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Refuting the technological cornerstone of the Ice-Age Atlantic crossing hypothesis

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... The production of Clovis points from small flakes is increasingly recognized by Paleoindian lithic analysts (e.g. Eren et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2017;Morrow, 1995;Smallwood, 2010;Wernick, 2015). There are three minor step fractures present on the artifact, one resulting from an overface flake (Smallwood, 2010;Eren et al. 2013Eren et al. , 2014) that traveled across the face of the biface, cutting into the original ventral surface of the flake on which the biface was made. ...
... Eren et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2017;Morrow, 1995;Smallwood, 2010;Wernick, 2015). There are three minor step fractures present on the artifact, one resulting from an overface flake (Smallwood, 2010;Eren et al. 2013Eren et al. , 2014) that traveled across the face of the biface, cutting into the original ventral surface of the flake on which the biface was made. Two small flake scars on the biface's proximal, snapped surface are likely post-depositional given their color difference from the overall exterior patina (Fig. 5). ...
... The large flake's ( Fig. 7) toolstone macroscopically appears consistent with Ohio Flint Ridge chalcedony, the principle source of which is 148 linear km (215 km least-cost path) from the JFC site ( Fig. 2). While this distance may appear long for the transport of a single flake, the transport of large flakes is a behavior typical of Clovis foragers in Ohio and the Great Lakes (Eren et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2017), and indeed a single large flake made from Wyandotte chert was recovered from the Sheriden Cave Clovis site in western Ohio after being transported over 400 linear km from its source area in southern Indiana and Western Kentucky (Redmond and Tankersley, 2005). However, unlike the Sheriden Cave large flake, the large flake from the JFC site may very well be a primary flake removal from a core or nodule given the "natural", non-flaked surfaces present on its dorsal face (Fig. 7). ...
... Clovis research trends over the past two decades remain focused on searching for evidence, and the cultural origins, of Clovis technology. The dissemination of proposed hypotheses, investigations, as well as replies and rebuttals provide intellectual forage that draw lively and bitter debate on the subject (Bradley and Stanford 2004;Curry 2012;Eren, et al. 2013;Haynes, et al. 2007Lohse, et al. 2014a;Morrow, et al. 2012;O'Brien, et al. 2014a;Oppenheimer, et al. 2014;Rasmussen, et al. 2014;Stanford and Bradley 2002;Straus 2000;Straus, et al. 2005;Waters, et al. 2011b;Waters and Stafford 2007). ...
... alternative theories of migration and colonization of the New World (see Stanford and Bradley 2012), have effectively stimulated new research directions and dynamic debate (Eren, et al. 2013;Eren, et al. 2015;Lohse, et al. 2014a;Morrow, et al. 2012;Waters, et al. 2011b;Straus, et al. 2005). ...
... It has been accepted that Clovis intentional overshot flaking is a technique known to occur during all phases of Clovis biface production, and the flakes vary in size and proportions (Bradley, et al. 2010:68). However, some consider it a flaking disaster or common mistake produced by all knappers (Bordes 1968:42;Callahan 1979;Eren, et al., 2013;Sellet 2015;Whittaker 1994:163). ...
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This research examines the technology behind Clovis biface production from Clovis manufacturing areas at the Gault Site, Texas,(41BL323), with specific focus on flake striking platform preparation traits. Lithic analysts agree that platform bearing flakes retain clues into knapping technologies (Andrefsky 2005:86). Clovis experts agree that Clovis knappers invested effort before removing flakes by preparing platforms (Bradley, et al.2010:66; Morrow 1995) for exerting control during biface manufacture, including mastering control of overshot flaking (Bradley 2010:466). Evidence shows that Clovis knappers were highly skilled in their craft and preferred high quality raw materials to manufacture their tools and frequently produced overshot flakes. While basic manufacturing traits are present, Clovis represents a complex bifacial reduction technology (Bradley, et al. 2010:64). The data here elucidates differences in the application of reduction techniques used by Clovis. These data reveal no set pattern in the application of platform preparation traits used by Clovis knappers, but identified trends in the use of preparing platforms in flake types and phases that highlight Clovis biface reduction sequences, which may have followed a systematic ‘template.’ Therefore, a consistent approach may have been used to produce Clovis bifaces, but individual platform preparation traits were not. In addition to this study, a supplemental study was conducted concerning the intentionality of Clovis overshot flaking. This separate study revealed these flakes regularly exhibit the removal of stacks, hinges, deep flake scars and other error traits. As such, overshot flakes were a technique that served a dual purpose of removing errors while simultaneously thinning the biface. This research has contributed to a greater understanding of Clovis biface technology reduction processes and flake removal techniques used at the Gault Site.
... It is therefore important to acknowledge that, apart from perhaps fluting, no one single technological characteristic can be considered diagnostic of early Paleoindian biface manufacture. In fact, recent research has shown that prior reliance on single traits such as overshot flaking to assess the age of caches is no longer a sufficiently robust analytical approach (Eren et al. 2013(Eren et al. , 2015Smallwood 2010). Nevertheless, as Muniz (2014) demonstrates in his analysis of the Mahaffe cache, the presence of multiple different technological characteristics does still seem to be an effective strategy for identifying potential early Paleoindian caches. ...
... This was long thought to represent a distinctive thinning strategy employed by Clovis flint knappers (Bradley et al. 2010:68-76), but has subsequently been identified as a biface thinning strategy in later prehistoric contexts (Muniz 2014:118-119), which means that the role in bifacial thinning is clearly not just restricted to Clovis. Similarly, Eren et al. (2013) have observed that true overshot flaking, with the flake removing part of the opposite bifacial edge, may actually be evidence of knapping errors. In practice, many flake removals during thinning travel across the face of the biface to terminate near (but not over) the edge of the biface and such flake removals are often counted as examples of overshot flaking. ...
... In other cases, edge trimming makes it impossible to distinguish between these successful "overface" thinning flakes and the "overshot" flakes done in error. As a consequence, there is growing use of the term "overface" flaking to acknowledge the use of thinning flakes traveling across the midline of the biface, whether they have overshot the biface edge or not (Eren et al. 2013;Muniz 2014;Smallwood 2010). In this respect, overface flaking is seen to be an important part of early Paleoindian bifacial thinning techniques (Huckell 2014;Smallwood 2010), even though it may not be exclusively an early Paleoindian technological signature (Muniz 2014:118-119). ...
Article
Biface caches may be one of the most distinctive and enigmatic aspects of Paleoindian behavior. Here we contribute to discussion of this phenomenon by presenting an analysis and interpretation of a heretofore unreported biface cache, consisting of 24 ovate bifaces and a single large flake blank, documented in 1981 from the Round Lake locality (20-CL-227), Clinton County, Michigan, USA. Analysis of metric and non-metric attributes support an interpretation that the cached bifaces are, more probable than not, early Paleoindian in age, and are most likely attributable to the Gainey fluted point phase (ca. 11,500-10,800 14C BP). Moreover, the cache is distinguished by a high degree of standardization, and represents the same intentional point in the chaine opératoire of fluted biface manufacture, suggesting production by a single individual. As a necessary complement to our technological analysis of the cache, we situate our interpretation of the Round Lake cache within the broader regional context of Great Lakes Paleoindian behavior.
... The production of Clovis points from small flakes is increasingly recognized by Paleoindian lithic analysts (e.g. Eren et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2017;Morrow, 1995;Smallwood, 2010;Wernick, 2015). There are three minor step fractures present on the artifact, one resulting from an overface flake (Smallwood, 2010;Eren et al. 2013Eren et al. , 2014) that traveled across the face of the biface, cutting into the original ventral surface of the flake on which the biface was made. ...
... Eren et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2017;Morrow, 1995;Smallwood, 2010;Wernick, 2015). There are three minor step fractures present on the artifact, one resulting from an overface flake (Smallwood, 2010;Eren et al. 2013Eren et al. , 2014) that traveled across the face of the biface, cutting into the original ventral surface of the flake on which the biface was made. Two small flake scars on the biface's proximal, snapped surface are likely post-depositional given their color difference from the overall exterior patina (Fig. 5). ...
... The large flake's ( Fig. 7) toolstone macroscopically appears consistent with Ohio Flint Ridge chalcedony, the principle source of which is 148 linear km (215 km least-cost path) from the JFC site ( Fig. 2). While this distance may appear long for the transport of a single flake, the transport of large flakes is a behavior typical of Clovis foragers in Ohio and the Great Lakes (Eren et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2017), and indeed a single large flake made from Wyandotte chert was recovered from the Sheriden Cave Clovis site in western Ohio after being transported over 400 linear km from its source area in southern Indiana and Western Kentucky (Redmond and Tankersley, 2005). However, unlike the Sheriden Cave large flake, the large flake from the JFC site may very well be a primary flake removal from a core or nodule given the "natural", non-flaked surfaces present on its dorsal face (Fig. 7). ...
Article
Description and microwear analysis of Clovis artifacts on a glacially-deposited secondary chert source near the Hartley Mastodon discovery, Columbiana County, Northeastern Ohio, U.S.A. a b s t r a c t Five Clovis lithic artifacts were found in a plowed farm field just north of an unnamed tributary of the Mahoning River, Columbiana County, Northeast Ohio, approximately 700 m northeast of the Hartley Mastodon discovery. These artifacts include the base of a Clovis fluted projectile point, a preform base with a prepared fluting " nipple " , a large flake, a biface tip, and a biface mid-section. We present here basic artifact morphometrics; observations involving stone tool raw material, production, and discard; microwear analysis; and stone-source-to-site straight-line and least-cost distances. Overall, our results are relevant to two discussion points. First, there is currently no strong evidence linking the five Clovis stone tools to the Hartley Mastodon. Second, the area in which the five artifacts were found would have been attractive to Clovis Paleoindians for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that the immediate area is a glacially-deposited secondary chert source.
... The original dorsal surface of that flake may also be evidenced by flake scars on the alternative face that are parallel to the biface medial axis (Fig. 5). The production of Clovis points from small flakes is increasingly recognized by Paleoindian lithic analysts (e.g.Eren et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2017;Morrow, 1995;Smallwood, 2010;Wernick, 2015). There are three minor step fractures present on the artifact, one resulting from an overface flake (Smallwood, 2010;Eren et al. 2013Eren et al. , 2014) that traveled across the face of the biface, cutting into the original ventral surface of the flake on which the biface was made. ...
... The production of Clovis points from small flakes is increasingly recognized by Paleoindian lithic analysts (e.g.Eren et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2017;Morrow, 1995;Smallwood, 2010;Wernick, 2015). There are three minor step fractures present on the artifact, one resulting from an overface flake (Smallwood, 2010;Eren et al. 2013Eren et al. , 2014) that traveled across the face of the biface, cutting into the original ventral surface of the flake on which the biface was made. Two small flake scars on the biface's proximal, snapped surface are likely post-depositional given their color difference from the overall exterior patina (Fig. 5). ...
... The large flake's (Fig. 7) toolstone macroscopically appears consistent with Ohio Flint Ridge chalcedony, the principle source of which is 148 linear km (215 km least-cost path) from the JFC site (Fig. 2). While this distance may appear long for the transport of a single flake, the transport of large flakes is a behavior typical of Clovis foragers in Ohio and the Great Lakes (Eren et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2017), and indeed a single large flake made from Wyandotte chert was recovered from the Sheriden Cave Clovis site in western Ohio after being transported over 400 linear km from its source area in southern Indiana and Western Kentucky (Redmond and Tankersley, 2005). However, unlike the Sheriden Cave large flake, the large flake from the JFC site may very well be a primary flake removal from a core or nodule given the " natural " , non-flaked surfaces present on its dorsal face (Fig. 7). ...
