the American West are tight clusters of Clovis artifacts identified as prehistoric caches. Clovis caches consist of bifaces, projectile points, blades, flakes, cores, bone and ivory rods, and occasionally other items that appear to have been carefully set aside rather than used and discarded. Caches potentially provide snapshots of working Clovis tool kits rather than discarded and broken items from kill or camp sites. Further, they provide clues to the logistical problems encountered by highly mobile Ice Age peoples, and reflect the strategies for solving them. As the defining attributes of Clovis caches become clearer, caches are recognized and reported with increasing frequency, in the form of new discoveries in the field and among existing collections. This paper provides an overview of currently known Clovis caches, ranging from assemblages discovered as much as 50 years ago to less familiar collections just coming to light, and examines variation in their contents and context. Their geographic distributions, along with geologic origins of the lithic raw materials they contain, provide clues to the roles they played in prehistoric stone tool and subsistence economies and to their role in the process of colonizing the North American continent.

Searching for Pleistocene-Aged Submerged Archaeological Sites Along Western North America’s Pacific Coast: Current Research and Future Needs

Quentin Mackie, Loren G. Davis, Daryl Fedje, Duncan McLaren and Amy E. Gusick

Enthusiasm for considering a coastal route of human entry into the Americas during the late Pleistocene has grown during the past few decades, and this has only accelerated by recent reports on early Bison and Mastodon kill/butchery sites in coastal Washington State. None- theless, relatively little sustained effort has been directed toward finding and exploring the potential archaeological content of extant Pleisto- cene-aged terrestrial landscape deposits in submerged contexts. Given the logistical challenges involved in exploring submerged landscapes for early sites, the discovery of late Pleistocene sites on the Pacific outer continental shelf is expected to be technically difficult and expensive. Therefore, we will outline the necessary, careful modeling of environ- ment and cultural behavior within the context of dynamic late Pleisto- cene marine environments. By reviewing the geoarchaeological context of early submerged and intertidal sites, and recent efforts to reconstruct coastal paleolandscapes and paleoecology along western North Amer- ica’s Pacific coast, we offer a status report on current knowledge and insights into productive directions for future research.


A Geoarchaeological Approach to the Search for Pre-Clovis Sites in North America: An Example from the Central Plains

Rolfe D. Mandel

Over the past decade the search for Pre-Clovis sites in North America have involved determining where soils and sedimentary deposits dating to the terminal Pleistocene occur in landscapes. From an archaeolog- ical perspective, it is reasonable to assume that sites predating Clovis will be found only where deposits and associated soils old enough to contain them are preserved. A corollary is that where thick deposits post-dating ca. 13 ka are present, evidence of those sites will not be found on the modern land surface. In this paper, I describe a system- atic study of late-Quaternary landscape evolution in the Central Plains that documented deeply buried paleosols representing Pre-Clovis-age landscapes. This information is being used to target landform sediment assemblages with high potential for stratified Pre-Clovis cultural depos- its. The Coffey site in northeastern Kansas will be presented as a case study. At Coffey, an archaeological component is associated with a bur- ied paleosol developed in the Severance Formation, a lithostatigraphic unit that aggraded between ca. 38 and 18 ka. The geoarchaeological approach presented in this paper has great potential for detecting the elusive Pre-Clovis record of the Central Plains and elsewhere.

The Anzick Clovis Burial, a Single Depositional Event

Juliet E. Morrow and Stuart Fiedel

The infant from the Anzick site near Wilsall, Montana, associated with 115 Clovis lithic and osseous artifacts, is still the only human skele- ton attributable to the Clovis culture. As reported at this conference, the skeleton has provided invaluable genetic data for establishing the ancestry of Native Americans. However, the exact date of the burial deposition has been difficult to ascertain. Each of two antler (proba- bly elk) “foreshafts” provided a precise radiocarbon date of ca. 11,040 rcbp (Beta-163832 and Beta-168967), but a date for the child’s rib is 10,780+-40 rcbp (Beta-163833). Tom Stafford has run multiple assays on filtered collagen and separated amino acids from the child, obtaining ages ranging from 10,240+-120 (AA-2978) to 10,940+-90 (AA-2981), with a rejected outlier of 11,550+-60 rcbp. He thinks the most accurate date is 10,705+-35 rcbp (CAMS-80538). The disparity between ages of the artifacts and the child has raised the suspicion that the artifacts might be centuries-old heirlooms, or that the child’s burial was a later intrusion into the artifact cache. We review eyewitness accounts of the accidental discovery of the deposit to show conclusively that the child lay below the artifact concentration and was not intrusive. The body and the artifacts were deposited in a single ceremonial event and the ostensible age disparity requires some other explanation.

