When Did Humans Come to the Americas?

cactus hill virginiaThis article (and photo of a Cactus Hill, Va. archaeology dig) in the current Smithsonian online magazine proves quite interesting.  It has been widely accepted for a number of years that the Clovis point people were the original inhabitants of America and that they crossed over Beringia about 12,000 or 13,000 years ago.  Some people push that date somewhat earlier, but not by much.  DNA evidence collected in contemporary Native people from the Americas also indicates a common ancestor about that same time, from Asian, so that information confirms the Clovis data as well.  So we have a nicely tied package….or do we?

There has always been a fringe of people who believe or at least proposed that another group of people, called the Solutreans, who arrived from Europe 10,000 years or so before the Clovis people were the first “Native people.”  Their artifacts are found in pre-Clovis sites, meaning before the Clovis were here, or at least before we believe they were here, based on numerous kinds of archaeology dating from known Clovis sites.

That theory is getting a new review as more sites come to light and dating technology develops into a more exacting science.

The Smithsonian wrote what I feel is a very balanced article on this matter.  This topic really isn’t resolved and the jury is clearly still out.  Emotions in the scientific field and in some Native communities run very strong regarding this topic, and many viewpoints have been set forth that are biased in their information presented and opinions.

I look forward to new information which will help us better understand our ancestors and the landscape in which they lived.

Be sure to click on the photo gallery in this story for artifact, location and map images.


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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3 Responses to When Did Humans Come to the Americas?

  1. Susi Pentico says:

    Wondering if DNA type testing will confirm the age of the peoples? Then maybe they can determine more. I have links to five tribes. Still proving three if it can ever be done. I debated doing the 23&Me tests and finallly signed up because the FTdna did not show anything but did for my Aunt. I know female to female or male to male and mine is not so lucky. I was male to male until me on one line. Yes, I did my nephews’ data but he already had an Indian/German mother.
    His grandfather was full blooded CA Indian his Gmom on other side was German.

    • I think the answer is no, but I’m not positive I understand the questions “the age of the peoples.” If you mean how far back, the answer is yes until about 7 generations, give or take. If past that, then no.

  2. Tapp says:

    Recent Genographic 2.0 results lends credence to the migration path of the Solutrean theory. Very interesting.

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