Article
Five Clovis lithic artifacts were found in a plowed farm field just north of an unnamed tributary of the Mahoning River, Columbiana County, Northeast Ohio, approximately 700 m northeast of the Hartley Mastodon discovery. These artifacts include the base of a Clovis fluted projectile point, a preform base with a prepared fluting “nipple”, a large flake, a biface tip, and a biface mid-section. We present here basic artifact morphometrics; observations involving stone tool raw material, production, and discard; microwear analysis; and stone-source-to-site straight-line and least-cost distances. Overall, our results are relevant to two discussion points. First, there is currently no strong evidence linking the five Clovis stone tools to the Hartley Mastodon. Second, the area in which the five artifacts were found would have been attractive to Clovis Paleoindians for a variety of reasons, not least of which is that the immediate area is a glacially-deposited secondary chert source.
... There is an on-going debate as to whether or not ancient knappers used overshot flaking intentionally in the manufacture of bifaces. This has been asserted (Bradley et al. 2010: 68-71), rebutted (Eren et al. 2013(Eren et al. : 2934(Eren et al. -2941 which itself was challenged (Lohse et al. 2014: 46-64). While this issue may seem to be obscurely technical, the existence (or not) of overshot flaking being systematically employed in reduction strategies has been used as one (of many) criteria to make assertions about historical connections between two separate Palaeolithic archaeological cultures; Solutrean [LGM Basque refugium] and Clovis [Younger Dryas North America] (Stanford & Bradley 2012: 12). ...
... The archaeological record speaks to the presence of the use of this technique in Solutrean (Aubry et al. 2008: 58-60) and Clovis (Bradley et al. 2012: 49;Eren et al. 2011 ) (see supplemental information -PDF -DOC) but is this evidence enough to confidently say that the overshot technique was intentional? Eren et al. (2013Eren et al. ( : 2934Eren et al. ( -2941 used an experimental method to investigate this question (see Lohse et al. 2014 for a critique of the experiment). Their only focus was on whether or not overshot flaking was an optimal thinning method. ...
... However, if these circumstances occurred too frequently, it is unlikely that knappers would continue to use the method, at least for reasons of effectiveness or efficiency. Indeed, the training and practice needed to attain a high level of proficiency in overshot flaking, based on personal experience and acknowledged by Eren et al. (2013Eren et al. ( : 2938, would argue against its adoption and innovation. One could also use the same argument to explain why the method was not innovated in numerous other biface thinning technologies and why it disappeared after Solutrean and Clovis. ...
Article
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Understanding flaking technologies has become an important aspect for flaked stone analyses and interpretations. Experiments are increasingly being used to investigate aspects of technology. One of these aspects is the existence of a technique known as overshot flaking. While most researchers recognize that it happened some assert that it was an intentional technique unique to Solutrean and Clovis archaeological cultures. Others have disputed this assertion and have concluded that it was not a useful technique and therefore unintentional. This small study experimentally examines two reduction sequences that employed intentional overshot flaking and evaluates its usefulness. The conclusion is that it is a useful technique, for a number of reasons, and that it was intentionally employed in some past biface production strategies.
... Humans often converge on similar solutions to similar problems, without cultural transmission. Convergence in stone tool form and reduction strategies has been documented across the world for many time periods (e.g., Kuhn and Zwyns, 2018;Clarkson , et al., 2018;Will , et al., 2015;Sharon, 2019;Eren , et al., 2018;Wilkins, 2018;Lycett, 2009;Eren , et al., 2013;Jennings and Smallwood, 2018;Adler , et al., 2014), and convergent evolutionary processes in lithic technology are receiving increasingly more attention from methodological and theoretical perspectives Groucutt, 2020). ...
... The argument is based on the observation that their characteristic bifacial points were produced using similar reduction strategies (Stanford and Bradley, 2012;Lohse , et al., 2014). However, one of the components of this strategy, the removal of overshot thinning flakes, has been argued to be unintentional and occurring in different frequencies between the two assemblages, problematizing the proposed Clovis-Solutrean connection (Eren , et al., 2013(Eren , et al., , 2014. ...
Article
Full-text available
Learner-driven innovation in the stone tool technology of early Homo sapiens - Jayne Wilkins
... Despite disagreement over the existence, extent, and essence of "pre-Clovis" or "older-than-Clovis" peoples of North America (e.g. Adovasio & Page, 2002;Collins et al., 2013;Eren et al., 2013aEren et al., , 2014bEren et al., , 2015bFiedel, 2013;Halligan et al., 2016;Jenkins et al., 2012;Jennings & Waters, 2014;Meltzer, 2009;Morrow et al., 2012;O'Brien et al., 2014;Poinar et al., 2009;Sistiaga et al., 2014;Waters et al., 2011aWaters et al., , 2011b, the lack of fluted lanceolate stone points in the Old World suggests that the Clovis point probably emerged in the New World. If true, this suggests that there was at least a small "pre-Clovis" population present to innovate "the first American invention" before carrying or transferring it across the continent Goebel et al., 2008;Krieger, 1954;Meltzer, 2009;Waters & Stafford, 2007). ...
... Early stages of Clovis point manufacture used percussion flaking to strike well prepared, ground, isolated, and projected platforms (Bradley et al., 2010) to remove "overface" flakes (Smallwood, 2010), which are flakes that travel past the midline of the specimen and are the most efficient way to thin a stone biface (and occasionally result in overshot flake mistakes, see Eren et al., 2013aEren et al., , 2014b. Additionally, these large overface flakes could themselves be turned into small points or other tools (Deller & Ellis, 2010;Ellis, 2008;Eren, 2013;Prasciunas, 2007;Surovell, 2009;Wernick, 2015;Wilmsen, 1970). ...
Article
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In Late Pleistocene North America colonizing hunter-gatherers knapped and used Clovis fluted projectile points. During their expansion the size and shape of Clovis points changed significantly. Archaeologists know that cultural drift contributed to this variation, but is it possible that this single source could alone generate so much variation so quickly? We present the first of several experimental studies exploring whether Clovis size and shape variation results in performance differences, focusing here on how deeply different Clovis point forms penetrate a target. Our ballistics experiment demonstrates that seven different Clovis point forms penetrated the same target with different effectiveness. Even after tip cross-sectional perimeter is accounted for, there are significant differences in penetration depths between two of the point types. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that Clovis people in different times and places may have chosen specific attributes to provide them with a selective functional advantage.
... The reactions of many professional archaeologists in both North America and Europe have ranged from skeptical to dismissive (e.g., Eren et al., 2013;Goebel, 2004;Kornfeld and Tabarev, 2009;Meltzer, 2002Meltzer, , 2004O'Brien et al., 2014a;Straus, 2000a;Straus et al., 2005). Lawrence Straus, to whom this volume is dedicated, has been a consistent critic of the Solutrean hypothesis and points out that in addition to the large temporal gap between the two cultures, there is no evidence for seal hunting, deep sea fishing, or even boats at Solutrean sites. ...
... A further problem is that the pre-Clovis assemblages that are proposed to fill the temporal gap between Solutrean and Clovis do not actually look very much like either (Straus et al., 2005;also O'Brien et al., 2014a). Bradley (2012, also Bradley andStanford, 2006) appeal to overshot flaking to clinch the technological connection among them; however, despite their assertions, systematic overshot flaking does not appear to be present in any of the putative pre-Clovis assemblages (O'Brien et al., 2014a;Eren et al., 2013). An apparent trend in the criticism of the Solutrean hypothesis is that Stanford and Bradley overstate the similarities between Solutrean and Clovis, and understate the dissimilarities between Solutrean and Clovis and between them and the "missing links." ...
Article
The “Solutrean hypothesis” for the origins of the North American Clovis Culture posits that early North American colonizers were direct descendants of European populations that migrated across the North Atlantic during the European Upper Paleolithic. The evidential basis for this model rests largely on proposed technological and behavioral similarities shared by the North American Clovis archaeological culture and the French and Iberian Solutrean archaeological culture. The caching of stone tools by both cultures is one of the specific behavioral correlates put forth by proponents in support of the hypothesis. While more than two dozen Clovis caches have been identified, Volgu is the only Solutrean cache identified at this time. Volgu consists of at least 15 exquisitely manufactured bifacial stone tools interpreted as an artifact cache or ritual deposit, and the artifacts themselves have long been considered exemplary of the most refined Solutrean bifacial technology. This paper reports the results of applying methods developed for the comparative analysis of the relatively more abundant caches of Clovis materials in North America to this apparently singular Solutrean cache. In addition to providing a window into Solutrean technology and perhaps into Upper Paleolithic ritual behavior, this comparison of Clovis and Solutrean assemblages serves to test one of the tangible archaeological implications of the “Solutrean hypothesis” by evaluating the technological and behavioral equivalence of Solutrean and Clovis artifact caching. The hypothesized historical connection is evaluated based on the attributes of the caches themselves, the evidence for geographic and temporal continuity in caching between the two cultures, and the proposed uniqueness of this behavior to Solutrean and Clovis. Results from the comparison of Volgu to Clovis caches indicate that they are divergent with regard to a number of important attributes and appear to represent neither equivalent behaviors nor a historical connection.
... To explore fluting variation and consider how the role of fluting changed over time, we compare assemblages of Clovis and Dalton pointspoint forms representing the emergence and spread of fluting and the eventual decline of the production technique in eastern North America. Clovis sites are identified by a suite of diagnostic technological characteristics (Bradley et al. 2010;Eren and Buchanan 2016;Eren et al. 2013;Jennings and Smallwood 2019;Jennings and Waters 2014;Meltzer 2009;Morrow et al. 2012;Smallwood 2010Smallwood , 2012Waters et al. 2011; but for debate about Clovis diagnostics, see Eren et al. 2018Eren et al. , 2021Huckell et al. 2019). Clovis points are bifacial, lanceolate, and fluted-most commonly on both faces (Figure 1). ...
Article
Full-text available
Fluting is a technological and morphological hallmark of some of the most iconic North American Paleoindian stone points. Through decades of detailed artifact analyses and replication experiments, archaeologists have spent considerable effort reconstructing how flute removals were achieved, and they have explored possible explanations of why fluting was such an important aspect of early point technologies. However, the end of fluting has been less thoroughly researched. In southern North America, fluting is recognized as a diagnostic characteristic of Clovis points dating to approximately 13,000 cal yr BP, the earliest widespread use of fluting. One thousand years later, fluting occurs more variably in Dalton and is no longer useful as a diagnostic indicator. How did fluting change, and why did point makers eventually abandon fluting? In this article, we use traditional 2D measurements, geometric morphometric (GM) analysis of 3D models, and 2D GM of flute cross sections to compare Clovis and Dalton point flute and basal morphologies. The significant differences observed show that fluting in Clovis was highly standardized, suggesting that fluting may have functioned to improve projectile durability. Because Dalton points were used increasingly as knives and other types of tools, maximizing projectile functionality became less important. We propose that fluting in Dalton is a vestigial technological trait retained beyond its original functional usefulness.
... While this specimen could be Paleoindian in origin, we cannot make a definitive conclusion on its temporal or cultural affiliation. It possesses several overface scars and one overshot scar at its distal end (Smallwood, 2010;Eren et al., 2013Eren et al., , 2014. One blade edge exhibits grinding, suggesting some sort of platform preparation. ...
Article
Five flaked stone artifacts from the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene periods of North America were discovered by a collector in Christian County, Kentucky. These artifacts include a Clovis projectile point, a Cumberland preform, a biface, a prismatic blade core, and a St. Charles projectile point base. All specimens were made from material macroscopically consistent with Ste. Genevieve chert. We present here descriptions, morphometrics, and microwear analyses of this collection. Given that the artifacts discussed here are a rather heterogeneous collection of items, we conclude the report with a discussion of the utility we feel the publication of small artifact sets provides the field of archaeology.