Early Paleoindian in Northeastern Minnesota

Susan C. Mulholland and Stephen L Mulholland

Prior to the late 1990s, the commonly held belief was that Early Paleoindian occupations could not possibly exist in Northeastern Minnesota because of the presence of glacial ice. Even though a single Gainey point had been found in the Cloquet River drainage, it was ra- tionalized away as a curated point from elsewhere. Subsequent research in the region has documented an in situ Folsom site, at least two Gainey points, possible Clovis style blade technology at two separate locations, and reclassified a point initially identified as Holcombe-like to Gainey. Everything except one of the blade locations occurs within an ice-free area that extends from east central Minnesota northeast toward Cana- da. This ice-free area is located along the northern edge of the Superior Lobe and south of the Rainy Lobe’s Vermilion Moraine. The Cloquet River flows through much of this ice-free area, providing a potential transportation route from the dense concentration of Early Paleoindian localities documented near Pine City, Minnesota. Since three of the five points and all the blades are of materials that are locally available, sustained occupation of Northeastern Minnesota in Early Paleoindian times is suggested as opposed to a southern origin for the points.



Three Stage Colonization Model for the Peopling of the Americas

Connie Mulligan and Andrew Kitchen

We have proposed a three-stage colonization model for the Americas that integrates genetic data with existing archaeological, geological, and paleoecological data. Our results support a recent, rapid expansion into the Americas ~16kya that was preceded by a long period of population stability and genetic diversification in greater Beringia and occurred after divergence from an ancestral Asian population ~ 40kya. Two areas of discussion have recently emerged with respect to the genetic data. 1) How does choice of a mitochondrial substitution rate influence estimates for an entry date to the Americas and occupation time of Beringia, and which rate is correct? In general, ‘fast’ substitution rates support a post-LGM entry to the Americas and a shorter occupation of Beringia compared to ‘slow’ substitution rates. 2) What is the relation- ship of founder population size and subsequent levels of migration be- tween Asia and the Americas, and what is the correct balance between the two? In general, large founder population/low rates of migration and small founder population/high rates of migration are comparable in terms of the resultant Native American genetic diversity. Our results, in combination with constraints provided by archaeological, geologi- cal and climatological data, support a ‘fast’ substitution rate and large founder population/low rate of migration.

Bioarchaeological Biographies of Ancient Americans

Douglas Owsley

This overview will highlight what the bones reveal about Paleoameri- cans from the western half of the United States. Complete and partial skeletons of approximately 30 individuals dated 8000 RC yr. BP and older have been examined including the Spirit Cave Mummy from Nevada, the Horn Shelter No.2 burials from Texas, San Miguel Man from California, and Kennewick Man from Washington. Detailed information on preservation and taphonomy, demography, bone and dental pathology, and cranial and postcranial measurements have been compiled and analyzed to document the occurrence of traumatic inju- ries, infections, arthritic conditions, oral health, diet, activity patterns and behavior, and population origins and relationships. Although the sample is limited and derived from diverse localities, it provides a foun- dation for reflecting upon the lives of ancient Americans.

Yana RHS Site, the Earliest Occupation of Siberia

Vladimir Pitulko, Pavel Nikolskiy, Aleksandr Basilyan and Elena Pavlova

For years, the initial stage of human habitation within Western Beringia was supposed to be not older than the Late Upper Paleolithic,with firm dates younger than the LGM. Discovery of Yana RHS doubled length of the record of human habitation in NE Asia. Human occupations at Yana site pre-date the LGM and show that the area was inhabited almost 30,000 14C years ago. This is the earliest evidence known in the Arctic. The site yielded a unique evidence for Early Upper Paleolithic culture of this remote part of the world. Fauna remains that come from the site belong to almost all species of the local Late Pleistocene habitat. Reindeer, bison, and horse are most numerous. Three major contexts compose the Yana archaeological complex. Two of them are lithic con- texts called correspondingly “macro tools” (cores, scrapers, large tools) and “micro tools” (small scrapers, chisel-like pieces, backed blades but almost no burins). The third one is presented by well developed bone/ivory industry that includes hunting equipment, sewing tool kit, and other implements. Numerous personal ornaments and decorated artifacts demonstrate highly developed complicated symbolic behav- ior. This article presents the data on geology, radiocarbon dating and artifact collection of the Yana site.

