Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Humans in the Americas 50,000 years ago?

That is one of the theories to be explored tomorrow night on Time Team America. Check your local PBS listings.


In 1998, archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of South Carolina, while excavating a prehistoric site on the Savannah river in Allendale County, SC, discovered stone implements far deeper in the ground than they had ever encountered before. Subsequent excavations and studies have revealed that ancient humans were present 16,000 or more years ago, some two to three thousand years earlier than previously allowed by textbooks. Known as the Topper Site, it appears to be one of several sites in the eastern U.S. producing evidence that humans were living in the western hemisphere during the last Ice Age.


On July 15th, 2009, Time Team America visits one of the most controversial sites in North America: the Topper site, which is believed by its excavator to contain a 20,000-50,000 year old preclovis site.

Read the review

Waters, Michael R., Steven L. Forman, Thomas W. Stafford Jr., and John Foss 2009 Geoarchaeological Investigations at the Topper and Big Pine Sites, Allendale County, Central Savannah River, South Carolina. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(7):1300-1311. As far as I'm aware, this is the only peer-reviewed paper on Topper published to date. It details the stratigraphy and presents a suite of AMS and thermoluminescence dates for it; but concludes that the human origin of the "smashed core and microliths" preclovis occupation has not been proven.

Populating America: Four Theories

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