America’s Cultural Beginnings

Written by Alana Jolley

September 9, 2014

America’s Cultural Beginnings

America’s cultural beginnings have been the subject of debates over several centuries. Archaeologists today continue the search for cultural remains in the Americas in order to bring about more evidence of how the New World became populated. A 2014 article in Archaeology Magazine pointed out that nearly a billion people now reside in the New World, yet they only began to arrive here 16,000-20,000 years ago. How they came here is another much heated debate.

Common Hypotheses

The most common hypothesis for the populating of these vast territories has been that early hunter-gatherers walked across the land bridge of Beringia from Siberia to Alaska some 12,000 years ago. The next most common hypothesis, which seems to concur with the latter is that of the Clovis culture, based on Clovis Points.

Who are the Others?

What are Clovis Points? They are cultural artifacts, first discovered in Clovis, New Mexico, but found elsewhere as well. Scholars have long thought that Clovis Points are part of a toolkit, which belong to the first people who came to America.  Current information, and new technology, has brought to light that others may have been here before the Clovis peoples. And not only that, the others may have come by boat, rather than by foot! Does that mean American Indians were not the first to inhabit the New World?

The Clovis Points pictured above were found in Utah. They show the dynamics of percussion flaking, which Clovis Points are known for. The unique technique of Clovis culture has been copied by “flintknappers” of today, but is extremely difficult to duplicate. If the Clovis people, who made these points, were not the first then who? Why do America’s cultural beginnings continue to intrigue us?

The Americas are detailed in the Global Villages courses; but you can Explore More! here.



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