Technology and Economy among the Earliest Prehistoric Foragers in Interior Eastern Beringia

Ben A. Potter, Chuck Holmes and David Yesner

In the past decade, the archaeological record of eastern Interior Beringia (Alaska and Yukon Territory) has seen a transformation in our understanding of the earliest foragers. This presentation focuses on new sites, new data and new interpretations of technology and economy from the region, including emerging models of landscape use and set- tlement systems. Patterns of continuity and discontinuity from adjacent regions (western Beringia and central North America) are evaluated. Clovis ancestors may be present in Beringia, but they are not easily dis- tinguished through material culture patterns. Other avenues of inquiry with different assumptions are needed to understand the anthropolog- ical problem of the colonization of the New World. Recent theoretical approaches incorporating technological organization and behavioral ecology have provided ways to explore this early record.


Climate Reconstruction: Modeling Examples of Rapid Vacillations for the Pre-Clovis and Clovis Eras

Linda Scott Cummings and R. A. Varney

Macrophysical climate modeling creates monthly and annual tem- perature and precipitation charts using century averages for point locations on the landscape. Compilation of these data may be overlain on landscape maps, resulting in display of environmental parameters that would have affected distribution of vegetation and game, and hence people, on the landscape. Vacillation between extremes, which can be seen in the temperature models for this period, suggests the potential for animal population isolation in remote environmental areas. Cre- ating an index of temperature difference identifies time periods likely to have been most risky and provides a tool for examining hypotheses. Changes in seasonal distribution of precipitation also have the potential to dramatically alter vegetation communities, thus introducing new variables in herd distribution and human decision-making. Model out- put can be viewed either as “still” images or aggregated onto landscape maps and viewed at 1 second per century, creating the illusion of ani- mation and producing a valuable tool for examining potential animal and human movement across the landscape.


The First Colonization of South America Eastern Lowlands: Brazilian Archaeological Contributions to Settlement of America Models

Adriana Schmidt Dias and Lucas Bueno

Between 12,000 and 8,000 yrs BP, South America Eastern Lowlands was occupied by a stable and diversified hunter-gatherers population. The predominance of generalist subsistence strategies and the lithic industries regional variability show the limits of classic models for the settlement of America to explain the processes of early colonization of this region. In chronological terms, such diversity involves adaptive strategies referring to initial occupations earlier than those assumed by traditional models. Radiocarbon dating that support this hypothesis were obtained for several archaeological sites in Brazil, but the validity of these data has been questioned, as they concern to isolated contexts with discrete characteristics. Also, by analyzing the geographical dis- tribution of the Brazilian archaeological data for Pleistocene-Holocene transition it can be suggest migration flows with differentiated routes, speeds and shift behaviors. Brazilian archeological and paleoenviron- mental research suggests that the process of initial colonization of the South American Lowlands entailed multiple strategies, including the valleys of large rivers as inland routes. This dynamic of space usage can promote a rapid displacement over long distances, which, in some cas- es, explains the existence of almost contemporary sets of sites with sim- ilar lithic industries and cultural patterns separate by great distances. For Pleistocene-Holocene transition at least two distinct colonization events would have contributed to the original settlement of the eastern portion of South America that actually corresponds to Brazilian territo- ry. A first set of evidences, among 12,000 and 11,000 14C yrs BP, refers to the colonization of the tropical forests and savannahs in northern, central and northeastern Brazil, whose river systems supposedly served as access routes to the continent interior. Interacting with these tropical landscape mosaics, the Itaparica Tradition and Lagoa Santa Complex hunter-gatherers invested in generalist strategies, based on mobility systems supported by vast territories which boundaries were marketed by rock art regional styles. After 11,000 14C yrs BP a second population movement is related to the colonization of South and Southeastern Brazil and is associated to Umbu Tradition. The more moderate climate, without severe seasonal alternation, associated with the expansion of the Atlantic Forest biome in Southern Brazil, contributed to the first attraction of these populations which develop generalist strategies of forest resource exploitation. Its origin probably has a cultural connec- tion to the pioneer populations who colonized the continent’s south- ernmost points, expanding northwards and towards the Atlantic coast, until reaching the transition zone between Atlantic Forest and tropical savannahs. According to this data, the colonization of the current Bra- zilian territory would be at least contemporary to the Clovis horizon, showing, however, quite distinct cultural characteristics, emphatically indicating the existence of continental peopling processes earlier and differentiated than the ones accepted by the classic models.