... Although North American archaeologists place a great deal of confidence in the temporal and cultural designations indicated by projectile point types, these types, and the production techniques to manufacture them, may not be as unique to particular times or places as once thought (e.g. Boulanger and Eren, 2015;Bradley, 2009;Eren et al., 2013Eren et al., , 2014Muñiz, 2014;Sellet, 2015). One reason for this realization is the increased awareness in recent years of evolutionary convergence and its role in the appearance and geo-temporal distribution of lithic tool forms (Adler et al., 2014;Bentley, 2018;Charbonneau, 2018;Charlin and Cardillo, 2018;Charpentier, 2003;Charpentier et al., 2002;Clarkson et al., 2018;Crassard and Petraglia, 2014;Davis and Willis, 2018;Eren et al., 2018;Jennings and Smallwood, 2018;Kuhn and Zwyns, 2018;Lycett, 2009Lycett, , 2011McGhee, 2018;O'Brien et al., 2014aO'Brien et al., , 2014bO'Brien et al., , 2018aO'Brien et al., , 2018bStraus, 2002;Straus et al., 2005;Wang et al., 2012;Wilkins, 2018;Will et al., 2015). ...
... Notably, some of the participants exceed this technological capability by a considerable margin and are known to demonstrate expertise within a variety of stone tool replication conditions (e.g. Eren et al., 2013;Winton, 2005). Descriptive data for individual participants are presented in Table 1. ...
... Such advancements have revealed that the adaptive and evolutionary processes of these early colonizers were much more varied than initially thought, particularly with respect to tool use, diet, and social complexity (e.g., Dillehay et al., 2008Dillehay et al., , 2015Eggers et al., 2011;Erlandson et al., 2015l;Halffman et al., 2015;Strauss et al., 2015b). Despite these advancements, the timing of entry and dispersal routes of the first Americans continue to generate considerable debate among scholars (e.g., de Azevedo et al., 2011;Chatters et al., 2014;Eren et al., 2013;Halligan et al., 2016;Heintzman et al., 2016;Hubbe et al., 2015a;Jackson et al., 2014;Stanford and Bradley, 2012; see also Borrero, 2016). Archaeological and genetic data from both hemispheres indicate that people first dispersed from Asia into the Americas sometime between 20,000 and 14,000 years BP, although agreements on these dates and the number of migrations are far from unanimous (e.g., Schurr and Sherry, 2004; also see Dillehay, 2009 andPolitis et al., 2015 for summaries). ...
Article
South American populations have played a critical role in elucidating the timing, origin, and migration routes of the first Americans. Among the ongoing debates surrounding the peopling of South America, there has been a great deal of focus on the cranial shape of prehistoric populations on this continent, which some researchers have described as having two distinct forms. The cranial shape of early Holocene Paleoamericans, which predate approximately 8000 years BP, has been categorized as dolichocephalic (long-headed), while late Holocene populations have been generally described as brachycephalic (round-headed), despite more recent assessments that examine variation with a higher level of precision. Although more detailed analytical approaches to investigating craniofacial variation are available, researchers still categorize South American crania as having these two head shapes. These distinctions in head shape have been used to infer multiple origin models, some of which contend that the dolichocephalic population was biologically distinct and later replaced by brachycephalic individuals. In contrast, genetic studies infer a common ancestral origin among all prehistoric South American populations. Given discrepancies between genetic and cranial data, our study tests the hypothesis that Holocene populations consist of two cranial morphologies that coincide with the early and late Holocene periods. Using high-resolution 3D models generated from a laser surface scanner, cranial indices for 95 individuals from western South America dating from the Early, Middle, and Late periods were analyzed, most of which have been excluded from cranial assessments in South America. Our results show that the majority of crania analyzed in this study have an intermediate (mesocephalic) head shape, spatiotemporal variability, and no clear transition from dolichocephaly to brachycephaly during the Holocene. By re-examining the relevance of these categories that are determined through the calculation of the cranial index, and general morphological descriptions (long and narrow or short and wide skulls) that coincide with them, our research offers valuable insight into the ongoing debates centered on the colonization of South America. Given our results, we propose that caution should be used when referring to the terms “dolichocephalic” and “brachycephalic” head shapes and the general morphological descriptions for these terms to categorize early and late Holocene South American populations.
... Some authors suggest that overshot flaking is a controlled, intentional and specialized bifacial knapping technique, very difficult to master; also, it is further suggested as a marker of Clovis biface technology (Collins, 2002;Stanford, 2004, 2006;Bradley et al., 2010;Waters et al., 2011). Other researchers question the intentionality and control of this technique of bifacial knapping, suggesting that overshot flaking is the product of technical errors during the process of bifacial thinning (Callahan, 1979;Straus et al., 2005;Eren et al., 2013Eren et al., , 2014. ...
Article
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This paper presents new data on the initial settlement of the southeastern region of South America, based on recent research conducted at the Tigre archaeological site (K87), located in the middle Uruguay River basin, near the Uruguayan border with Brazil and Argentina. The current archaeological excavations carried out in this open-air site confirmed that it is a multicomponent site. A new series of 20 radio-carbon dates refined the chronology of recurrent human occupations at this site during the late Pleis-tocene (13,260 cal BP), the Pleistocene-Holocene transition (12,920e11,750 cal BP), the early Holocene (11,300e9300 cal BP), and the late Holocene (1180 cal BP), demonstrating the strategic importance of this site during the prehistory of the region. In this paper, we describe the archaeological and stratigraphic contexts of the site, and analyze the artifact assemblage of the early components. Tigre points recovered from the archaeological excavations confirm that this is a Paleoamerican point design that circulated in the region between 12,000e11,100 cal BP. In addition, associated with these points, bifaces, fractured preforms and a type of asymmetric biface with a crescent/half moon shape were recovered. These " crescent artifacts " show a high standardization in form, size and knapping technique, which is described in this paper. Finally, we discuss the geographic distribution of the Tigre points, the blade technology present in the Uruguay River basin, the presence of prestige artifacts during the settlement, and the chronology of the " Umbu tradition " of southern Brazil in relation to the previous and recent data obtained in the Tigre site.
... Overshot flaking is a method of thinning a bifacially flaked tool during manufacture, in which flakes struck from prepared edges of the tool travel across the face and remove part of the opposite margin. Experimental data demonstrate that the most parsimonious explanation for the production of overshot flakes is that they are accidental products created incidentally and inconsistently as knappers' attempts to thin bifaces [122]. Accidents or not, overshot flakes show up in Clovis assemblages, albeit in relatively low frequencies, and are often used to mark an assemblage as being Clovis in age. ...
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The timing of human entrance into North America has been a topic of debate that dates back to the late 19th century. Central to the modern discussion is not whether late Pleistocene-age populations were present on the continent, but the timing of their arrival. Key to the debate is the age of tools—bone rods, large prismatic stone blades, and bifacially chipped and fluted stone weapon tips—often found associated with the remains of late Pleistocene fauna. For decades, it was assumed that this techno-complex—termed “Clovis”—was left by the first humans in North America, who, by 11,000–12,000 years ago, made their way eastward across the Bering Land Bridge, or Beringia, and then turned south through a corridor that ran between the Cordilleran and Laurentide ice sheets, which blanketed the northern half of the continent. That scenario has been challenged by more-recent archaeological and archaeogenetic data that suggest populations entered North America as much as 15,300–14,300 years ago and moved south along the Pacific Coast and/or through the ice-free corridor, which apparently was open several thousand years earlier than initially thought. Evidence indicates that Clovis might date as early as 13,400 years ago, which means that it was not the first technology in North America. Given the lack of fluted projectile points in the Old World, it appears certain that the Clovis techno-complex, or at least major components of it, emerged in the New World.
... Estas teorías han suscitado, por otro lado, numerosos debates (B. Bradley & Stanford, 2006;Eren et al., 2013Eren et al., , 2018Eren et al., , 2021Kilby, 2019;Lohse et al., 2014;O'Brien et al., 2014;Straus et al., 2005), llegando a ser un tema extremadamente controvertido que, aún hoy en día no llega a estar resuelto, siendo un aspecto de continua tensión entre los investigadores y, especialmente, entre corrientes absolutamente contrapuestas y enfrentadas. ...
... In particular, Patten substantially helped distinguish between, and characterize, "flintknapping as test" versus "flintknapping as model," likely because he had contributed towards both of these categories previously, although they had not yet been explicitly defined. For example, using flintknapping as a test, Patten contributed to the testing of whether overshot flakes are the most efficient means for thinning a biface (Eren, Patten, O'Brien, & Meltzer, 2013. ...
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Robert J. Patten passed away suddenly on February 8, 2017. His influence on flintknapping, lithic technology, and archaeology, however, continues on. Here, we review Patten’s life and myriad contributions.
... The technological similarities in stone tool production between Clovis and the Solutrean period are well documented, but whether or not this similarity represents a technological and/or genetic relationship Stanford 2004, 2006;Bradley 2002, 2012), or merely technological convergence (Eren et al. 2013;O'Brien et al. 2014;Straus 2000;Straus, Meltzer, and Goebel 2005;Westley and Dix 2008) is widely debated. It remains a hypothesis to be tested. ...
Article
Substantial archaeological and genetic data suggest that the initial occupation of the Americas is more complex and diverse than previously thought. As evidence for multiple patterns and/or adaptive strategies in distinct areas of the western hemisphere emerge, the terminology remains incoherent. Most terms are applied arbitrarily, incorporate “Clovis,” or refer only to single populations and not the chronological period. We argue for inclusion of “Upper Paleolithic” to any reference terminology concerning the Last Glacial Maximum occupations of the Americas. Using archaeological and genetic data as a benchmark, we assess the current chronology of this period and discuss the parallels between Old and New World technologies. We argue that the patterns in the Americas are rooted in the Old World and this term provides a connection to global archaeological patterns. The term “Upper Paleolithic” should be adopted as a terminological and chronological marker for the earliest human occupation of the Americas.
... However, those same scholars also argue that this technique was used because it is an efficient and effective way to thin bifaces. This is surely strong grounds for convergent evolution in two populations producing small and finely shaped bifacial objects, particularly when the technique was actually rarely used (Eren et al. 2013(Eren et al. , 2014. ...
Chapter
Nubian Levallois' lithic technology has been found from South Africa to India, it occurs sporadically over a period of more than two hundred thousand years, and it appears to be associated with at least two hominin species. Despite this, proponents of the 'Nubian Complex' argue that this technocomplex-often, but not exclusively, defined by the presence of Nubian Levallois technology-offers a strong culture historical signal. This argument claims that the Nubian Complex is an originally Northeast African entity, dating to Marine Isotope Stage 5, and that by tracing the distribution of Nubian Levallois technology it is possible to trace the spread of Homo sapiens from Northeast Africa. In light of these bold claims, it is important to test the reality and usefulness of the Nubian Complex idea. In this paper I review the history of the Nubian Complex, evaluate sites assigned to it, and consider the characteristics and significance of Nubian Levallois technology. This review suggests that the original reasons for defining the Nubian Complex were flawed, definitions of it are overly-variable and inconsistent, and that the concept is driving misleading models that are actively harming interpretations of the record. It should therefore be abandoned. Perhaps the most telling criticism of the Nubian Complex is that even its proponents do not agree on which sites should be included (e.g. Bir Tarfawi). I explore the possibility that Nubian Levallois technology-which should be disentangled from the culture-historical concept of the 'Nubian Complex'-represents a case of convergent evolution and identify avenues for future research. This reorientation facilitates insights into the behavioral significance of Nubian Levallois technology, in terms of factors such as standardization and mobility strategies.
... It is much more likely that superficial similarities -particularly 'overshot flaking' -reflect convergent evolution due to similar technological repertoires (bifacial flaking) (e.g. Eren et al. 2013Eren et al. , 2014. Other examples that many archaeologists would accept as representing convergent evolution include the origin of Levallois technology (e.g. ...
Chapter
The themes explored in this book revolve around the related areas of convergent (independent) evolution of particular forms of material culture, the notion and recognition of populations in prehistory, and issues of taxonomy (such as ‘technocomplexes’ and ‘industries’) that archaeologists debate as the subject moves (generally) beyond culture-historical interpretations. Another recent volume explored convergent evolution in lithic technologies (O’Brien et al. 2018a). My aim here is to complement such research and push it into debates on ‘populations’ and archaeological taxonomy across space and time. In the first part of this introduction I describe the background and context of this volume. I subsequently describe the individual chapters.
... There is also no evidence that the hypothetical ice shelves allowing the voyage existed (Westley and Dix 2008), and if they did, they were far from the occurrence of Solutrean sites (Pausata et al. 2011;Vetoretti and Peltier 2013). Also, it is not a consensus that Clovis and Solutrean points are not the simple result of convergence or sampling bias (Eren et al. 2013;O'Brien et al. 2014), let alone whether "Clovis technology" is unique and diagnostic (Eren, Meltzer, and Andrews 2018). While convergence may be considered untestable (Madsen 2015), the data theoretically supporting the Solutrean hypothesis by its original proponents are vague and incompleteit consists of three tables in an appendix of a 336-page book, listing only archaeological cultures, no specific archaeological assemblages, and not even all of the cultures present in their phenograms (Stanford and Bradley 2012). ...
Article
Modern and ancient genomics have recently ignited new debates in the field of peopling of the Americas, sometimes bringing up some odd scenarios. One of those is the Solutrean hypothesis. We argue that not only is the archaeological evidence supporting it rather tentative, but also it is not possible to reconcile what is known about the genetics of past and present Native Americans with the occurrence of a transatlantic dispersal during the late Pleistocene.
... bp 33 ) and Clovis lithic technologies, as well as evidence for pre-Columbian genetic admixture between ancestral Native American and West Eurasian populations. However, this hypothesis has been rejected on technological and genetic grounds 34,35 . If transatlantic migration is set aside and an Asian origin assumed, the antiquity and distribution of the early sites suggest that the initial crossing of the 48th parallel north occurred either (i) during the later part of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (57-29 ka) 36 , when ice and sea level estimates [37][38][39] indicate that land passage through Beringia was unlikely or interrupted, and an ice-free corridor between the Laurentide and Cordilleran Ice Sheets was probably present 39 (with evidence of terrestrial landscapes occurring between 48 and 40 ka 40 ) or (ii) during the LGM terminus, when the Bering land bridge was viable but the ice-free corridor was inaccessible 41,42 . ...
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The peopling of the Americas marks a major expansion of humans across the planet. However, questions regarding the timing and mechanisms of this dispersal remain, and the previously accepted model (termed ‘Clovis-first’)—suggesting that the first inhabitants of the Americas were linked with the Clovis tradition, a complex marked by distinctive fluted lithic points¹—has been effectively refuted. Here we analyse chronometric data from 42 North American and Beringian archaeological sites using a Bayesian age modelling approach, and use the resulting chronological framework to elucidate spatiotemporal patterns of human dispersal. We then integrate these patterns with the available genetic and climatic evidence. The data obtained show that humans were probably present before, during and immediately after the Last Glacial Maximum (about 26.5–19 thousand years ago)2,3 but that more widespread occupation began during a period of abrupt warming, Greenland Interstadial 1 (about 14.7–12.9 thousand years before ad 2000)⁴. We also identify the near-synchronous commencement of Beringian, Clovis and Western Stemmed cultural traditions, and an overlap of each with the last dates for the appearance of 18 now-extinct faunal genera. Our analysis suggests that the widespread expansion of humans through North America was a key factor in the extinction of large terrestrial mammals.
... Flake scars are predominantly minimally invasive or to-the-midline. No overshot flake scars are present, but one overface flake scar is present (see Eren et al. 2013;Jennings 2013;Smallwood 2010Smallwood , 2012. Each of the three Lot 489 lithic tools is a non-diagnostic, unifacial side scraper. ...
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Golondrina is a lanceolate point type linked to the Southeastern Dalton tradition that emerged during the Paleoindian to Archaic transition in southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. The type remains imprecisely dated because only a handful of sites have yielded Golondrina points in buried, dateable contexts, and the few radiocarbon dates from these sites often have relatively large standard deviations. In this paper, we present new radiocarbon dates from Greer's 1968 Texas Archeological Research Laboratory excavations at the Baker Cave site, Texas and present an analysis of artifacts from late Paleoindian/early Archaic contexts. A radiocarbon date from an excavation level that yielded a Golondrina point returned an age of 8910 ± 40 radiocarbon years before present, reducing prior imprecision and refining the age of the Golondrina occupation at Baker Cave. These results provide additional evidence that Golondrina, hypothesized to be culturally evolutionarily related to Dalton, represents a late regional expression of Dalton technologies.
... Such a relationship is not always immediately obvious because oftentimes the manufacturing process itself is unclear or the functional variability of a tool can encompass a range of interactions. To overcome these obstacles, archaeologists have devised clever methods such as reverse engineering, experimentation, usewear analysis, and mathematical modeling (e.g., Schiffer and Skibo 1989;Skibo et al. 1989;Whittaker 1994;Brantingham and Kuhn 2001;Patten 2005;Waguespack et al. 2009;Boulanger and Hudson 2012;Eren and Lycett 2012;Lipo et al. 2012;Eren et al. 2013Eren et al. , 2014Key 2013;Lycett and Eren 2013;Miller 2014;Key and Lycett 2015;Smallwood 2015). ...
... Algunos autores (Bradley 1982;Lohse et al. 2014), más allá de las implicaciones culturales propuestas en sus trabajos, defienden que este tipo de extracciones son un recurso efectivo para el adelgazamiento de la preforma, siendo sólo generados por talladores expertos. Las críticas a este planteamiento hechas por M. I. Eren y sus colegas abogan que se trata de un accidente de talla (Eren et al. 2013;, y que son producto de una convergencia tecnológica en contextos de reducción bifacial. En realidad, la aparición de dos sobrepasados bifaciales en El Tossal de la Munda en contextos de reducción bifacial del Neolítico final ibérico, según nuestra opinión, apoyaría la hipótesis de que se trata de una convergencia tecnológica, más como una consecuencia de la reducción que como un recurso sistemático. ...
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In this paper we present a technological study of leaf-like arrow points recovered in an open-air site from the 3th millennium B.C., named El Tossal de La Munda (Vistabella del Maestrazgo, Castellón). It is located at the central east of Spain, in the southern part of Iberian range in a mountainous area about 100 km far from the coast. The site is on a small flat-topped hill of about 5000 m² and it is 820 m.a.s.l. The upper surface has been strongly eroded and the lithic material has been found directly on the bedrock or over the dissolution clays. We recovered close to 5000 lithic remains, offering an assemblage mainly produced in the 3rd millennia BC: retouched blades and flakes as main groups, leaf-like arrow points, in addition to some other retouched tools as segments (one triangle, one bifacial circle and a trapezoid), scrapers, end-scrapers, denticulate and notches, one raclette and one drill. We also found two small adzes. The cores were intensively exhausted. Just some of them show bladelet scars but most of them are small discoid and irregular shaped cores for the production of small flakes. Few of them show marks of bipolar flaking on anvil. Within the lithic assemblage there is a sample of 73 bifacial rough-outs and projectile points at different reduction stages, from initial blanks to finished and used ones. In addition, we found one refit and one conjoint. All of them are leaf-like arrow points except a fragment showing shoulders as an exception. We have identified some typical accidents in bifacial reduction: fractured rough-outs, overshot flakes, overshot negatives and another accident that we named “bending notches”, linked principally to the pressure technique (two positives and two negatives). We analysed both preforms and finished leaf-like arrow points from a technological point of view, first trying to identify the blank type and shape, and secondly trying to distinguish knapping methods and techniques. We have divided the methods in three main types: parallels (adjacent and contiguous), alternating, and independent method. We have identified the strategies according to edges and blank faces management. In our case, only simple combinations has been detected, mainly alternate (first one face, after the other side on the same edge). We have divided leaf-like production in five technical stages, and we described the identified knapping methods and strategies used at the site according to the reduction stage. In order to show this, we describe in the paper the most significant cases of the site. The identification of blanks has been possible in most of the rough-outs, verifying that the blanks used at the site were irregular and cortical flakes, chunks, fissure slabs and small cores. Despite this, leaf-like production at the site was really homogeneous, applying the same methods and also managing the blank faces similarly. Alternate strategy is completely dominant, firstly removing the ventral face, secondly the dorsal part. The main knapping method used at the site is the independent method, removing consecutively the most highlighted ridges. When the sketch is advanced and reaches a regular shape, the application of parallel method series is common. Technically we have observed two phases: first direct percussion (mainly with stone hammer); second, pressure technique. Heat modifications have been detected in 20 rough-outs and projectiles but most of them seem to be non-intentional, exhibiting cupules and cracks. Most of the finished ones do not show double shine (heat patina). According to this, we state that leaf-like production at the site was not a specialized process but it recovers to use as blanks previously discarded flakes, chunks and exhausted cores, part of them recycled before burning. The elaboration of leaf-like arrow points was embedded in the laminar production, and it played a marginal role within a lithic reduction system that is focused on blade and bladelet production. They used mainly cortical and non-cortical flakes, that seem to be by-products of blade core preparation, or exhausted cores that were reused for this purpose. Despite most of the arrow points result in crude and thick foliated shapes, we argue that in this technological context, the use of waste as blanks constrains the knapping reduction, and lead to rude shapes. Derived from this, we discuss on the leaf-like arrow point morphology and its profitability, the resistance of thick-elliptical tips and their role in the technological framework of the site and its landscape. We also discuss about the visibility of the skilled knapping in this context, when small, irregular and cortical flakes, burned chunks and exhausted cores were used as a blank to make leaf-like projectiles.
... The minimal support for the older Pacific Coast surface in our model may be in part a preservation bias, as Holocene sea-level rise may have obscured older coastal sites (Anderson and Gillam 2000;Lambeck and Chappell 2001;Anderson et al. 2013). The older surface from the Great Lakes to Florida is supported by significantly more data, but matches no known postulated dispersal routeindeed, even the disputed North Atlantic ice-edge corridor (or Solutrean) hypothesis (Bradley and Stanford 2004;Eren et al. 2013) FIGURE 2. Overlap between human first appearance and megafaunal last appearance using (A) ordinary kriging for the LAD map and (B) Bayesian kriging for the LAD map. The small maps are the same as the larger maps but are overlaid with a translucent gray shading to indicate where the 68% and 95% confidence intervals (1 SE and 2 SE) have uncertainty greater than the overlap trend. ...
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The late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions may have been the first extinctions directly related to human activity, but in North America the close temporal proximity of human arrival and the Younger Dryas climate event has hindered efforts to identify the ultimate extinction cause. Previous work evaluating the roles of climate change and human activity in the North American megafaunal extinction has been stymied by a reliance on geographic binning, yielding contradictory results among researchers. We used a fine-scale geospatial approach in combination with 95 megafaunal last-appearance and 75 human first-appearance radiocarbon dates to evaluate the North American megafaunal extinction. We used kriging to create interpolated first-and last-appearance surfaces from calibrated radiocarbon dates in combination with their geographic autocorrelation. We found substantial evidence for overlap between megafaunal and human populations in many but not all areas, in some cases exceeding 3000 years of predicted overlap. We also found that overlap was highly regional: megafauna had last appearances in Alaska before humans first appeared, but did not have last appearances in the Great Lakes region until several thousand years after the first recorded human appearances. Overlap in the Great Lakes region exceeds uncertainty in radiocarbon measurements or methodological uncertainty and would be even greater with sampling-derived confidence intervals. The kriged maps of last megafaunal occurrence are consistent with climate as a primary driver in some areas, but we cannot eliminate human influence from all regions. The late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction was highly variable in timing and duration of human overlap across the continent, and future analyses should take these regional trends into account.
Article
A Clovis fluted projectile point preform was discovered in 2006 from a freshly plowed farm field northwest of Wauseon in Fulton County, Ohio. We present here observations of the specimen's flake-scar patterning and production, geometric morphometrics, microwear, as well as visual raw material identifications and straight-line and least-cost stone source distances. Overall, our examination is consistent with two hypotheses. First, central Ohio toolstones served as an important Clovis raw material for the northwesterly tri-state area of Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, more than 230 km away. Second, Clovis colonizers of the Lower Great Lakes geared up and prepared well enough that they could afford to discard an unbroken, sizable specimen such as the Wauseon Clovis preform. We conclude with a possible explanation for why the preform was discarded.
