Prehistoric Knife Rebuts Historical Timeline of Settlers

Thursday, 01 Mar 2012 04:55 PM

By Marti Lotman

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The discovery of an 8-inch prehistoric tapered stone blade has stoked a debate spanning hundreds of years about who the first Americans were and when they got here, The Washington Post reports. Obviously, though, they weren’t the first Americans because their arrival pre-dated the United States by thousands of years.

Archaeologists historically have argued that North America was populated about 15,000 years ago — far before anybody was even around to call it North America. Folks from what eventually became Siberia walked or boated into the area where Alaska is now. Then they traveled southward along the West Coast.

But the stone blade discovered near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay on the East Coast appears to be 22,000 years old, which means that whoever made it beat the West Coast arrivals on this continent.

The blade most likely belongs to Europeans — obviously, pre-Europeans — who came over by boat, arriving on this continent thousands of years ahead of their pre-Siberian counterparts.

“I think it’s feasible,” said Tom Dillehay, archaeologist at Vanderbilt University. “The evidence is building up, and it certainly warrants discussion.”


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