Tracing Human Movements across Siberia and into the Americas: New Insights from Mitochondrial DNA and Y-Chromosome Data

Theodore G. Schurr

In this paper, I present genetic data from native Siberian and indig- enous populations of North America that help to address questions about the process and timing of the peopling of the Americas. These new genetic data indicate that Eskimoan- and Athapaskan-speaking populations are genetically distinct from one another, as well as each to Amerindian groups, and that the formation of these circumarctic populations was the result of two population expansions that occurred after the initial expansion of settlement of the Americas. Our high-res- olution analysis of Y chromosome haplogroup Q has also reshaped the organization of this lineage, making connections between New World and Old World populations more apparent and demonstrating that southern Altaians and Native Americans share a recent common ances- tor. The data also make clear that Y-chromosomal diversity among the first Native Americans was greater than previously recognized. Overall, these results greatly enhance our understanding of the peopling of Siberia and the Americas from both mtDNA and Y-chromosome perspectives.

Biface Traditions of Northern Alaska and their Role in the Peopling of the Americas

Heather L. Smith, Jeff Rasic, and Ted Goebel

Archaeologists have long looked to Alaska for evidence of the origins of the first Americans, but still no clear Clovis ancestor has been uncov- ered there. In this presentation we review the bifacial-rich traditions of north and northwest Alaska, focusing on new results from two flut- ed-point sites—Serpentine Hot Springs and Raven Bluff, and reviewing earlier work conducted at the Mesa, Sluiceway-Tuluaq, and Nogahabara sites, all thought to potentially date to the terminal Pleistocene. In terms of technology, subsistence, and settlement, these complexes seemingly represent “Paleoindians” in the Arctic; however, none of them (with the possible exception of Sluiceway-Tuluaq) are as old as or older than Clo- vis. More likely they are the product of a northward spread of Paleoin- dian people—or Paleoindian technology—into the Arctic at the very end of the Pleistocene, 13,000-12,000 calendar years ago, simultaneous to the dispersal of temperate North American bison into the north.

Geochronology, Stratigraphy and Taphonomy as the Foundations for Pre-Clovis Research

Thomas W. Stafford, Jr.

Time, followed closely by stratigraphy and taphonomy, are the arbiters of pre-Clovis research. Only 100 years might separate an important Clovis site from a paradigm shifting pre-Clovis discovery. Now that the Clovis-First barrier has been broken, accurate 14C measurements are increasingly crucial to interpreting the peopling of the Americas. With greater geologic age, 14C chronologies are increasingly affected by geological contaminants, decreasing numbers of dateable materials, and chemical decay, especially of vertebrate fossils. Loss of stratigraph- ic integrity and clarity through bioturbation, erosion and geochemical degradation create palimpsests from previously obvious archaeolog- ical records. The absence of large lithics, rare and uncharacteristic microlithics or exclusive use of bone preordains that early sites may go unrecognized and that taphonomy will become increasingly important for differentiating natural versus human-origin sites. These factors demand new approaches to geochronology and geology because pre-11, 000 RC yr records are unlike younger ones. Millime-ter-resolution stratigraphy, genus-level identification of fossils, and molecular-level AMS 14C dating with ±15 yr precisions must replace current dating and excavation techniques. As successive age barriers are broken for first human presence, scientists must acknowledge that ever-older occupations are possible. These principles are described using 14C dating experiments and sites across North America.


The Chesapeake Bifaces: Evidence for an LGM Occupation of the Mid-Atlantic Region of North America?

