Archaeologists have long held the belief that the Clovis People were the first to arrive and settle in the Americas, however, this assumption is no longer the case in light of the growing evidence. The reason for this assumption was that no contrary evidence had been found to cast doubt on the Clovis being first. Of course, the theory was that the Clovis people crossed the landbridge that existed (more than once) between Siberia and Alaska during the last Ice Age and made their way southward via an ice-free corridor that existed at the time in Alaska and Western Canada.
Then in 2011 studies began to emerge challenging the Clovis First hypothesis. One such study took place at Buttermilk Creek, Texas where a prominent group of researchers claimed to have established the existence of a pre-Clovis culture. New C14 dates obtained by the researchers at Texas A&M University put the Clovis Culture in a shorter time frame beginning 450 years later than thought (13,200 kya to 12,900 kya). Most researchers now hold the view that the Clovis First hypothesis was wrong.
In 2015 another study undertaken by a number of researchers concluded that even though the theorized ice-free corridor in Western Canada was thought to be the entry point for the first Americans their research suggested that this ice-free corridor opened too late for the Clovis People to have passed through. These researchers suggested that by 10 kya the ice-free corridor in Alberta, Canada and British Columbia was gradually overtaken by Boreal Forest dominated by spruce and pine trees and that the Clovis people most likely CAME FROM THE SOUTH not the north possibly via following wild animals like bison!
There are also other discoveries over the years that have challenged the Clovis First hypothesis. One site was in Pedra Furada, Brazil which was dated between 10.5-12 kya and possibly greater than 50 kya but these dates were strongly disputed by other researchers. Another site was in Monte Verde, Chile which was dated between 18.5-14.8 kya and yet another was found at Taima-Taima, Venezuela dated at 14 kya. Other sites in South America are: Lapa do Boquete, Brazil dated at about 12 kya, El Abra in Columbia dated at about 11.7 kya, and the Tagua-Taugua site in Chile dated at around 11.4 kya.
In North America sites predating Clovis Culture include the Meadowcroft site in Rockshelter, PA dated at 16 kya, the Cactus Hill site in Virginia dated at about 15 kya, the Saltville site in Virginia dated at 14.5 kya, the Connley Caves site in Oregon dated at 13 kya, the Page-Ladson Prehistory site located in Florida dated at 15-14 kya, Paisley Caves in Oregon dated at 14.3 kya, the Tanana Valley site in Alaska dated between 13-14 kya, the Nenana Valley site in Alaska dated at about 12 kya, and as of now the Bluefish Caves site in the Yukon dated at 24 kya.
Some theorists believe pre-Clovis people migrated southward along the North American coastline while others argue that there were likely multiple migration routes. Continue Reading