Article
For many years, intuition and common sense often guided the transference of patterning ostensibly evident in experimental flintknapping results to interpretations of the archaeological record, with little emphasis placed on hypothesis testing, experimental variables, experimental design, or statistical analysis of data. Today, archaeologists routinely take steps to address these issues. We build on these modern efforts by reviewing several important uses of replication experiments: (1) as a means of testing a question, hypothesis, or assumption about certain parameters of stone-tool technology; (2) as a model, in which information from empirically documented situations is used to generate predictions; and (3) as a means of validating analytical methods. This review highlights the important strategic role that stone artifact replication experiments must continue to play in further developing a scientific approach to archaeology.
Article
An evaluation of recent claims for early human settlement of South America is presented. Some of the problems with these cases are reviewed, particularly the ways in which ambiguity weakens otherwise compelling evidence of early human presence in the continent. The roles of generalized adaptations and cobble industries, the most common explanations of claims of early occupations, are examined, and some new sites that present incomplete evidence but are deserving of further research are mentioned. The incorporation of studies of formation processes in the future may prove helpful in evaluating most of these cases as well as others that emerge in the future.
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Colonising hunter-gatherer populations in North and Central America at the end of the Pleistocene utilised Clovis technology. Clovis technology is known for ‘fluted’ flaked stone points that were used to hunt prey and served as knives, but it also included the production, use and discard of a diversity of other implements made from stone, bone and other materials. Clovis technology lasted for several centuries, perhaps as long as a millennium and a half. Clovis technology shares some similarities with Siberian Paleolithic technology, which is consistent with current genetic evidence, indicating that ancestors of the people using Clovis technology originated in Asia. Clovis technology, as archaeologists generally recognise it, likely emerged piecemeal as people dispersed into the New World – some aspects of it can be tied to ancestry in Siberia, while other aspects are likely indigenous to North and Central America. Several studies have shown that Clovis technology was subjected to both micro- and macroevolutionary forces. ‘Clovis technology’ is just an archaeologist's shorthand to refer to what is in actuality an inferred, fuzzy set of human–tool interactions found across North and Central America during the terminal Pleistocene.There is a diversity of Clovis tools made from stone, bone and other materials.Evidence for Clovis technology can be found across the lower 48 states of the United States, throughout southern Canada, and Central America.The ancestors of people who used Clovis technology came from Asia.What archaeologists generally recognise, and refer to, as Clovis technology likely emerged piecemeal as people from Asia dispersed into the New World.Clovis technology evolved at both the micro- and macroevolutionary scales.
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Abstract This paper examines theoretical and methodological approaches to measuring anddiscussingskill inthearchaeologicalrecord.Focusingspecificallyonevaluatingskill inlithicproduction,acasestudyispresentedwhichquantifiesproductionerrorsinseveral assemblages of obsidian blades from early pastoralist sites of the Elmenteitan culture in southern Kenya (c. 3000–1400 BP). Analysis of error frequency through the blade core reductionsequenceandrelationshipsbetweenerrortypessuggestthatproductionerrorsin blade production may relate, in part, to the presence of novices’ practice and learning. Comparisonamongassemblagesshowsthatsitesclosertotheprimaryobsidianquarrysite display higher proportions of blade production errors. Communities-of-practice theory is drawn upon to interpret these patterns and to generate hypotheses for how early Elmenteitan producing herders may have structured knowledge transmission related to lithicproduction.Finally,thepaperdiscusseshowlithiclearningmayhavebeenintegrated into broader social systems relating to pastoralist resilience in eastern Africa.
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In the 1930s, archaeologist Dr. F. H. H. Roberts proposed that proximal-lateral edge grinding was executed on Paleoindian projectile points to limit damage to the lashings that attached them to their shafts. This assumption is logical and widely accepted, but remains empirically untested. Here, we present an experiment that examines the role of proximal-lateral edge grinding in replica Clovis projectile points made of Texas chert. We compare via controlled ballistics experiments large samples of points with lateral edge grinding versus those with sharp lateral edges, but otherwise similar in every other morphometric aspect. By analyzing and comparing the hafting performance of the ground-edged specimens and the sharp-edged specimens, we hope to better understand the function of lateral basal grinding from technological and ecological perspectives.
Article
Goodson Rockshelter in Oklahoma has provided strong chronometric and typological evidence that early- and middle-stage fluted stone tool bases found there date to the Late Archaic. These results indicate that such specimens are not necessarily diagnostic of the late Pleistocene Clovis culture. Here, we present additional evidence that early- and middle-stage fluted bases do not automatically indicate a Clovis presence. The lithic assemblages east of the Fox Lake area in Northeast Ohio consist of debitage and tools, including five early- and middle-stage fluted bifaces. However, of the 20 diagnostic projectile points found in the surrounding area, all can be assigned to the Holocene (Early Archaic to the Late Prehistoric), and none to the Pleistocene. Until chronometric assessments of age can be conducted, the most parsimonious explanation for this pattern is that these early- and middle-stage fluted bifaces east of Fox Lake are Holocene in age, and not affiliated with the Clovis culture.
Chapter
The process of human peopling of Fuego-Patagonia was probably complex, with important temporal gaps and spatial discontinuities in the distribution of early sites, resulting in a patchy archaeological record of variable age. Three occupational nodes are recognized in the southern portion of Patagonia, the Pali Aike Lava Field, Última Esperanza and North of Tierra del Fuego, all presenting human evidences tightly constrained between 12,839 and 11,434 calibrated years before present (Cal BP). We discuss the availability of productive land before the arrival of humans at each of those nodes as well as the connectivity among them and with other nodes located north of the Santa Cruz river.
Article
The Nelson stone tool cache was discovered in 2008 in Mount Vernon, Ohio. The cache does not include any diagnostic materials, and independent age control is unavailable. Although aspects of its 164 bifaces are suggestive of a Clovis affiliation – including the occasional occurrence of unmistakable flute scars – nearly all are in the early- to mid-stages of production, there are no definitive finished Clovis fluted points that would make it possible to assign the cache to that time period. To ascertain its cultural affiliation, we undertook a detailed qualitative and quantitative comparison of the Nelson cache bifaces with ones known to be both Clovis and post-Clovis in age. We also conducted geochemical sourcing, ochre analyses, and microwear analysis to understand the context of the cache, regardless of its age and cultural affinity. By some key measures it is consistent with Clovis caches in this region and elsewhere, but the case remains unproven. Nonetheless, if the Nelson cache is from the Clovis period, it is significant that most of its bifaces appear to be made on large flakes, in keeping with Clovis technology in the Lower Great Lakes, and an economically conservative, risk-mitigating strategy that conforms to predictions of human foragers colonizing the area in late Pleistocene times.
Article
We previously showed that stone-tool technological attributes thought to be unique to the Clovis period were present in a radiocarbon and OSL dated middle Holocene-age stratum at Goodson Shelter, Oklahoma (Eren et al. 2018a. “Is Clovis Technology Unique to Clovis?” PaleoAmerica 4:202–228). Consequently, we argued that technological attributes alone should not be used to assign assemblages to Clovis times. Huckell, Haynes, and Holliday (2019. “Comments on the Lithic Technology and Geochronology of the Goodson Rock Shelter.” PaleoAmerica 6:131–134) proposed two alternative hypotheses: that material we identified as Clovis-like was not, or that it was Clovis but had been mixed with younger deposits. They called for more information on the Clovis-like assemblage at Goodson, and additional dating of the site's lowest deposits. We provide that information, which confirms that stone-tool technologies ostensibly unique to Clovis were indeed in use in the middle Holocene.
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Skill has allowed lithic analyses to expand their scope beyond the limits set by a representational understanding of practices and sociocultural dynamics. It remains excluded from coarse archaeological contexts in favour of higher resolution ones however. Such coarse contexts are ubiquitous and must be included to broaden description, interpretation and theorization into broader and more heterogeneous narrative landscapes. This paper argues that skill is key to including lithic practices from coarser archaeological palimpsests, provided it is reframed as a process immanent to any cultural practice that conjoins with other processes to shape contexts of various scales. Second, skill must be anchored with a set of core concepts—technical difficulty, accidents and execution quality—that each knapping event and every lithic assemblage actualizes, regardless of scale. Third, methodologies must be built using this set of core concepts and adapted to a site’s specifics. Using such a methodology, I describe learning patterns, skilled reduction sequences and spatial patterning in the plowed fields of La Martre (Quebec, Canada), where millennia of continuous occupation and hundreds of thousands of lithic remains have been mixed up in a dense and homogeneous layer. I show that understanding skill as a trans-scalar process can help free lithic analyses from prior, bounded and familiar units of analysis. It can and should be used first to draw broader patterns that connect contextually specific lithic expressions. It affords for scalable analyses that can help expand the scope of the depositional contexts archaeologists routinely work with.
Article
Experimental archaeology is a key component of research for reconstructing past human behaviors, and this approach has been a cornerstone for interpreting the earliest archaeological record in the Americas. In this paper, we survey the work of scholars who have used experimental archaeology to investigate the Paleoamerican stone tool record. We focus primarily on research published in the most recent decade. We organize our review according to four prevailing research themes: identifying objects intentionally made or modified by humans, measuring production efficiency, understanding projectile technologies, and reconstructing how tools were used. In each of these sections, we describe research questions and experimental designs and concisely summarize original investigators’ experimental results. Our hope is that this review will be a useful resource and inspire new experimental research.
Chapter
Stone tools are found throughout the archaeological record left by humans and their ancestors beginning as much as 2.6–3.4 million years ago. Given the nearly ubiquitous use of stone tools by hominins, their study is an important line of inquiry for shedding light on questions of evolution and behavior. Because they were parts of past phenotypes, stone tools were shaped by the same evolutionary processes as were the somatic (bodily) features of their users. One evolutionary result of these processes is convergence—the appearance of similar forms in independent lineages that result from functional or developmental constraints. With respect to stone tools, identifying cases of convergence is particularly important because similarities in form are often used to suggest historical connections among prehistoric groups. Identifying cases of convergence would refute hypotheses that otherwise would suggest some degree of physical or cultural connection.
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Evolutionary approaches to archeological data apply biological principles to understand artifactual variation and cultural change through time. Stone tools are a particularly rich dataset because their morphology represents intentional designs—adaptations to specific environmental and social contexts—transmitted through social learning. Finished tools, especially those forms found in the archeological record to be chronologically or spatially diagnostic of a culture, can be ordered and compared morphologically to understand evolutionary relationships. Because stone-tool manufacture is reductive, the process of production, or the behavioral recipe, can also reflect significant information about past populations. Although many studies have investigated evidence of heritable continuity of technological knowledge, few have made convergent evolution the focus of technological comparisons. Here we explore the chronological occurrence of blades and blade-core reduction in the Southern Plains and periphery of North America as a case study for understanding convergence in the stone-tool record.
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Archaeologists recognize countless styles of flaked stone projectile points in the archaeological record, but few are as wellrecognized as the Clovis fluted projectile point. This specimen has a number of interesting morphological and technologicalfeatures, but one prominent question of its functional morphology involves the lateral edges of the proximal (basal) portion of thepoint, where it was attached (hafted) to a handle or shaft. These edges are usually ground (or abraded) dull, presumably to prevent cutting of the lashings binding the point in place. However, while logical, this presumption has never been experimentally tested.Do ground proximal-lateral edges prevent damage to haft lashing at a level significantly greater than that of sharp edges? Wetested this question via experimental ballistics using standardized specimens possessing ground or sharp proximal-lateral edges.Our results showed that there was virtually no damage to lashings or presence of point wiggle within the haft, regardless ofwhether points possessed ground or sharp edges. Moreover, when negligible damage (fraying) did occur, it was restricted to thelashings on the point face, not the lashings on the proximal-lateral edges. While it is plausible, and remains to be tested, that themotions involved in cutting, sawing, and butchery cause more interaction between a point’s lateral edges and lashings, our resultssuggest that with respect to the actions experienced during projectile impact, ground proximal-lateral edges do not function toprotect the haft lashings
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New sedimentological and taphonomic analyses of a preserved bulk of Pedra Furada rock-shelter characterize the mixed origin of the filling, both from the sandstone wall and from the uppermost conglomerate layer. Statistical analysis of quantitative and qualitative data on waterfalls and archaeological assemblage, both dated from the Upper Pleistocene and Holocene, demonstrated no causal relationship among Eastern waterfall talus, lithic tools and archaeological structures. Technical similarities have been reported between extant monkeys unintentional flaking by-products and the lithic toolkit from the previous archaeological excavations. Comparison between present monkey’s hammerstones and the quartz elements recorded in archaeological structures point to a clear anthropic selection in the making of archaeological structures in the site, regardless of any association with charcoals. Because of the similarities between the present monkey stone-tools and the (supposed) human tool-kit, the inclusion of both human and primate archaeologies in an interdisciplinary research program is needed to clarify the nature of pre-Clovis presence in South America.
