News & AnalysisArchaeology

Critics Assail Notion That Europeans Settled Americas

Science  16 Mar 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6074, pp. 1289-1290
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6074.1289

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Summary

Citing similarities in the shape and manufacture of stone tools found on both sides of the Atlantic, a pair of archaeologists argues that at least 20,000 years ago, at the height of the last ice age, people of the Solutrean culture of France and Spain made their way by foot and by boat along the edge of Atlantic ice sheets. Eventually, they reached the East Coast of North America, and so were the first to people the New World. This flies in the face of strong evidence, particularly from genetics, that points to Asian origins for the first Americans. So some researchers are outraged by the notion that the Solutrean hypothesis—which has been a decidedly minority view for decades—is still taken seriously.