fighting back

5 October 2015
Archaeology

At http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/fall-2015/article/the-iceman-cometh … the geneticists have been having it all their own way recently as far as the origins of Native Americans are concerned – they all came from Siberia. However, just as tweaking the genetic information has revealed that some South Americans have Austro-Melanesian genes, we now have Dennis Stanford, who claims a link between Clovis Points and Solutrean stone tools from Ice Age western Europe, still not willing to concede defeat to the big guns. His theory was smeared from the outset by the suggestion that it was racist to even think ancient Europeans reached N America in the remote past. Why scientists should resort to such posturing makes you wonder if his theory had more substance than mainstream allows. The Clovis First group have proved to be extraordinarily powerful as a pusher of science consensus thinking and they appear to wish to remain in control of the situation – which means debunking, in any way they can, alternative theories. One suspects they have some strong personalities, or control freaks, at the helm.

Having said that Dennis Stanford is now elderly and presumably not up to extensive field work but that does not detract from his idea that Palaeolithic people from Spain were able to make their way along the bottom of the sea ice in order to cross the Atlantic. After all, during the height of the Little Ice Age, when sea ice covered the ocean around Iceland (now free of such hindrances) Eskimos were able to paddle their kyaks and reach as far west as Scotland. Therefore people who say it is impossible for the Solutreans to have done the same thing, in similar animal skin boats, are whistling in the wind and showing their prejudice – not the thinking part of their heads.

It is also worth noting any genetic link between the population of North America and Europe would be via the Mesolithic and Palaeolithic people and not the later, and more numerous, farming communities, as these are of mixed ancestry. So in a way, Europeans are not related to Native Americans – only in the sense that genes of Palaeolithic people have been overwhelmed by later arrivals in both parts of the world.

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