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Anthropology/Solutrean hypothesis Vr. Bering Strait


The Solutrean hypothesis VR.The Bering Strait theory, I wanted to know more about these and your view point on them.  I know one suggest migration through a land bridge and one suggest migration by sea.  Can you please provide me with more information on the subject?

Hi Jayde
The overwhelming majority of linguistic, genetic, paleontological and archaeological evidence point to dispersal of humans to the New World from Asia. Summaries of this hypothesis can be found in any good college-level archaeology/prehistory textbook.
There is a small number of scientists (basically Bruce Bradley and Dennis Stanford) who argue for a transatlantic dispersal from Europe.  Their main supporting evidence is perceived similarities between European Upper Paleolithic stone tools and stone tools from the Clovis and so-called Pre-Clovis sites in North America. Their hypothesis is presented in a recent book, Across Atlantic Ice.
Most other archaeologists interpret these similarities as arising independently among people using superficially similar ways of making stone tools.
My own view is that the two hypotheses are not mutually exclusive. Both may be right.  Out-of-Asia hypothesis is indisputably correct.  I have not yet seen a conclusive refutation of the transatlantic hypothesis (though I have seen some fairly convincing papers presented about this at meetings), so I keep an open mind.
John Shea


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John Shea


Questions about Old World prehistoric archaeology (especially Stone Age) of Europe, Africa, and Western Asia, prehistoric human and hominid behavior, primitive technology, origin of modern humans, extinction of the Neandertals. IMPORTANT: Between February 14 and September 01, 2014, I will be on sabbatical leave. During this time I will have limited access to email. This means that there may be very long periods (i.e., weeks) between your posting a question and my having time to answer it.


>20 years as a professional anthropologist based at a research university.

Journal of Field Archaeology, Journal of Archaeological Science, Lithic Technology, Evolutionary Anthropology, Current Anthropology, Mitekufat HaEven (Journal of the Israel Prehistoric Society), Paléorient, Annual of the Department of Antiquities of Jordan, American Anthropologist, Geoarchaeology.

Ph.D (Anthropology) Harvard University, 1991.
BA (Archaeology) Boston University, 1982.

Awards and Honors
Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer 2012-2014

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