Archaeologists have discovered what is potentially the oldest weapon ever found in North America: eleven spearheads dating back about 15,500…
Archaeologists have discovered what is potentially the oldest weapon ever found in North America: eleven spearheads dating back about 15,500 years ago find a new study.
If the discovery, located about 40 miles northwest of Austin, Texas, can be verified, it can strengthen the argument that people settled in America earlier than previously thought. But not all experts are convinced of the evidence, with some saying that the computer technicians used are unconventional.
The stony ground tips, measuring up to 4 inches long, are so old they preceded the Clovis people, who for decades are believed to be the first people to fill America. [In Photos: New Clovis Site in Sonora]
“There is no doubt that these weapons were used for hunting in the area at that time,” Michael Waters, a distinguished professor of anthropology and director of the First American Studies at Texas A & M University, said in a statement.
Exactly how and when the first people reached America is still a mystery. Most researchers agree that the first Americans left Northwest Asia and southern Siberia between 25,000 and 20,000 years ago, then traveled to the area of the now immersed Bering Strait rural area. But researchers do not agree on how long they stayed in this region, known as Beringia, and what route people took from there, for example, if old people traveled inland or along the coast.
The moment of this incredible journey is also in the air. For decades, researchers believed that the first inhabitants of North America were part of the Clovis culture, which lasted from 1
3,000 to 12 700 years ago. But archaeological evidence suggests that people made all the way to Monte Verde, Chile, at least 14,500 years ago, and there are other more controversial places in America that suggest they were subject to even earlier.
An excavation at the Debra L. Friedkin site in Texas 2016.
Credit: Center for Studies of the First Americans / Texas A & M University
Almost all of these pre-Clovis sites have some stone tools, but the Texas website – Debra L. Friedkin site, named for the family that owns the country – also has weapons clearly made by pre-Clovis people, Waters said. The pointed spears were discovered under a warehouse that held projectile points from Clovis and the Folsom people. (The Folsom people followed the Clovis culture, Waters said.)
“The dream has always been to find diagnostic artifacts – as a projectile trail – which can be recognized as older than Clovis, and this is what we have at the Friedkin site,” Waters said. .
It is no surprise that so many cultures lived in this place, as it was fresh water all year round, Waters Science Magazine told us.
The pre-Clovis team contains about 100,000 artifacts, including 328 tools and 12 complete and fragmentary projectil points, the researchers wrote in the study.
The field around the newly found weapons dates between 13,500 and 15,500 years ago, the researchers said. However, the team could not use radiocarbon dating because there were no carbon samples in that layer that could provide a reliable and correct age, the researchers wrote in the study. Instead, they used optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), which reveals how long ago quartz grain in the surrounding sediment was exposed to sunlight.
But this method has increased eyebrows from other archaeologists. While the discovery provides important new details about the Friedkin website, the data of these artifacts would be strengthened if researchers trusted more than just OSL, Ben Potter, a professor of archeology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who was not involved in research told Gizmodo.
“This study is based almost exclusively on OSL dating and the comparison of a single class of artifacts – project points – not on genetics or detailed technical, economic or paleoecological analyzes,” said Potter Gizmodo. “Argument of Ethnogenes [origin] and Population Relationships on the basis of [stone artifacts] alone is, at best, difficult.”
But Waters thinks the results help to paint a nuanced image of the first Americans.
“The findings extend our understanding of the earliest people to explore and settle in North America,” says Waters. “The American population at the end of the last Ice Age was a complex process and this complexity is seen in their genetic records. Now we begin to see this complexity reflected in the archaeological record. “
The study was published on Wednesday, October 24th in the Science Advances magazine.
Originally published on Live Science.