Clovis-Solutrean links surface once again

1 Mar 2012

At (David Keys, Feb 28th) new archaeological evidence has been found to support the Clovis-Solutrean connection. Stone tools dating from between 26,000 and 19,000 years ago have been found at six locations near the coast of North America. Three of them are in Maryland and one of them was dredged up from the sea bed by a scallop fisherman, 60 miles out of Virginia. In the period in question this would have been dry land, as the whole of the continental shelf system off eastern US. These discoveries are fact not theory. The original hypothesis of a link between Clovis and Solutrean tools was quietly put to bed a couple of years ago but the new findings come from archaeological excavations and date much earlier than Clovis - bringing them into chronological contemporeignty with the Solutrean (known primarily from Iberia and SW France). Further, chemical analysis of a stone knife found in Virginia has revealed it was made from flint with an origin in France. It is thought Solutrean people travelled by boat to North America at the height of the Late Glacial Maximum, by moving along the edge of the ice sheet - or even across the ice (Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley have a book out shortly, Across Atlantic Ice). During the Late Glacial Maximum a large area of the North Atlantic was covered in ice for all or part of the year - the polar front was as far south as northern Iberia. The theory is that the edge of the ice sheet was rich in marine life that hunting groups in boats may have followed - such as seals, sea birds, fish, and the great auk. Unfortunately, the argument is then made that proof of humans in NE Siberia and Alaska at the same point in time is lacking so the Solutreans must have pre-dated people from the other side of the Bering Strait. This is somewhat small minded as we don't know - the region is cold and permafrost prevents digging holes in the ground. Velikovsky claimed human artifacts were found in Alaska muck deposits and there is evidence that men in boats were plying the Arctic Ocean as during the Late Glacial Maximum the region, including the continental shelf of what is known as Beringia, now submerged, was unglaciated and relatively warm - in comparison with the situation nowadays. It would have been more interesting to think in terms of humans entering North America from both directions - even during the Ice Age.