Saturday, February 24, 2007

Special Interest in the Clovis People

This week's Science Magazine features (cover) the work of two researchers who have established a slightly later and much briefer span of time for Clovis culture, Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the Peopling of the Americas. It's been all over the news (1)(2)(3).

They were named 'Clovis' because the first discovery and excavation of sites which yielded their characteristic and beautiful tools happened in the late 1920s and early 1930s here in New Mexico. Most archaeologists have believed since then that the Clovis people were the earliest human occupants of North America. But more recently, other workers in the field have been challenging the    view.

Books come out friequently—some of the ones we have are Elaine Dewar's Bones : discovering the first Americans; E. James Dixon's Bones, boats & bison : archeology and the first colonization of western North America; the book by the lead scientist who began excavating at Monte Verde in South America in 1977 and reset the settlement calendar, Tom Dillehay, The settlement of the Americas : a new prehistory; Paul S. Martin's latest salvo in his 40-year campaign to demonstrate both 'Clovis first' and that in less than 1000 years they had peopled the New World and wiped out the large ice-age mammals, Twilight of the mammoths : ice age extinctions and the rewilding of America—to keep us up to date on the latest thinking about the still contentious question of who were the earliest settlers in the New World.

PS. As of Saturday the physical February 23rd issue of Science had not yet arrived; and the electronic version is not yet available. Odds are the magazine will come early this week.

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