Strangers in a New Land: What Archaeology Reveals About The First Americans by J. AdovasioStrangers in a New Land: What Archaeology Reveals About The First Americans by J. Adovasio

Strangers in a New Land: What Archaeology Reveals About The First Americans

byJ. Adovasio, David Pedler

Hardcover | September 15, 2016

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This beautifully illustrated book will be the standard work on the subject for a generation.
-- Brian Fagan, University of California, Santa Barbara

An entertaining, authoritative, and up-to-date review of one of the most contentious issues in archaeology today: the early peopling of the Americas.
-- Ian Tattersall, American Museum of Natural History

The migration of Homo sapiens into the Americas remains to this day a contentious subject amongst archaeologists. Strangers in a New Land represents a clear, interesting and well documented review of the arguments from all sides about how and when migrants came to the New World, where they came from, and what they were doing.
-- Aldona Jonaitis, University of Alaska Museum of the North

In Strangers in a New Land, the authors tell the absorbing story of the first people to explore and colonize the Americas at the end of the last Ice Age with captivating discussions of key concepts and descriptions of the most important First American sites from Alaska to South America. This is a book for anyone interested in learning about the first intrepid people who explored and settled the New World.
-- Michael Waters, Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A and M University

Strangers in a New Land is a profound and challenging account of an intensely controversial subject, the first human occupation of the New World, written by an acknowledged master.
-- Tom Dillehay, Vanderbilt University

Where did Native Americans come from and when did they first arrive? Several lines of evidence, most recently genetic, have firmly established that all Native American populations originated in eastern Siberia.

For many years, the accepted version of New World prehistory held that people arrived in the Western Hemisphere around 13,000 years ago. This consensus, called "Clovis First," has been increasingly challenged by discoveries at numerous archaeological sites throughout North and South America and is now widely considered to be outdated.

The latest findings have convinced most archaeologists that people came to the Western Hemisphere thousands of years prior to Clovis. There is credible evidence of a human presence in the Americas dating to 19,000 years ago and perhaps as early as 38,000 years ago. The prehistory of the very earliest arrivals into the New World is the subject of Strangers in a New Land.

This book documents 35 Clovis and Folsom sites, disputed pre-Clovis sites, legitimate pre-Clovis sites and controversial pre-Clovis sites. This covers an area that stretches from Bluefish Cave, Canada, 70 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle to Monte Verde, Chile, 14,000 kilometers south of Bering Straits. The discovery and history of each site is accompanied by photographs, maps and diagrams that illustrate the excavations and chronicle the evidence of human activity. Strangers in a New Land brings these findings together for the first time in language accessible to the general reader.

An excellent selection for physical and cultural anthropology, archaeology and prehistory collections.

J. M. Adovasio has overseen over four decades of archaeological research at the renowned Meadowcroft Rockshelter, one of the best dated pre-Clovis sites in the Western Hemisphere. Adovasio is author of over 250 journal articles and five books, including, with Olga Soffer, The Invisible Sex: Uncovering the True Roles of Women in Prehi...
Title:Strangers in a New Land: What Archaeology Reveals About The First AmericansFormat:HardcoverDimensions:352 pages, 11 × 9 × 1.13 inPublished:September 15, 2016Publisher:Firefly BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1770853634

