Ancient Portable Tool Kit Shows Humans Settled North America Much Earlier Than Scientists Thought

Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 13:31 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Pre-Clovis Toolkit A sample of pre-Clovis tools found in central Texas, dating to 15,500 years ago. Scientists say the trove of tools and toolmaking supplies could finally prove the Clovis people were not the first Americans. Courtesy Michael R. Waters A prehistoric mobile toolkit buried in milky creek sediments in central Texas shows humans first settled North America 2,500 years earlier than previously thought. The finding could shatter the prevailing theory of paleo-American settlement, which holds that people left northeast Asia via a land bridge through the Bering Strait and settled the continent 13,000 years ago. Archaeologists excavating the Debra L. Friedkin site at Buttermilk Creek, about 40 miles northwest of Austin, found ancient human artifacts spanning 15,500 years, according to a paper published today in the journal Science. The artifacts were buried in neatly stacked cake-like layers of sediment, with little or no mixing between the layers, scientists said. "People were...

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