Journal of Archaeological Research

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 327–375 | Cite as

A Tale of Two Migrations: Reconciling Recent Biological and Archaeological Evidence for the Pleistocene Peopling of the Americas

Article

Abstract

This article synthesizes the 2000s-era “peopling of the Americas” data drawn from molecular biology, osteology, and archaeology. Collectively, they suggest that colonization proceeded in two pulses, both originating in western Beringia, and before that, south-central and southeastern Siberia. The first pulse occurred circa 16 k–15 k cal. B.P. by watercraft along the coast of Beringia and western North and South America. The second took place 1,000 years later and involved proto-Clovis hunter-gatherers who used the ice-free corridor as a conduit south. At least eight North American sites dating as far back as the Last Glacial Maximum suggest that the peopling picture may eventually need to change to accommodate an earlier than previously thought migration through the ice-free corridor. For now, the data are not strong enough to support this scenario, but they are tantalizingly close.

Keywords

Peopling Colonization Migration Americas New World 

Notes

Acknowledgments

First, I thank Gary Feinman for inviting me to write this article and for his encouragement and helpful suggestions throughout the publication process. I also thank David Anderson, Charlotte Beck, and four anonymous reviewers for their concrete and constructive feedback, which was offered, to a person, without gratuitous nastiness or toxic rhetoric. I also gratefully acknowledge my many “Peopling of the New World” students who, through the years, have challenged my thinking on the subject every bit as much as my colleagues in the field have done. Finally, I thank my Ph.D. mentor, Vance Haynes, for inspiring and encouraging me to think openly about the peopling of the New World and for setting a model for careful thinking and civil scholarship that I always have and always will try to emulate.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anthropology ProgramUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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