ISBN - 13:9781770853638

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1 FOLSOM Location: Union County, New Mexico, United States Coordinates: 36 degrees 52'54.05"N, 104 degrees 4'16.13"W. Elevation: 1,948 meters above mean sea level. Discovery: George McJunkin in 1908. While Folsom is one of the best-known Paleoindian sites in American archaeology, after over eighty years of archaeological investigation much remains unknown about the Paleoindians who hunted now extinct bison there. The Folsom site provided the first definitive evidence that humans shared the New World landscape with and hunted extinct Late Pleistocene animals, in this case Bison antiquus, and has been called "the place that forever changed American archaeology" by noted authority on the site David Meltzer. Folsom also serves as the complex's type site, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the site where objects or materials regarded as defining the characteristics of a particular period were found." The Folsom complex was a cultural manifestation that endured for about 700 years and whose range extended from the Rocky Mountains to the central Great Plains, from central Texas to just south of the Canadian border. The Folsom site is located in the northeastern corner of New Mexico near the Colorado border, about 15 kilometers west of the village of Folsom and about 200 kilometers northeast of Santa Fe, on the southwestern reaches of the Great Plains about 100 kilometers east of the Rocky Mountains. The site lies principally on the southern bank of Wild Horse Arroyo (also known as Dead Horse Arroyo), a narrow, ephemeral tributary of the Dry Cimarron River which in turn is a tributary of the Arkansas River and, ultimately, the Mississippi. The regional physiography is dominated by volcanic landforms and large flat-topped mesas that are divided by several major river systems and interspersed with grasslands and open woodlands. [Figure 1.1] The river valleys generally trend from west to east and, along with several mountain passes currently used by modern highways, would have provided ready human and animal access to the region from the High Plains to the east. During Folsom times, the climate appears to have been drier and cooler than today with fairly snowy winters. Although tree species were probably similar to those present today, it appears that vegetation was more open with abundant grass- and shrub-covered parkland, scattered wetlands, ponds, and lakes. These conditions would have made the region attractive to bison, but apart from the prospects for hunting, not altogether attractive to humans. There were no sources for nearby toolstone, few springs, and few edible plants to distinguish the site's immediate area from adjacent, more ecologically diverse places. The site's attraction, in other words, was primarily its position in a landscape dominated by a topography that helped to channel people and animals around impassable, steeper areas such as mesas and volcanoes. The Folsom site is widely believed to have been discovered by a cowboy named George McJunkin sometime after a destructive and deadly 1908 flash flood of Wild Horse Arroyo exposed bison bones on the eroded arroyo floor. [Figure 1.2] The site had remained known only to avocational naturalists until early in 1926, when Jesse Dade Figgins and Harold Cook of the Colorado Museum of Natural History in Denver visited the site in the interest of recovering a bison skeleton for display. After about a month's excavation, this presumed exclusively paleontological site became an archaeological locality with the discovery of a Folsom point, followed by a second point a month after that. Neither of these artifacts was found actually embedded in bison remains. Upon presenting Smithsonian curator Ales Hrdlicka with his finds in early 1927, Figgins was advised that he should halt excavation and invite the inspection of "outside scientists" to confirm the recovery of any embedded (and therefore indisputably associated) artifacts that might be encountered in the future. Several Folsom points embedded between the ribs of extinct bison were subsequently recovered from the site during the 1927 and 1928 field seasons (the latter conducted in collaboration between the Colorado Museum of Natural History and the American Museum of Natural History). Visits by elite scholars ultimately confirmed the site as, minimally, a very Late Pleistocene bison kill. [Figures 1.3 and 1.4] But some significant questions remained. In the absence of radiocarbon dating, which would not be available for another twenty years, the site's age remained unknown and only broad estimates (ranging from "thousands of years" old to 20,000-15,000 yr BP) could made by the excavators. Additionally, because the excavation methods of the time employed only very crude measurement techniques and the project was primarily focused on removal of the bones rather than precisely documenting the site, the lay of the land at the time of the site's formation also remained unknown. [Figure 1.5] Had the site been a streambed, marsh, pond, lake during the Late Pleistocene? No one could say. Despite its international acclaim and pivotal role in a watershed moment of American archaeology, the Folsom site remained curiously absent from scholarly publications following the brief flourish of mostly superficial treatments that appeared immediately after its discovery. The reporting of subsequently discovered Folsom sites--there are now at least forty-five localities recorded on the Great Plains and in the Rocky Mountains--had essentially eclipsed the type site until 1997, when archaeologists at Southern Methodist University in Dallas returned to the site with a major multidisciplinary research project. The Southern Methodist University work was conducted over the course of three field seasons (1997-1999), periodic brief site visits thereafter (2000-2004), and several years of laboratory investigations, culminating in the publication of an outstanding monograph in 2006, Folsom: New Archaeological Investigations of a Classic Paleoindian Bison Kill. The project team, led by David Meltzer, sought to (1) determine whether intact bone deposits remained, (2) determine whether a Folsom-age camp or habitation site was present, and (3) elucidate the site's stratigraphy, chronology, and paleoenvironment. The project also sought to integrate its approach, methods, and findings with those carried out at the site some seventy years earlier and by Vance Haynes and his colleagues in the 1970s under the auspices of the Folsom Ecology Project. Newly excavated portions of the site covered about 375 square meters over the course of the Southern Methodist University project, and questions concerning the site's stratigraphy and formation were addressed via extensive sedimentological coring, augering, and geophysical studies. The new work at the site demonstrated that the Folsom site landscape had undergone considerable geological alteration since late glacial times, and that a thick layer of more-recent sediments overlays and masks the former Late Pleistocene landscape. [Figure 1.6] The site's stratigraphy is composed of three discrete formations which include, from top to bottom, the Wildhorse (a relatively thin, recent deposit that is no older than 700 years), the McJunkin (a 2-meter thick Holocene deposit that dates from about 7950-7580 yr BP to 5320-4860 yr BP), and the Folsom (a 2-meter thick Holocene through Late Pleistocene deposit that dates from about 15,150-13,790 yr BP to 10,510- 10,250 yr BP). The bison bones and Folsom artifacts recovered from the site occurred within the middle of three Folsom formation subdivisions, named f2, which was radiocarbon dated to an unhelpfully broad range of about 13,440-13,270 yr BP to 11,720-11,280 yr BP, a span which is about three times the presently known duration of the Folsom complex. Obtaining a more precise date for of the Folsom-age bone bed within the f2 deposit was partly achieved by modeling the site's topography as it appeared in the Late Pleistocene. [Figure 1.7] Sediment co

Table of Contents


Landfall at Guanahani
From Where Did They Come?
How Did They Get Here?
When Did They Get Here?
What Were They Doing?



    1. Folsom, New Mexico
    2. Blackwater Draw, New Mexico
    3. Lehner, Murray Springs, and Naco, Arizona
    4. Shoop, Pennsylvania
    5. Shawnee-Minisink, Pennsylvania
    6. Kimmswick Bone Bed, Missouri
    7. Bonfire Shelter, Texas
    8. Central Alaska (Broken Mammoth, Dry Creek, Swan Point, and Walker Road), Alaska
    9. El Fin del Mundo, Mexico


    10. Old Crow, Yukon, Canada
    11. Calico Mountain, California
    12. Pendejo Cave, New Mexico
    13. Tule Springs, Nevada
    14. Pedra Furada, Piauí, Brazil


    15. Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Pennsylvania
    16. Monte Verde, Llanquihue, Chile
    17. Cactus Hill, Virginia
    18. Paisley Five Mile Point Caves, Oregon
    19. Schaefer and Hebior Mammoth, Wisconsin
    20. Buttermilk Creek, Texas (Debra L. Friedkin and Gault)


    21. Topper, South Carolina
    22. Saltville, Virginia
    23. Taima-taima, Venezuela, and Tibitó, Columbia
    24. Bluefish Caves, Yukon, Canada

Radiocarbon Dating
Part One and Coda Notes
Sources for Part Two Site Entries

Editorial Reviews

This large format book is lavishly illustrated and written for the general reader, and the in-depth description of the thirty-five key early sites is the first of its kind. It is a must-read book for all of us, archaeologists and lay people alike, who are interested in the story of how the Americas were colonized.