One of the greatest virtues of science and the scientific method lies not in the many points of agreement and common ground but rather in the places where there isn’t agreement and how competing hypotheses can be understood, discussed, tested and, ultimately, either proven or dis-proven. As it has often been said about the making of laws, this process can be a bit messy, but it certainly seems to beat out any of the alternatives.
This brings us to how people understand how humans originally came to North America. As said by Nature, in their capsule review of Across Atlantic Ice: “North America’s first peoples were long thought to be Asians who migrated over the Bering land bridge some 12,000 years ago, bringing with them the tools of the Clovis culture. Now archaeologists Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley have radically recast the story. Drawing on climatic, genetic and archaeological evidence, they argue that the roots of Clovis culture rest in the Solutrean people of Spain and France, who sent some of their number across the Atlantic in boats 18,000 years ago.”
Their book, Across Atlantic Ice, has generated a number of very well thought through reviews, all positive enough to warrant the publisher spreading them far and wide:
The capsule review from Nature
What most interested me, and the reason I opened this post the way I did, was this response from non other than Joel Achenbach expressing doubt over the Solutrean hypothesis. What I find most encouraging in it is how he closes the piece:
“Show me some skeletons, or at least some teeth. Show me some campfires, some well-dated artifacts, maybe the favorite comfy chair of the Top Dawg Solutrean. Come on, persuade me.” You’ll want to read the entire thing.
Stay tuned, folks. This issue is bound to only get more interesting as it develops.