Who was here first?and how did they get here? The first people to come to North America may have been seal hunters from France and Spain. They wouldn't have crossed over the ice bridge that existed around 13,500 years ago, connecting this continent to Siberia?they would have come by boat. Or Japanese may have walked across the ocean on a highway made of seaweed.
Four million seals would have been pretty tempting to hungry people from Europe. The Inuit today still use traditional large, open boats made out of animal skins. These can hold about a dozen adults, along with a few children?everything you'd need to colonize a continent.
Archeologists mostly use arrowhead evidence to determine who was here when, and have an elaborate hierarchy of these. Smithsonian Institution archaeologist Dennis Stanford compared American spearheads, called Clovis points, with Siberian points, which were carried across the land bridge, he saw major differences. But when he compared Clovis points with Solutrean tools from prehistoric France and Spain, he noticed many similarities. Solutreans are the people who probably created the prehistoric European cave art that has been found mostly in France.
In Livescience.com, Bjorn Carey quotes Stanford as saying, "It's possible that some groups of these hunters ventured out as far as Iceland, where they may have gotten caught up in the prevailing currents and were carried to North America. You get three boats loaded up like this and you would have a viable population. You could actually get a whole bunch of people washing up on Nova Scotia."
Why did these people stop creating art once they made it to North America?or did they? There are plenty of ancient petroglyphs in caves here, especially in the Southwest. Stanford says, "?You?re looking at a long distance inland, 100 miles or so, before they would get to caves to do art in." Maybe that's why this art is so hard for us to find today.
Another theory about who got here first says that Japanese (we know from DNA testing that the ancestors of most American Indians are Asian) may have immigrated on an ocean highway made out of thick kelp. Lots of fish and other marine creatures, such as seals and sea otters, live in this kelp, so they would have had plenty to eat along the way. Anthropologist Jon Erlandson says that there is still a "kelp highway" today, stretching from Japan, up along Siberia, across the Bering Strait to Alaska, and down again along the California coastline.
Fisherman lived in the Ryukyu Islands near Japan around 35,000 to 15,000 years ago. They routinely traveled hundreds of miles between islands?could they have made it all the way to America? Some scientists think the Japanese came to Australia in boats 50 to 60 thousand years ago and to Alaska around 16,000 years ago. They could have made part of the trip on kelp.
Anne Strieber remembered one of her favorite Indian legends recently. She has also been given an "Indian name." Maybe one day she'll tell it to you.
William Henry got tired of hearing politicians blowing hot air about how our founding fathers were Christians, so he created a DVD showing that they were actually...pagans?
Art credit: freeimages.co.uk
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