Dennis Stanford, Darrin Lowery, Margaret Jodry, Bruce Bradley, Marvin Kay and Robert J. Speakman

Mastodon remains dated to 22,760 RCYBP and a bifacial laurel leaf knife were recovered from 250 feet below sea level on the outer conti- nental shelf of Virginia. This paper reports the results of our research concerning this find, and on-going survey of the extensive archaeologi- cal collections of the Smithsonian and other repositories including large private collections that are representative of the Chesapeake Bay water- shed. We have located twelve additional laurel leaf specimens including four found by watermen while working on the continental shelf. This paper also presents data from three upland archeological sites dated to the same time, all suggesting an LGM occupation of Eastern North America.


Pleistocene Extinctions: The State of Evidence and the Structure of Debate

Nicole M. Waguespack

The demise of the Pleistocene megafauna has become a topic of such longstanding and contentious debate that it is difficult to evaluate the merit of causal evidence independent of entrenched argumentative po- sitions. Generally structured around the role humans and climate did or did not play in the extinction event, the generation of new data, which will ultimately contribute to resolution of the issue, also currently serves to perpetuate particular points of dispute. While I have participated in this debate and have advocated for the role of human hunting, I review the current evidence in light of its implications for what is known about the extinction event (i.e., that it was a rapid, widespread event with an inordinate impact on large-bodied fauna during the Late Pleistocene) and its congruence with plausible expectations of the empirical record. Widespread acceptance of any particular cause, be it human, climate, catastrophe, or disease triggered must be consistent with what the archaeological, paleontological, and paleoenvironmental records can provide? not necessarily with what proponents of either side of the debate claim as essential requirements for resolution.

Ancient Genetics as a Means for Understanding Early Peopling of the Americas

Eske Willerslev

Most of our knowledge on the peopling of the Americas comes from classical studies of the archaeological record and modern genetics. An- cient genetic studies represent another and largely unexplored means by which crucial new information can be obtained. However the field of ancient DNA is hammered with pitfalls. In this talk I discuss what DNA studies may and may not be able to tell us about the early human colonization of the New World.

In Search of the First Americans–What the Friedkin Site, Texas, and Manis Site, Washington Tell us About the First Americans

Michael Waters

The Friedkin site, located in central Texas, is a stratified site with Late Prehistoric, Archaic and Paleoindian horizons. The Paleoindian sequence includes Golondrina, Dalton, Midland, Folsom, and Clovis horizons. Beneath the Clovis levels at the site are over 18,000 artifacts including bifaces, blades, bladelets, and other tools dating between 13,500 and 15,500 yr B.P. At the Manis site in northwestern Wash- ington, the tip of a bone projectile point is embedded into the rib of a mastodon dated to 13,800 yr B.P. This evidence, combined with the evidence from other sites as well as human genetic data, provides a new understanding of the late Pleistocene colonization of the Americas and the origins of Clovis.



Tephra Traps and Projectile Points: An Exploration of Volcaniclastic and Cultural Chronologies at Rimrock Draw Rockshelter (35HA3855), Harney County, Oregon, U.S.A.

Janice Bernadette Wood and Patrick Warren O’Grady

Laboratory analyses of samples collected during the 2011-2012 ex- cavations at Rimrock Draw Rockshelter indicate regional eolian and pyroclastic surge materials are collected in “traps” influenced by both mechanical and chemical weathering processes. These tephra accu- mulations range in size from microstratigraphic layers visible only through particle size and geochemical analysis to massive bar deposits of Mazama ash in the stream channel adjacent to the rockshelter. Thus far, identified ash samples include Newberry (1000 RCYBP), Mazama O (6850 RCYBP), and St Helens SG (13,000 RCYBP), the latter collected from buried deposits above fragments of camelid teeth and a chalced- ony flake tool. Trenching of both fluvial and eolian deposits is planned for 2013 to explore the relationship of erosion and deposition processes to the cultural deposits within the rockshelter, and to extract addi- tional tephras toward a more refined tephrachronology of the region. Ash mantled clays within the rockshelter preserve diagnostic artifacts associated with the Western Stemmed tradition; plus overshot flakes, bifaces with overshots, gravers, and fluting flakes that may be associated with fluted point technology. This paper will report the results of tephra analysis on samples collected from both archaeological and geologic deposits, and their relationship to diagnostic projectile points, extinct animal species, and radiocarbon dated features.