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Timeline of first human migration into America challenged again

Recent archaeological discoveries in Maryland have the potential to significantly alter our understanding of when early humans in “The Great Migration” first reached America.

A geologist from the Smithsonian Institution has unearthed artifacts suggesting that humans inhabited North America 7,000 years earlier than previously believed.

Chesapeake Bay clues on migration in America

In the Chesapeake Bay area, Darrin Lowery and his team discovered 286 ancient artifacts on Parsons Island.

Among these, the oldest artifacts were found embedded in charcoal, dating back more than 22,000 years.

This new evidence challenges the widely accepted theory that humans first populated America around 15,000 years ago.

The team uncovered tools jammed into the sediment, which they dated to uncover when the artifacts were made. Photo: Darren Lowery

The discovery of these ancient artifacts suggests that humans may have inhabited North America much earlier than previously believed.

Lowery and his team have spent over a decade excavating Parsons Island. During this time, they have uncovered ancient stone tools in sediment layers, which were dated using preserved pollen and microfossils.

These findings suggest that humans may have been present in the region during the last glacial maximum, the coldest period of the Ice Age.

Reassessing “The Great Migration” theory

The prevailing theory, known as “The Great Migration,” posits that humans crossed from Asia to America via the Bering Strait Bridge around 15,000 years ago.

These early migrants are believed to have traveled southward, leaving behind stone projectile points, known as Clovis points. Genetic studies of Native American ancestors have supported this timeline.

However, the discovery of these ancient tools in Maryland suggests that humans may have settled in the area much earlier.

Lowery believes that Maryland could represent a Clovis Point, a significant marker in the history of human migration.

A lifelong pursuit

Lowery’s interest in Parsons Island began at the age of nine when he found ancient flint tools along the shoreline. Since then, he has made numerous visits to the island, uncovering a trove of ancient tools.

In 2013, his team discovered a leaf-shaped prehistoric stone tool protruding from a cliff, dating back more than 20,000 years.

Controversies on human migration in America

These findings have sparked new questions about how early humans arrived in Maryland and their relation to Native American ancestors.

Additionally, the exact number of migration waves and their impact on America’s history remain topics of ongoing research.

Furthermore, Parsons Island now joins a growing list of pre-Clovis sites that challenge the ‘Clovis First’ theory, which asserts that the first humans reached the Americas about 13,000 years ago.

Accurate dating of such sites is complex due to sediment shifts over time, which can make layers appear older than they are.

Supporting evidence from New Mexico

Additional evidence from New Mexico supports the possibility of an earlier human presence in America.

British and American archaeologists discovered footprints in White Sands National Park, dating back to between 21,000 and 23,000 years ago.

These prints, preserved in soft mud, were dated using radiocarbon dating of seed layers above and below the tracks.

Ongoing debate on early human migration

While Lowery’s discoveries in Maryland suggest a significant revision of the timeline for human arrival in America, further research is needed to confirm these findings.

The debate over the origins and migration of early humans in America continues, with each new discovery adding to our understanding of this complex history.

The tools found in Maryland, along with the footprints in New Mexico, provide compelling evidence that humans may have been present in North America much earlier than previously thought.

As researchers continue to unearth and analyze these ancient artifacts, our understanding of the early history of the Americas will undoubtedly evolve.

Purpose behind human migration in America

Ancient humans likely migrated to America in search of new resources, food, and better living conditions.

Climate changes, such as the end of the Last Ice Age, made certain regions more habitable and accessible. The pursuit of game and fertile land would have driven groups to explore new territories.

Additionally, social and environmental pressures in their original habitats could have pushed them to seek new areas.

The availability of a land bridge, like the Bering Strait, provided a feasible route for migration. These factors combined would have encouraged ancient humans to venture into and settle in the Americas.


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