Who were the first humans to inhabit North America? According to the now familiar story, mammal hunters entered the continent some 12,000 years ago via a land bridge that spanned the Bering Sea. Distinctive stone tools belonging to the Clovis culture established the presence of these early New World people. But are the Clovis tools Asian in origin? Drawing from original archaeological analysis, paleoclimatic research, and genetic studies, noted archaeologists Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley challenge the old narrative and, in the process, counter traditional – and often subjective – approaches to archaeological testing for historical relatedness.
The authors apply rigorous scholarship to a hypothesis that places the technological antecedents of Clovis in Europe and posits that the first Americans crossed the Atlantic by boat and arrived earlier than previously thought. Supplying archaeological and oceanographic evidence to support this assertion, Across Atlantic Ice dismantles the old paradigm while persuasively linking Clovis technology with the culture of the Solutrean people who occupied France and Spain more than 20,000 years ago.
List of Illustrations and Tables
Prehistoric Time Line
Foreword by Michael B. Collins
Introduction: The First Americans?
Part 1. Paleolithic Peoples
1. Flaked Stone Technology: A Primer
2. Clovis: The First American Settlers?
3. Beringia: Out of Asia on Foot
4. Challenging the Clovis First Model: The Missing Links
5. The Solutrean: Ice Age Innovators
Part 2. The Solutrean Hypothesis
6. Quantitative Culture Comparison
7. Qualitative Culture Comparison
8. The Solutrean Maritime Adaptation
9. The Last Glacial Maximum: How Bad Was the Weather?
10. Living on the Ice Edge: Ethnographic Analogies
Appendix: Cluster Analysis
Dennis J. Stanford is Curator of Archaeology and Director of the Paleoindian Program at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Among his books is Ice Age Hunters of the Rockies.
Bruce A. Bradley is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Exeter and Director of its Experimental Archaeology Programme. His books include Clovis Technology.
"Stanford and Bradley weave a fascinating narrative [...] [The authors] deftly illustrate their expertise in understanding, replicating, and explaining the nuances of early lithic and nonlithic technocomplexes [...] [Stanford and Bradley's Solutrean hypothesis] will stimulate additional research and discoveries in the coming decades, and for that we are grateful."
– Christopher R. Moore, University of South Carolina, Southeastern Archaeology
"This scientific treatise [...] shines between the lines."
– Philip Kopper, The Washington Times
"A thorough job [...] Stanford and Bradley compile an impressive dossier of evidence [...] It should be taken seriously."
– Atholl Anderson, Australian National University, Canberra International Journal Nautical Achaeology
"While more evidence is needed, the onus now appears to be on the theory to demonstrate its impossibility and find a convincing alternative that accords with the technological and chronological facts. Highly Recommended."
"I'd like to see the Solutrean hypothesis tested further. Stanford and Bradley present a logical, well-reasoned argument that should be given equal consideration to the current Beringia dogma that Western science is following in blind lockstep."
– Indian Country Today Media Network
"North America's first peoples were long thought to be Asians who migrated over the Bering land bridge some 12,000 years ago, bringing with them the tools of the Clovis culture. Now archaeologists Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley have radically recast the story. Drawing on climatic, genetic and archaeological evidence, they argue that the roots of Clovis culture rest in the Solutrean people of Spain and France, who sent some of their number across the Atlantic in boats 18,000 years ago."
"This scientific treatise might be as dull as alluvial mud – except for its meteoric ideas and luminous subtext. Didactic, pedantic, densely detailed and minutely argued, Across Atlantic Ice shines between the lines."
– Washington Times
"A fascinating and informative read for all students of the earliest American history."
"Across Atlantic Ice is brilliant and ground-breaking. As fascinating as it is controversial, this book brings together decades of research from diverse areas into a single volume that is well argued, factually rich, elegantly written – and absolutely riveting. I could not put it down."
– Douglas Preston, author of Cities of Gold, Thunderhead, and former archaeology correspondent for The New Yorker magazine
"In their well-written and well-reasoned exploration of the first inhabitants of the Americas, Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley have provided a viable alternative scenario. I am not a trained professional, but I have been reading the archeological literature for thirty-five years. Their argument is logical and should be given an open-minded hearing."
– Jean M. Auel, author of The Land of Painted Caves and The Clan of the Cave Bear
"This carefully crafted, well-researched book aims to change our thinking of who the first Americans were and where they came from. Stanford and Bradley have produced an ambitious, interdisciplinary study of a neglected route of early entry into the Americas that will affect the way the larger narrative of the first chapter of human history in the New World is written."
– Tom D. Dillehay, author of The Settlement of the Americas: A New Prehistory