In DepthArchaeology

Ancient site in Idaho implies first Americans came by sea

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  30 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6456, pp. 848-849
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6456.848

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Summary

About 16,000 years ago, on the banks of a river in western Idaho, people kindled fires, shaped stone blades and spearpoints, and butchered large mammals. All were routine activities in prehistory, but their legacy today is anything but. The charcoal and bone left at that ancient site, now called Cooper's Ferry, are some 16,000 years old—the oldest radiocarbon-dated record of human presence in North America. The findings shore up a new picture for how humans first arrived, by showing that people lived at Cooper's Ferry more than 1 millennium before melting glaciers opened an ice-free corridor through Canada about 14,800 years ago. That implies the first people in the Americas must have come by sea, moving rapidly down the Pacific coast and up rivers.

View Full Text