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New Dates for Alaska’s Fluted Spear Points Raise Questions

Thursday, November 07, 2013

(Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University)

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS—Fluted spear points no more than 12,400 years old have been unearthed at Serpentine Hot Springs in Alaska’s Bering Land Bridge National Preserve by a team of researchers associated with the Center for the Study of First Americans at Texas A&M University. This is the first time that fluted spear points from Alaska have been found in a datable context. It had been thought that fluting technology was carried by Paleoindians as they migrated southward, but the Alaska points are too young to be ancestral to the Clovis culture, thought to date to 13,000 years ago in North America. The new dates suggest that the models that describe the dispersal of early Americans and the transmission of their technologies will have to be revised. “Not all of Beringia’s early residents may have come from Siberia, as we have traditionally thought. Some may have come from America instead, although millennia after the initial migration across the land bridge from Asia. If the fluted points do not represent a human migration, they at least indicate the surprisingly early spread of an American technology into Arctic Alaska,” said team leader Ted Goebel.