Migration to the New World
When did people first appear in North
Where did they come from?
What did they look like?
When did people first appear in
North America?
Part of a larger debated centered around
two issues:
– The traditional, undisputed evidence for the
presence of a fluted point manufacturing
Clovis culture throughout most of the
inhabitable continent between about 13,50012,000 cal. (clovis/short chronology)
– New evidence of sites in Americas dating to
19 and 15 kya. (pre-clovis/long chronology)
Climatological/Migration evidence for
modern Humans in the New World
Earliest modern humans outside Africa ca. 100,000
The last lands to inhabit:
Sumatra and Borneo
before 20,000 B.P. connected by land bridge to SE Asia
People could walk to new areas.
Sea level was much lower because water taken up in polar ice.
Approximately 120 meters lower than at present.
Oldest Australians-35 kya
How did they get there and where did they come from?
Invention of water transport (boats), modern computer
simulations have shown that at certain times of the year it would
take seven days to go from Borneo/Java to Australia/New
Guinea (55 miles of open water).
North America
Peaks of glacial max-lower sea levels
Siberia and Alaska connected by Bering
Land Bridge
Ca. 50,000 ya during the “Happy” interval
of Pleistocene (level 200 ft lower)
Ca. 20,000 ya during the Duvanny Yar
Interval (level 300 ft lower)
Two Conflicting Theories
The antiquity of the earliest Americans is
controversial, much debate
Short Chronology (Clovis)
– No evidence of humans in New World before
12-13 kya.
Long Chronology (Pre-Clovis)
– Humans in many migrations in New World, as
early as 20 kya.
Short Chronology (Clovis)
No evidence of humans in New World before 12-13 kya.
Crossed Bering Land Bridge during last glacial maximum, moved
between major ice sheets-Laurentide (C. Canada), Labrador (E.
Canada), and Cordilleran (W. Canada). All touched at glacial
Ice free areas developed during last periods (20-12 kya) and people
crossed Beringia, following larger herds of bison, Mammoth, and
People carried large spears-Clovis Points and lived in highly mobile
groups traveling rapidly across unglaciated N. America into S.
America in very short period of time. Called the Paleoindians.
Possible that the rapid expansion of humans in conjunction with
warmer climate (ca 10 kya) caused extinction of megafauna in New
Many sites in New World date to this period-Clovis, NM; Blackwater
Draw, NM; Kimmswick, Missouri (clovis and mastodon), Shoop, PA;
Williamson, VA; Debert, Nova Scotia. Hundreds of Clovis points
found isolated in N. Am.
Possible Migration Routes
Bering Land Bridge
Clovis “Fluted” Technology
Long Chronology (Pre-Clovis)
Humans in many migrations in New World, as early as
20 kya.
Smaller groups than indicated by Clovis hypothesis,
largely a wood and bone tool industry. Also chopper and
scraper industry.
Postulated due to recent finds of sites which date to
before 15 kya.
– Meadowcroft Rockshleter, PA (16-19,5 kya) artifacts include
stone blades, scrapers and knives.
– Cactus Hill, VA (17 kya)
– Wilson Butte Cave, Idaho (14,5 kya)
– Most compelling are S. American sites
Flea Cave, Peru 14,7 kya
Pedra Furadarockshleter, Brazil 30-12 kya
Monte Verde, Chile excavated by Tom Dillehay
– One area of site dates to ca. 13 kya houses, preserved by an overlayer
of peat. Wood, bone, skin, meat, botanicals are extremely well
– Ambiguous lower level of three possible cultural features and some
stone tool fragments dated to 33 kya. Affiliation unclear, but more
recent research suggests early dates very compelling.
Meadowcroft Rockshelter
Meadowcroft Rockshelter
Cactus Hill, VA
Monte Verde, Chile
Monte Verde, Chile
Monte Verde, Chile
Monte Verde Culture
Asian-Coastal Western North
Asian-Coastal Western North
Tool found
In coastal Pacific
Atlantic Coastal Route
Clovis vs. Solutrean
Different shapes, but similar technology
Inuit Skin boats
Three wave theory
People came in three waves of migration
– Amerinds (21,000+)
– NaDene (ancestors of Navajo, Apache, and
Dine) (12,000)
– Eskimo-Aleut (6,000)
Evidence for 3-wave
Biological Evidence
Very few skeletal remains dating to this
time period (>9,000 B.P.).
– Browns Valley, Wyoming
– Horn Shelter, Texas
– Hourglass Cave, Colorado
– Spirit Cave, Nevada
– Wizard Beach, Nevada
– Gore Creek, British Columbia
– Kennewick Man, Washington
Evidence for 3-Wave
Genetic research.
mtDNA-mitochondria passed down by
women, shows relationships.
All modern, native americans are
descended from a single group of
But, earlier migrations of people from
Europe could have died out.
Evidence for 3-wave
Linguistic evidence
– Words change gradually but at steady rate
– Comparison of contemporary native languages can
give a time frame for their first divergence, and can
say reconstruct proto-language
Linguistic evidence. Joseph Greenberg
suggested three separate migrations:
– Amerind before 11,000 BP,
– Na-Denes (Athabaskan) ca. 9000 Bp,
– and AleutEskimo about 4000 Bp.
Kennewick Man
9,300 year old skeleton discovered recently on
Columbia river
– Man killed by arrow
– Physically appears Caucasian
– Debate over race and who got here first
Did he represent a race of Europeans who were
killed out or absorbed?
Probably not, but simply the fact that physical
features can change greatly over 9 millennia in
response to a new environment.
Cat Scan
Cascade Point
Kennewick Man or Capt.
Sundadont and Sinodont
Many Europeans
Native Americans
Scientific Comparison
Comparisons of Kennewick skull with world
populations suggest he looks most like the Ainu.
A sea hunting, fishing and trading people who
are still centered on Hokkaido, the northern
island of Japan.
Kennewick not the only one:
Spirit Cave Man ca. 9,100 BP.
Native American Position
Have been here “forever”
Emerged from earth or were dropped
down from sky by creator
Bering Strait is a White Man’s myth
All human remains predating Europeans
are Native American

Migration to the New World