The prevailing theory in archaeology is that the first Native Americans came from Northeast Asia across a land bridge. Recently, however, archaeologists Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley proposed a controversial alternative theory: the“Solutrean Hypothesis” which argues that ancient Europeans may have made it to Eastern North America first about 20,000 or more years ago via the Atlantic Ocean by developing watercrafts and nautical survival knowledge.
To help settle the debate, Dr. James Kilby, Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, argues in a recent publication that new archeological research does not support the Solutrean Hypothesis. Kilby tested Stanford and Bradley’s “Solutrean hypothesis” and found that their alternative theory did not hold up.
In his article, “A North American perspective on the Volgu Biface Cache from Upper Paleolithic France and its relationship to the ‘Solutrean Hypothesis’ for Clovis origins,” published this year in Quaternary International, Kilby compares ancient stone tools from Volgu, France to Clovis artifacts–or stone tools made by prehistoric Native American cultures–to evaluate the likelihood of shared origins.
Upon comparing Volgu tools to about 25 caches of Clovis artifacts from across North America, Kilby found that “the attributes of Volgu and the Clovis caches are not similar enough to warrant appealing to a direct historical connection,” and that there is “no apparent geographic or temporal continuity in the practice of caching with which to connect the dots between Volgu and Clovis caches.” He observed that the samples’ characteristics seemed to have originated in different places and times.
Kilby’s work invites archeologists to continue exploring the mysteries of the past, and where it all begins.