Monday, June 25, 2018

Clovis Was A Culture That Lasted Only 300 Years

The initial dating of Clovis culture objects found in a grave with remains from a Clovis individual in Montana had indicated that the remains were much younger than the artifacts buried with the individual. (Ancient DNA shows that the individual is closely related to modern populations.) An effort to re-date the artifacts and the remains, however, found that they coincided in date as expected because a technical issue hadn't been addressed properly the first time.
"The human remains and Clovis artifacts can now be confidently shown to be the same age and date between 12,725 to 12,900 years ago," Waters notes. "This is right in the middle to the end of the Clovis time period which ranges from 13,000 to 12,700 years ago.
Most striking to me is a point that is a mere background footnote in this story. The Clovis culture which left distinctive artifacts across North America lasted only 300 years. Also, it began many centuries after the first archaeologically established evidence of modern humans in the New World. And, it generally progressed from East to West.

This culture coincided with the Younger Dryas period of abrupt climate change, which (contrary to overly skeptical statements at Wikipedia) was probably caused by an extraterrestrial impact in North America ca. 12900 years before present. Whether this abrupt climate change event caused the Clovis culture, or ended it, isn't entirely clear.

The source paper for the linked story is:

Lorena Becerra-Valdivia, et al., "Reassessing the chronology of the archaeological site of Anzick." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 201803624 (2018) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1803624115


NeilB said...

Dear Andrew shouldn't the sentence: "Also, it began many centuries after the first archaeologically established evidence of modern humans in the New World." read many tens of thousands of years instead?
We have quite a number of sites human occupation confirmed as far older. For instance: 1. The Cerutti site in California (130,000BP), Pendejo Cave (55,000), Topper (>50,000BP), Pedra Furada (48,000BP) Burnham, Oklahoma (41,000BP), El Cedral (37,000), Arroyo V Monte Verde (33,000BP), Meadowcroft (31,000BP), Arroyo del VizcaĆ­no (30,000BP), Santa Elina (25,000), Tlapacoya (25,000BP), Blue Fish Caves (25,000BP), Lovewell (18,000BP) and Buttermilk Creek (18,000BP).
I have asked you what your opinion concerning these facts is before, without reply. Would you care to express an opinion, now? Or are one of those commentators that have moved from the 'Clovis first' camp to the equally ridiculous 'Beringian Standstill' hypothesis? NeilB

andrew said...

I don't consider any of the much older sites to be credible in methodology or well established. Blue Fish Caves is Beringia and more credible. I was never Clovis first. Beringian Standstill is I think quite credible.

andrew said...

A prior post on the subject is here: