News of the WeekArchaeology

Traces of Ancient Mariners Found in Peru

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Science  18 Sep 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5384, pp. 1775-1777
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5384.1775

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Archaeologists' traditional view of the peopling of the Americas holds that the first inhabitants were the big game hunters called Clovis people, whose ancestors crossed the Bering land bridge and swept southward through the Americas perhaps 11,200 years ago. But dates as early as 12,500 years ago at a site in Chile have raised questions about this model, and many researchers have speculated that the first Americans set the pattern for later immigrants by arriving by boat, leaving few traces of their journey. Now on pages 1830 and 1833, two independent research teams report finding the first hard evidence, albeit indirect, for the maritime settlement theory, revealing an ancient maritime culture in South America about 11,000 years ago.