Article
Clovis technology is argued to possess distinctive attributes that make a stone tool assemblage recognizable as Clovis, even absent its hallmark fluted projectile points, or radiometric ages that place the assemblage in the late Pleistocene. Excavations at Goodson Shelter in Oklahoma yielded artifacts bearing unmistakable attributes of Clovis biface and blade technology, such as fluted bifaces, overface flaking, and prismatic blades, all from a clearly-delineated, unmixed stratigraphic layer securely dated to the mid-Holocene. This indicates that those technological attributes are not unique to Clovis, and cannot be used by themselves to identify Clovis age material. To illustrate the consequences of this result, we review biface and blade caches assigned to Clovis by their technology alone. Although many could be Clovis in age, they are not demonstrably so. Overall, our findings emphasize the importance of looking at suites of evidence, chronological, technological and otherwise, in assigning assemblages to the Clovis period.
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The causes of technological innovation in the Palaeolithic archaeological record are central to understanding Plio-Pleistocene hominin behaviour and temporal trends in artefact variation. Palaeolithic archaeologists frequently investigate the Oldowan-Acheulean transition and technological developments during the subsequent million years of the Acheulean technocomplex. Here, we approach the question of why innovative stone tool production techniques occur in the Lower Palaeolithic archaeological record from an experimental biomechanical and evolutionary perspective. Nine experienced flintknappers reproduced Oldowan flake tools, ‘early Acheulean’ handaxes, and ‘late Acheulean’ handaxes while pressure data were collected from their non-dominant (core-holding) hands. For each flake removal or platform preparation event performed, the percussor used, the stage of reduction, the core securing technique utilised, and the relative success of flake removals were recorded. Results indicate that more heavily reduced, intensively shaped handaxes with greater volumetric controls do not necessarily require significantly greater manual pressure than Oldowan flake tools or earlier ‘rougher’ handaxe forms. Platform preparation events do, however, require significantly greater pressure relative to either soft or hard hammer flake detachments. No significant relationships were identified between flaking success and pressure variation. Our results suggest that the preparation of flake platforms, a technological behaviour associated with the production of late Acheulean handaxes, could plausibly have been restricted prior to the emergence of more forceful precision-manipulative capabilities than those required for earlier lithic technologies.
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The Mixter site (33-ME-4), Erie County, Ohio, is a multicomponent site first reported in 1967. We re-examined the Mixter site projectile point assemblage to understand which types were present, whether there were Paleoindian points at the site, and whether the projectile points can reveal anything about site use through time. Our assessment revealed an occupation spanning the entire Holocene, a possible Clovis component, and that artifact breakage and discard pattern did not change over time at the site. Given that our new look at the projectile point assemblage differed significantly from Shane’s (1967, The Mixter Site: a Multicomponent Hunting Station in Erie County, Ohio. In O. Prufer & D. McKenzie (Eds.), Studies in Ohio Archaeology (pp. 121–186). Cleveland: The Press of Western Reserve University) original report, we conclude our study with a discussion on reproducibility in archaeological science.
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The question "How common is convergence?" remains unanswered and may be unanswerable. Our examples indicate that even the minimum detectable levels of convergence are often high, and we conclude that at all levels convergence has been greatly underestimated.-Moore and Willmer (1997: 1) Convergence in stone-tool technology, much like in biology, was likely a recurring phenomenon throughout the last three million years of human evolution, where functional and economic constraints exerted strong selection on tool size and form as well as other characteristics of technological systems. Some of the best examples of convergent stone working include the Nubian Levallois method (Will, Mackay, and Phillips 2015); overshot flaking of Solutrean and Palaeoindian points (Eren, Patten, O'Brien, and Meltzer 2013b; chapter 1, this volume); fluting on Palaeoindian and southern Arabian points (Crassard 2009); ground-edge axe technology in Pleistocene Australasia, Japan, and multiple Neolithic societies (Clarkson et al. 2015; Hiscock, O'Connor, Balme, and Maloney 2016; Takashi 2012); pressure blade technology in Mesoamerica and Eurasia (Crabtree 1968; Pelegrin 2003); and punch flaking on Danish and Polynesian adzes (Shipton, Weisler, Jacomb, Clarkson, and Walter 2016; Stueber 2010). Likewise, countless more or less identical tool forms appear around the globe in different times and places as the product of seemingly independent invention to meet local needs, be they burins, end scrapers , blades, or discoidal cores. The question is not whether convergence took place, but whether it was common and widespread or took place only under exceptional circumstances. There are many reasons for thinking it was the former, but providing compelling evidence for independent origins without contact between regions, as well as deriving robust evolutionary explanations, are ongoing challenges for archeology. Multiple lines of evidence are required to test such arguments, and these might typically involve experimentation, modeling selective environments, and developing appropriate means of analyzing archeological and environmental data to determine the context of autochthonous development rather than cultural transmission from other populations.
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This study utilizes data from the Gault site (41BL323) to address intentionality in Clovis overshot flaking. Most research in recent decades considers overshot flakes a purposeful part of Clovis biface reduction. However, recent research by Eren et al. has questioned this interpretation, experimentally demonstrating that overshot flakes may represent failed attempts at removing large overface flakes. The present study compares overshot flake counts from Clovis and other components in Area 15, as well as comparing edge removal measurements from Clovis and non-Clovis overshots from Areas 8 and 15. Results indicate that overshots are proportionally more common in the Clovis component than in any other stratum, and Clovis overshot flakes consistently remove less mass from the opposite edge than those from other components. Therefore, it appears that overshots are removed more consistently and with more precision in Clovis than in any other component, making them more likely to be intentional.
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Scholars from multiple disciplines generally agree about new models for the origin and dating of migration to the Western Hemisphere, replacing the rigid Clovis-first model that had dominated texts for the past fifty years. This new research has not resolved all of the questions relating to this migration; serious controversies still exist. But the development of the new field of genetic studies and the recent opening of major South American archaeological sites has resolved many older debates and has provided a far more nuanced and complex early history of mankind in the Western Hemisphere than existed before.
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Americas Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the Peopling of the This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. clicking here. colleagues, clients, or customers by , you can order high-quality copies for your If you wish to distribute this article to others here. following the guidelines can be obtained by Permission to republish or repurpose articles or portions of articles): July 7, 2014 www.sciencemag.org (this information is current as of The following resources related to this article are available online at
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Kelly and Todd's (1988) “high-technology forager” model predicts Clovis groups were highly mobile populations that left behind behaviorally consistent records of Clovis fluted points as evidence of their short-term occupations. Anderson's (1990, 1996) staging-area model predicts that Clovis settlement was more gradual; groups entered the continent and slowed migration to concentrate territorial ranges around resource-rich river valleys, and these staging areas became the demographic foundations for early cultural regionalization. This study analyzes southeastern Clovis point data and biface assemblages from Carson-Conn-Short, Topper, and Williamson to test the technological implications of these two models. Significant subregional variation exists in Clovis point morphology and biface production techniques. This variation suggests the subregions represent distinct populations who distinctly altered aspects of their technology but maintained fundamental elements of the Clovis tradition. These findings are at odds with the high-technology forager model and more closely fit the staging-area model.
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It has been proposed that Paleolithic studies should abandon their focus on groups and turn instead to the individual. If individuals are to emerge from the lithics-dominated Middle Paleolithic record, the best chance of success is to identify the products of learner knappers from those of their mentors. To do so we need a framework of knapping standards by which to measure Middle Paleolithic skill level. Selected measurements on a sequence of 100 subcircular Levallois tortoise core reductions by a knapper of intermediate skill were compared with 25 reductions by his highly experienced instructor. Four measures emerge as potential markers of skill level: total stone consumption during initial core preparation, consumption from the upper and lower core surface, symmetry of the first detached Levallois flake, and failure rate of that detachment by overshooting the core's rim. These markers allow us to discriminate between the work of a modern learner and his mentor, but >30 percent were misclassified. The learning trajectory is more complex than the mere honing of skills through practice and is punctuated by increasing numbers of mentor-like reductions. It follows that skill-level measures on their own are imperfect discriminators. Personal markers other than those of skill level must be found by which to seek individuals in the Middle Paleolithic record.
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The early peopling of the New World has been a topic of intense research since the early twentieth century. We contend that the exclusive focus of research on a Beringian entry point has not been productive. Evidence has accumulated over the past two decades indicating that the earliest origin of people in North America may have been from south-western Europe during the last glacial maximum. In this summary we outline a theory of a Solutrean origin for Clovis culture and briefly present the archaeological data supporting this assertion.
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Bradley and Stanford (200418. Bradley , B. and Stanford , D. 2004. The North Atlantic ice-edge corridor: a possible Palaeolithic route to the New World. World Archaeology, 36: 459–478. [Taylor & Francis Online], [Web of Science ®]View all references) have raised now, in several instances, the claim that European Upper Paleolithic Solutrean peoples colonized North America, and gave rise to the archaeological complex known as Clovis. They do so in the face of some obvious challenges – notably the several thousand miles of ocean and the 5000 radiocarbon years that separate the two. And yet they argue in their recent paper that the archaeological evidence in support of a historical connection is ‘overwhelming’. We are profoundly skeptical of this claim; we believe that the many differences between Solutrean and Clovis are far more significant than the few similarities, the latter being readily explained by the well-known phenomenon of technological convergence or parallelism. The origin and arrival time of the first Americans remain uncertain, but not so uncertain that we need to look elsewhere other than north-east Asia.
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Large-sized Solutrean laurel leaf typology has been defined on the basis of the exceptional pieces found at Volgu, France, in 1874. The geographical distribution of this rare type of large bifacial piece is limited to the border of the French Massif Central. Located at the northern limit of this distribution area, the Maîtreaux site provides new data on the reduction schemes of these pieces. Refitted sequences indicate that the Solutrean presence was motivated by the exploitation of local flint resources to produce reserves of lithic tools and/or blanks, elements for composite projectiles and preforms for exportation and later finishing and use/retouch elsewhere. Results of techno-economic and spatial analyses are compared with those of an experimental project, mostly centred on laurel leaf techno-economy. This integrated experimental approach strongly contributes to the on-going social interpretation of the Maîtreaux group, allowing us better to characterize and quantify the remains of laurel leaf reduction processes. Also produced were in situ‘undisturbed’ knapping features for taphonomic reference and interpretation. At the site scale, experimental work coupled with spatial and techno-economic analysis is relevant for the interpretation of different geoarchaeological, technical and social aspects of the archaeological record. At a regional scale, experimental work on the available raw materials in each geographic zone is required to clarify issues related to raw-material procurement, exploitation and circulation, such as regional lithic resource exploitation strategies and inter-site discontinuities of production.
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One current hypothesis for the Pleistocene peopling of the Americas invokes a dispersal by European hunter-gatherers along a biologically productive “corridor” situated on the edge of the sea-ice that filled the Atlantic Ocean during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). In this paper, we assert that critical paleoceanographic data underpinning this hypothesis has not yet been examined in sufficient detail. To this end, we present data which show that the corridor may not have existed, and that, if it did, its suitability as a migration route is highly questionable. In addition to demonstrating that the hypothesized migration was unlikely, this highlights the importance of integrating paleoceanographic and archaeological data in studies of paleo-coastal societies.
