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Stemmed Points, the Coastal Migration Theory, and the Peopling of the Americas

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Mobility and Ancient Society in Asia and the Americas

Abstract

The flooding of our world’s continental shelves over the last 20,000 years has severely limited our ability to reconstruct human migrations and settlements along New and Old World Pleistocene coastlines. While the coastal migration theory has gained rapid support over the last decade, the submergence of the southern coast of Beringia has made it exceptionally difficult to test whether or not Upper Paleolithic peoples followed Pacific shorelines from Asia to the Americas. Here, we provided new evidence that may help trace possible coastal migrations into the New World by tracking distinctive chipped stone technologies. Stemmed projectile points from Late Pleistocene sites around the Pacific Rim may provide evidence of the cultural and technological expansion of people along this route; much the same way archaeologists have used chipped stone traditions to track terrestrial migrations along overland corridors.

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Acknowledgements

Our research on the Channel Islands and North Pacific Rim has been graciously supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Park Service, and our home institutions. Special thanks to the Permanent Delegation of the Republic of Kazakhstan to UNESCO, the Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan to the United States, and the Harriman Institute of Columbia University for organizing the Second International Conference on the Great Migrations, inviting us to participate, funding the conference, and hosting the event. We also thank Michael Frachetti, Robert Spengler, and the staff at Springer for their editorial assistance and taking on the heavy lifting of pulling this volume together.

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Erlandson, J.M., Braje, T.J. (2015). Stemmed Points, the Coastal Migration Theory, and the Peopling of the Americas. In: Frachetti, M., Spengler III, R. (eds) Mobility and Ancient Society in Asia and the Americas. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-15138-0_5

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