Archaeologist hopes artifacts will reveal what may be first Americans
Copyright c 1999 Nando Media
Copyright c 1999 Associated Press
COLUMBIA, S.C. (May 10, 1999 7:00 p.m. EDT http://www.nandotimes.com) - More than 12,000 years ago, a group of early Americans on a bluff above the Savannah River chipped stone into tools. Last year, University of South Carolina archaeology professor Albert C. Goodyear led a team that discovered the fruits of that work.
Goodyear's findings stirred national interest and echoed findings in South America, Virginia and Pennsylvania that raised fundamental questions about where the first Americans came from.
Goodyear tried to use radio carbon methods to date last year's findings, but the tests weren't conclusive. This year, Goodyear will go back to the site and try to use other methods to figure out the age of an early spear head, blade fragments and a flake tool that was probably used for wood or bone carving.
"The little tiny blades look very much like you see in Siberia," Goodyear said.
Goodyear found the artifacts more than a yard below material left by the Clovis culture. The Clovis culture is believed to have come to North America about 12,000 years ago. The mammoth hunting culture gets it name from a New Mexico site where spear points were found.
The little blades raise big questions that Goodyear wants to begin to answer. Populations could have migrated one or two times and come from Europe as well as Siberia. "All of the sudden the ball game is wide open for human history in the Western hemisphere," Goodyear said.
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