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The extent to which past climate change has dictated the pattern and timing of the out-of-Africa expansion by anatomically modern humans is currently unclear [Stewart JR, Stringer CB (2012) Science 335:1317-1321]. In particular, the incompleteness of the fossil record makes it difficult to quantify the effect of climate. Here, we take a different approach to this problem; rather than relying on the appearance of fossils or archaeological evidence to determine arrival times in different parts of the world, we use patterns of genetic variation in modern human populations to determine the plausibility of past demographic parameters. We develop a spatially explicit model of the expansion of anatomically modern humans and use climate reconstructions over the past 120 ky based on the Hadley Centre global climate model HadCM3 to quantify the possible effects of climate on human demography. The combinations of demographic parameters compatible with the current genetic makeup of worldwide populations indicate a clear effect of climate on past population densities. Our estimates of this effect, based on population genetics, capture the observed relationship between current climate and population density in modern hunter-gatherers worldwide, providing supporting evidence for the realism of our approach. Furthermore, although we did not use any archaeological and anthropological data to inform the model, the arrival times in different continents predicted by our model are also broadly consistent with the fossil and archaeological records. Our framework provides the most accurate spatiotemporal reconstruction of human demographic history available at present and will allow for a greater integration of genetic and archaeological evidence.
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Middle Palaeolithic stone artefacts referred to as 'Levallois' have caused considerable debate regarding issues of technological predetermination, cognition and linguistic capacities in extinct hominins. Their association with both Neanderthals and early modern humans has, in particular, fuelled such debate. Yet, controversy exists regarding the extent of 'predetermination' and 'standardization' in so-called 'preferential Levallois flakes' (PLFs). Using an experimental and morphometric approach, we assess the degree of standardization in PLFs compared to the flakes produced during their manufacture. PLFs possess specific properties that unite them robustly as a group or 'category' of flake. The properties that do so, relate most strongly to relative flake thicknesses across their surface area. PLFs also exhibit significantly less variability than the flakes generated during their production. Again, this is most evident in flake thickness variables. A further aim of our study was to assess whether the particular PLF attributes identified during our analyses can be related to current knowledge regarding flake functionality and utility. PLFs are standardized in such a manner that they may be considered 'predetermined' with regard to a specific set of properties that distinguishes them statistically from a majority of other flakes. Moreover, their attributes can be linked to factors that, based on current knowledge, are desirable features in flake tools (e.g. durability, capacity for retouch, and reduction of torque). As such, our results support the hypothesis that the lengthy, multi-phase, and hierarchically organized process of Levallois reduction was a deliberate, engineered strategy orientated toward specific goals. In turn, our results support suggestions that Levallois knapping relied on a cognitive capacity for long-term working memory. This is consistent with recent evidence suggesting that cognitive distinctions between later Pleistocene hominins such as the Neanderthals and anatomically modern humans were not as sharp as some scholars have previously suggested.
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The Altai region of southern Siberia has played a critical role in the peopling of northern Asia as an entry point into Siberia and a possible homeland for ancestral Native Americans. It has an old and rich history because humans have inhabited this area since the Paleolithic. Today, the Altai region is home to numerous Turkic-speaking ethnic groups, which have been divided into northern and southern clusters based on linguistic, cultural, and anthropological traits. To untangle Altaian genetic histories, we analyzed mtDNA and Y chromosome variation in northern and southern Altaian populations. All mtDNAs were assayed by PCR-RFLP analysis and control region sequencing, and the nonrecombining portion of the Y chromosome was scored for more than 100 biallelic markers and 17 Y-STRs. Based on these data, we noted differences in the origin and population history of Altaian ethnic groups, with northern Altaians appearing more like Yeniseian, Ugric, and Samoyedic speakers to the north, and southern Altaians having greater affinities to other Turkic speaking populations of southern Siberia and Central Asia. Moreover, high-resolution analysis of Y chromosome haplogroup Q has allowed us to reshape the phylogeny of this branch, making connections between populations of the New World and Old World more apparent and demonstrating that southern Altaians and Native Americans share a recent common ancestor. These results greatly enhance our understanding of the peopling of Siberia and the Americas.
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Compelling archaeological evidence of an occupation older than Clovis (~12.8 to 13.1 thousand years ago) in North America is present at only a few sites, and the stone tool assemblages from these sites are small and varied. The Debra L. Friedkin site, Texas, contains an assemblage of 15,528 artifacts that define the Buttermilk Creek Complex, which stratigraphically underlies a Clovis assemblage and dates between ~13.2 and 15.5 thousand years ago. The Buttermilk Creek Complex confirms the emerging view that people occupied the Americas before Clovis and provides a large artifact assemblage to explore Clovis origins.
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We used 5704 14C, 10Be, and 3He ages that span the interval from 10,000 to 50,000 years ago (10 to 50 ka) to constrain the timing of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in terms of global ice-sheet and mountain-glacier extent. Growth of the ice sheets to their maximum positions occurred between 33.0 and 26.5 ka in response to climate forcing from decreases in northern summer insolation, tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures, and atmospheric CO2. Nearly all ice sheets were at their LGM positions from 26.5 ka to 19 to 20 ka, corresponding to minima in these forcings. The onset of Northern Hemisphere deglaciation 19 to 20 ka was induced by an increase in northern summer insolation, providing the source for an abrupt rise in sea level. The onset of deglaciation of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet occurred between 14 and 15 ka, consistent with evidence that this was the primary source for an abrupt rise in sea level approximately 14.5 ka.
Book
Who were the first humans to inhabit North America? According to the now familiar story, mammal hunters entered the continent some 12,000 years ago via a land bridge that spanned the Bering Sea. Distinctive stone tools belonging to the Clovis culture established the presence of these early New World people. But are the Clovis tools Asian in origin? Drawing from original archaeological analysis, paleoclimatic research, and genetic studies, noted archaeologists Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley challenge the old narrative and, in the process, counter traditional-and often subjective-approaches to archaeological testing for historical relatedness. The authors apply rigorous scholarship to a hypothesis that places the technological antecedents of Clovis in Europe and posits that the first Americans crossed the Atlantic by boat and arrived earlier than previously thought. Supplying archaeological and oceanographic evidence to support this assertion, the book dismantles the old paradigm while persuasively linking Clovis technology with the culture of the Solutrean people who occupied France and Spain more than 20,000 years ago. Who were the first humans to inhabit North America? According to the now familiar story, mammal hunters entered the continent some 12,000 years ago via a land bridge that spanned the Bering Sea. Distinctive stone tools belonging to the Clovis culture established the presence of these early New World people. But are the Clovis tools Asian in origin? Drawing from original archaeological analysis, paleoclimatic research, and genetic studies, noted archaeologists Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley challenge the old narrative and, in the process, counter traditional-and often subjective-approaches to archaeological testing for historical relatedness. The authors apply rigorous scholarship to a hypothesis that places the technological antecedents of Clovis in Europe and posits that the first Americans crossed the Atlantic by boat and arrived earlier than previously thought. Supplying archaeological and oceanographic evidence to support this assertion, the book dismantles the old paradigm while persuasively linking Clovis technology with the culture of the Solutrean people who occupied France and Spain more than 20,000 years ago.
Chapter
As Morlan (1988), Grayson (1988), and many others (e.g., Fagan 1987, 1990; Jennings 1983, 1989; Willey and Sabloff 1980) have indicated, the quest for evidence of the earliest inhabitants of the New World has absorbed the attentions of both professionals and interested laymen for a very long period of time. It can be said, however, that little tangible progress toward the achievement of this goal occurred much before the Folsom discoveries earlier in this century. As observed recently (Adovasio et al., 1988:45), little progress has been made since that time.
Book
Who were the first humans to inhabit North America? According to the now familiar story, mammal hunters entered the continent some 12,000 years ago via a land bridge that spanned the Bering Sea. Distinctive stone tools belonging to the Clovis culture established the presence of these early New World people. But are the Clovis tools Asian in origin? Drawing from original archaeological analysis, paleoclimatic research, and genetic studies, noted archaeologists Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley challenge the old narrative and, in the process, counter traditional-and often subjective-approaches to archaeological testing for historical relatedness. The authors apply rigorous scholarship to a hypothesis that places the technological antecedents of Clovis in Europe and posits that the first Americans crossed the Atlantic by boat and arrived earlier than previously thought. Supplying archaeological and oceanographic evidence to support this assertion, the book dismantles the old paradigm while persuasively linking Clovis technology with the culture of the Solutrean people who occupied France and Spain more than 20,000 years ago.
Book
Some 13,000 years ago, humans were drawn repeatedly to a small valley in what is now Central Texas, near the banks of Buttermilk Creek. These early hunter-gatherers camped, collected stone, and shaped it into a variety of tools they needed to hunt game, process food, and subsist in the Texas wilderness. Their toolkit included bifaces, blades, and deadly spear points. Where they worked, they left thousands of pieces of debris, which have allowed archaeologists to reconstruct their methods of tool production. Along with the faunal material that was also discarded in their prehistoric campsite, these stone, or lithic, artifacts afford a glimpse of human life at the end of the last ice age during an era referred to as Clovis. The area where these people roamed and camped, called the Gault site, is one of the most important Clovis sites in North America. A decade ago a team from Texas A&M University excavated a single area of the site-formally named Excavation Area 8, but informally dubbed the Lindsey Pit-which features the densest concentration of Clovis artifacts and the clearest stratigraphy at the Gault site. Some 67,000 lithic artifacts were recovered during fieldwork, along with 5,700 pieces of faunal material. In a thorough synthesis of the evidence from this prehistoric "workshop," Michael R. Waters and his coauthors provide the technical data needed to interpret and compare this site with other sites from the same period, illuminating the story of Clovis people in the Buttermilk Creek Valley. © 2011 by Michael R. Waters, Charlotte D. Pevny, and David L. Carlson All rights reserved.
Article
More than 12,000 years ago, in one of the greatest triumphs of prehistory, humans colonized North America, a continent that was then truly a new world. Just when and how they did so has been one of the most perplexing and controversial questions in archaeology. This dazzling, cutting-edge synthesis, written for a wide audience by an archaeologist who has long been at the center of these debates, tells the scientific story of the first Americans: where they came from, when they arrived, and how they met the challenges of moving across the vast, unknown landscapes of Ice Age North America. David J. Meltzer pulls together the latest ideas from archaeology, geology, linguistics, skeletal biology, genetics, and other fields to trace the breakthroughs that have revolutionized our understanding in recent years. Among many other topics, he explores disputes over the hemisphere's oldest and most controversial sites and considers how the first Americans coped with changing global climates. He also confronts some radical claims: that the Americas were colonized from Europe or that a crashing comet obliterated the Pleistocene megafauna. Full of entertaining descriptions of on-site encounters, personalities, and controversies, this is a compelling behind-the-scenes account of how science is illuminating our past.
Book
Whole book is available online as pdfs at: https://muse.jhu.edu/book/65391
Article
In recent years, an increasing range of scientists from the fields of psychology, anthropology and archaeology are recognising the value of utilising Darwinian theory to study cultural transmission and evolution. Such an approach is based on recognition that culture involves a mode of inheritance (social transmission), variation of practice, and the differential representation of particular variants in subsequent generations due to a variety of sorting mechanisms. In other words, culture evolves via a process of "descent with modification". Two immediate analytical implications arise from this. The first of these is that 'population thinking' must be applied to the study of cultural evolution; the second is that understanding the historical process of lineage decent and diversification (i.e. phylogeny) becomes an imperative research goal. Methodologies and principles designed to address these issues in biology can profitably be used to address such questions in cultural data. Here, case studies of Palaeolithic stone tools are used to demonstrate how these principles and methodological approaches may be applied to some of these early artefactual products of the human lineage. Such methods are shedding new light on this "most beautiful and most wonderful" of legacies left to us by our fossil relatives and ancestors.
