Solutrean and Clovis

John Hawks complains about the hype around the book by Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley’s long-awaited book Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America’s Clovis Culture. Posing as an honest academic only interested in facts and not hype, Hawks writes “There is no new evidence, no revelation, no reason why other archaeologists should revisit this issue at this time” and then begs for “somebody reputable” to review this and give a serious account of the book’s claims. If there’s no new evidence, then why ask someone to write a review of the book? If you dislike hype, then why look for someone “reputable”? Clearly Hawks is nervous, as the consensus is getting shaken. He goes as far as quibble about California Press’s missed deadlines: “I went to Amazon to see if there was a Kindle version of the book for me to review. But there isn’t a Kindle edition. So I thought, OK, I’ll order the hardback. But Amazon doesn’t have it in stock.” Well, the book is on Amazon now and, John, you can always place an online request for a Kindle edition.

Although I’m skeptical about a Solutrean route to the Americas, the book does a good job identifying the archaeological reasons why Clovis couldn’t have come from Asia. It shatters the belief, on which original population genetics trees were, arguably, based, that Amerindians are an offshoot of a Siberian population. Since the science of human origins is going through a turmoil thanks to the influx of data disproving the Complete Replacement Out-of-Africa model, it’s imperative to maintain certainty at least when it comes to the Recent Beringian model for the peopling of the Americas, the myth which is the the only one that remains standing as a major and absolute success of positivist science in unraveling modern human prehistory. Realizing that the science of human origins needs to defend the traditional time and route of entry into the Americas at all costs, John Hawks ends his post by listing 6 most recent monographs on the “peopling of the Americas” trying to keep his readers busy with every other book but not the Stanford and Bradley one.

John Hawks and others need to get used to the fact that science is not so much an exercise in maintaining the monopoly of one single theory (in this Clovis-I) over data but the systematic diversification of theories in search of truth. In some respects the Solutrean theory is wrong, in others it’s right. Hawks wants “someone reputable” to review Across Atlantic Ice. How about someone knowledgeable and objective review the archaeology behind the overhyped claim that American Indians came from Siberia 12,000 years ago? As the Buttermilk Complex (15,500 BP) proves, Clovis did not originate in Siberia or Alaska, but rather in a southern area of North America. And apparently this lithic technology moved north to Alaska and Northeast Asia to mix with local microblade traditions, as more recent Mesa, Serpentine Hot Springs Site and Uptar fluted projectile points demonstrate. So, for the Recent Bering Strait theory to hold, one needs a trail of sites with specific technological cues that will connect Siberia with Buttermilk in pre-Clovis times? No such trail has been found, and the 6 books that Hawks referenced are outdated and are no help in solving the riddle of the peopling of the New World.