Article
There are a number of purported distinctions between Clovis and Gainey technology. Prominent among these is the lack of overshot flaking in the production of Gainey bifaces. A recent survey of debitage from the Arc site in western New York state suggests that overshot flaking was indeed practiced by Paleoindians in the Lower Great Lakes, suggesting that Clovis and Gainey technology may be more similar than generally thought. It is concluded that a technological, and perhaps terminological, reexamination of the "Gainey concept" is in order.
Article
The Solutrean techno-complex of southern France and the Iberian Peninsula is an impossible candidate as the "source" for either pre-Clovis or Clovis traditions in North America. Primarily this is because the Solutrean ended ca. 16,500-18,000 B.P. (at least 5,000 years before Clovis appeared) and was separated from the U.S. eastern seaboard by 5,000 km of ocean. In addition, there are major differences between the Solutrean and Clovis (and even more between it and "pre-Clovis") in terms of the composition of lithic and osseous technologies and with regard to evidence of artistic activity. Nor is there any evidence that Solutrean people had navigation, deep-sea fishing, or marine mammal hunting capacities which could have made a transatlantic crossing even conceivable. Furthermore, there is no evidence that people lived above about 48° N latitude in western Europe during the Last Glacial Maximum, making a "jumping-off" point from the (then largely glaciated) area of the current British Isles unlikely. The peopling of the Americas, even if the result of several "migrations," was from Asia.
Article
Early Paleoindian subsistence activities were not restricted to the procurement and processing of food. Likewise, studies of early Paleoindian subsistence cycles should not depend solely upon seasonality data from plant and animal remains. Geographic, geochronologic, geologic, and pedologic data obtained from the Emanon Pond site, an early Paleoindian workshop-habitation in northwestern New York state, are used to reconstruct the seasonality of stone procurement. In doing so, a more detailed picture of early Paleoindian subsistence cycles can be made.
Article
There are many trait-parallels between the Upper Palaeolithic of southwestern Europe and North America. They are present in the latter in four main areas, that of the Eskimo culture, Newfoundland, the St. Lawrence drainage and the Greater Southwest. Among the more important North American parallels are certain boats and house-types, bone pendants, design motifs, and representations of animals. These resemble paintings in Upper Palaeolithic caves or actual objects from Upper Palaeolithic sites in the Biscayan area and farther north, as well as in two caves on the southeast coast of Spain. There is also a close correspondance between the points of the Sandia culture of New Mexico and those of a Solutrean site at Montaut, southwest France; at least one heavily stylized pictograph in Lower California is directly descended from one specific painting at Castillo Cave, northwest Spain. Several other specific Southwestern traits are present in the St. Lawrence drainage, Newfoundland, and in the Upper Palaeolithic...
Book
Charles Darwin changed the course of scientific thinking by showing how evolution accounts for the stunning diversity and biological complexity of life on earth. Recently, there has also been increased interest in the social sciences in how Darwinian theory can explain human culture. Covering a wide range of topics, including fads, public policy, the spread of religion, and herd behavior in markets, Alex Mesoudi shows that human culture is itself an evolutionary process that exhibits the key Darwinian mechanisms of variation, competition, and inheritance. This cross-disciplinary volume focuses on the ways cultural phenomena can be studied scientifically - from theoretical modeling to lab experiments, archaeological fieldwork to ethnographic studies - and shows how apparently disparate methods can complement one another to the mutual benefit of the various social science disciplines. Along the way, this book reveals how new insights arise from looking at culture from an evolutionary angle. "Cultural Evolution" provides a thought-provoking argument that Darwinian evolutionary theory can both unify different branches of inquiry and enhance understanding of human behavior.
Article
a b s t r a c t The Topper site in the South Atlantic Coastal Plain of South Carolina provides a rare glimpse of the entire range of Clovis tool manufacture. Topper is a quarry-related site along the Savannah River with an outcrop of Coastal Plain chert and a buried Clovis component. This paper focuses on the 174 bifaces and diagnostic debitage from recent excavations to understand biface production at Topper. I present the process of manufacture then measure the variation in production characteristics at the site in terms of our current knowledge of Clovis biface technology. I conclude that Topper flintknappers used reduction strategies typical of Clovis-period tool production but created a biface assemblage with greater flexibility in design than documented at most other Clovis sites. This variation in biface production suggests greater variability in Clovis behavior across AmericadClovis groups adapted to local resource conditions and adjusted the organization of their technology accordingly.
Article
New pedological, geological, archaeological, and geochronological data from the Miles Point site in eastern Maryland are compared with similar data from other nearby sites to develop a framework for interpreting the upland stratigraphy in the western Delmarva Peninsula. Our results indicate the presence of two different intervals of loess deposition. The earlier loess (Miles Point Loess) was deposited between 41 and 25 ka. A paleosol (Tilghman Soil) formed in this loess was initially developed in grasslands and boreal environments during a subsequent period of landscape stability between 25 and 18 ka. Between 18 and 12.8 ka, the Miles Point Loess and the Tilghman Soil were eroded in many areas as evidenced by diagnostic ca. 12.8 ka Clovis-age artifacts lying unconformably on the Tilghman Soil. Cores adjacent to the deep channel area of the Chesapeake Bay confirm this erosional unconformity prior to 12.7 ka. A relatively uniform terminal-Pleistocene loess (Paw Paw), deposited prior to the Early Archaic period, buried Clovis-age lag artifacts and other archaeological remains older than 13.2 ka. Stratigraphic evidence from the Late Pleistocene lower Susquehanna River Valley suggests that the Paw Paw Loess is the result of eolian redeposition and reworking of non-glacial eroded upland sediments that filled the valley between 12.7 and 11.5 ka.
Article
Cores from South Africa assigned to the “Victoria West” industry have long been purported as a “proto-Levallois” core form, and thus regarded as ancestral to the Levallois prepared core technologies of the Middle Paleolithic and African Middle Stone Age. Similarities in form between Victoria West cores, in terms of surface morphology and the removal of large flakes from a prepared surface, led to hypothesized schemes of technological evolution from Victoria West cores through to fully developed Levallois cores. However, the phylogenetic basis of this Victoria West “proto-Levallois” hypothesis, and the assumptions of phylogenetic homology upon which it rests, have never been tested formally. In recent years, archaeologists have begun to use phylogenetic methods drawn from biology to test hypotheses of technological and cultural evolution. Here, the phylogenetic assumptions of the Victoria West “proto-Levallois” hypothesis are tested directly using a cladistic (maximum parsimony) protocol. The cladistic analyses indicate that Victoria West cores are not the basal sister taxon of a Levallois clade, as predicted by the proto-Levallois hypothesis. Moreover, character analyses demonstrate that several characters relating to core surfaces and flake scar morphology are not phylogenetically homologous, but result from convergent technological evolution within the Acheulean techno-complex. Post hoc analyses further determine that these results are not confounded by choice of outgroup or raw material factors. The results were also shown to be robust on the basis of the ensemble retention index statistic, bootstrap analyses, and permutation tests. Hence, it is concluded that Victoria West cores do not represent a “proto-Levallois” core form, and that the term “para-Levallois” should more correctly be applied on phylogenetic grounds. It is further argued that even in cases where different technologies are found to share phylogenetically homologous features, use of the term “proto” is questionable on theoretical grounds.
Article
North American archaeologists have spent much effort debating whether Early Paleoindian foragers were specialized hunters of megafauna or whether they pursued more generalized subsistence strategies. In doing so, many have treated the foraging practices of early North Americans as if they must have been uniform across the continent, even though others have pointed out that adaptations appear to have varied among groups inhabiting different kinds of environments. Resolving these issues fully requires referring to archaeofaunal data and evaluating those data critically. In this paper, we conduct such an evaluation of the existing Early Paleoindian faunal record, which we then use to test the hypothesis that early Americans across the continent specialized in the hunting of megafauna. After detailed attention is given to taphonomic issues, to the limited geographical distribution of sites with secure associations between humans and prey taxa, and to differences among sites in the roles that they likely played in settlement and subsistence systems, it becomes clear that the faunal record provides little support for the idea that all, or even any, Early Paleoindian foragers were megafaunal specialists. It does appear, however, that there was considerable variability in Early Paleoindian prey choice across the continent, which was likely related to variability in the environments that different groups inhabited.
Article
It is widely believed that the change from discoidal flake production to prismatic blade-making during the Middle–Upper Paleolithic transition in Europe led to enhanced technological efficiency. Specifically, blade-making is thought to promote higher rates of blank production, more efficient and complete reduction of the parent core, and a large increase in the total length of cutting edge per weight of stone. Controlled replication experiments using large samples, computer-assisted measurements, and statistical tests of several different measures failed to support any of these propositions. When resharpened, the use-life of flake edges actually surpasses that of blades of equivalent mass because the narrower blades are more rapidly exhausted by retouch. Our results highlight the need to replace static measurements of edge length that promote an illusion of efficiency with a more dynamic approach that takes the whole reduction sequence into account. An unexpected by-product of our replications was the discovery that real gains in cutting-edge length per weight of stone are linked to surface area. There is now a need to test the proposition that all the perceived advantages currently bestowed upon blades only occurred during the shift from macroblade to bladelet production. If our results are duplicated in further experiments, the notion of “economical” blades will have to be rejected and alternative explanations sought for their appearance in the early Upper Paleolithic. While Aurignacian bladelet (Dufour) production could signal the advent of composite tool technology (wooden handles or shafts with bladelet inserts), this does not help to explain why macroblades were also produced in large numbers. We may need to reexamine the notion that macroblades were of more symbolic than functional significance to their makers.
Article
Citing similarities in the shape and manufacture of stone tools found on both sides of the Atlantic, a pair of archaeologists argues that at least 20,000 years ago, at the height of the last ice age, people of the Solutrean culture of France and Spain made their way by foot and by boat along the edge of Atlantic ice sheets. Eventually, they reached the East Coast of North America, and so were the first to people the New World. This flies in the face of strong evidence, particularly from genetics, that points to Asian origins for the first Americans. So some researchers are outraged by the notion that the Solutrean hypothesis—which has been a decidedly minority view for decades—is still taken seriously.
Article
Recent analyses of mitochondrial genomes from Native Americans have brought the overall number of recognized maternal founding lineages from just four to a current count of 15. However, because of their relative low frequency, almost nothing is known for some of these lineages. This leaves a considerable void in understanding the events that led to the colonization of the Americas following the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). In this study, we identified and completely sequenced 14 mitochondrial DNAs belonging to one extremely rare Native American lineage known as haplogroup C4c. Its age and geographical distribution raise the possibility that C4c marked the Paleo-Indian group(s) that entered North America from Beringia through the ice-free corridor between the Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets. The similarities in ages andgeographical distributions for C4c and the previously analyzed X2a lineage provide support to the scenario of a dual origin for Paleo-Indians. Taking into account that C4c is deeply rooted in the Asian portion of the mtDNA phylogeny and is indubitably of Asian origin, the finding that C4c and X2a are characterized by parallel genetic histories definitively dismisses the controversial hypothesis of an Atlantic glacial entry route into North America.
Article
The Americas, the last continents to be entered by modern humans, were colonized during the late Pleistocene via a land bridge across what is now the Bering strait. However, the timing and nature of the initial colonization events remain contentious. The Asian origin of the earliest Americans has been amply established by numerous classical marker studies of the mid-twentieth century. More recently, mtDNA sequences, Y-chromosome and autosomal marker studies have provided a higher level of resolution in confirming the Asian origin of indigenous Americans and provided more precise time estimates for the emergence of Native Americans. But these data raise many additional questions regarding source populations, number and size of colonizing groups and the points of entry to the Americas. Rapidly accumulating molecular data from populations throughout the Americas, increased use of demographic models to test alternative colonization scenarios, and evaluation of the concordance of archaeological, paleoenvironmental and genetic data provide optimism for a fuller understanding of the initial colonization of the Americas.
Article
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Kentucky, 1983. Vita. Abstract ([1] leaf) bound with copy. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 237-241).