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The Peopling of the Americas

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1 The Peopling of the Americas
What different views exist regarding origins? What are traditional archaeological theories of origins? How are these archaeological theories being challenged? What are some of the ethical concerns in researching origins?

2 Two Views of Origins Archaeological
Before 1990 archaeologists and historians agreed the first inhabitants came from Asia across the Bering Strait when sea levels were lower (~ years BP) Since 1990 many questions surfaced contradicting this theory: Shared plant life, structures, diversity of native languages and so on fostered this questioning

3 Two Views of Origins Aboriginal Perspectives
Many First Peoples see Canada as their homeland They believe they have been here since “Time Immemorial.” Aboriginal creation stories vary, but share one thing in common – Aboriginal peoples have no bond with any other place

4 Gathering Archaeological Evidence
Archaeologists use artifacts as evidence to help understand past societies Artifacts can deteriorate with age therefore the method known as radiocarbon dating is used This process measures the age of carbon in artifacts and therefore tells how old an artifact is Tools, utensils and weapons are all artifacts archaeologists use to learn many things about the way people lived

5 Gathering Evidence Evidence of Paleo-Indian is found in their unique tools DNA analysis is now being used, however is quite expensive

6 Anse Amour

7 Traditional Archaeological Theory
The earliest evidence came in the form of spear points Style of spear points determined age and culture The Clovis Period – BP Many researchers believe hunters used spears to hunt some mammals into extinction Archaeologists believed in this model so much they virtually stopped digging any deeper

8 Traditional Archaeological Theory
The Plano Period – years BP Large mammals like the camel and mammoth disappeared around this time During this time the Plano peoples – descendants of Paleo-Indian began hunting bison Change in spear and arrowhead design came with the Plano peoples

9 Linguistic Evidence Archaeology does not provide all the answers
Linguistics show how language of cultures evolves over time Language can explain culture, its interrelations and its differences Linguistics shows that the more diversity there is in language – the more time has passed North America is one of the most linguistically diverse areas suggesting that First Peoples arrived here long before the Clovis period

10 Physical Anthropology
Study past by examining human remains (“CSI Historians”) Believe there were several migrations of people to the Americas They also believe early peoples came from different places at different times

11 Theories of First People’s Origins
The Land Route Geologists believe during the last Ice Age (Pleistocene Era) sea levels were lower across the Bering Strait (between Alaska and East Asia) It is widely believed that many peoples may have migrated across this land bridge into N.A. between – years BP

12 A Land Route Geologists believe that during the last Ice Age, called the Pleistocene Era, sea levels were lower across the Bering Strait than they are today. A vast grassy plain called Beringia, or land bridge linked what is now called Siberia with Alaska. It is believed that at least 13,500-50,000 years ago early peoples migrated across to North America. Similar fossils discovered on both continents prove that large grazing animals – bison, caribou, horses, mammoths and musk oxen migrated across. Early peoples probably followed the herds of animals. A stone tool radiocarbon dated BP makes it possible that a Pacific Coastal route was taken. BP – Before Present

13 Theories of First People’s Origins
A Pacific Route This theory suggests people first came to N.A. by watercraft over the Pacific Ocean Fossil evidence in the Northwest Coast of sea and land wildlife suggests there were enough natural resources for people to survive There has been little archaeological exploration in this area due to the belief it was covered by glaciers

14 A Pacific Route Suggests that the First Peoples crosses the Pacific by watercraft. Fossil evidence of sea and land mammals and other wildlife dated years BP has been found along the Northwest Coast May have inhabited South America first then moved on to North America Genetic links

15 Theories of First People’s Origins
An Atlantic Route Both land bridge and Pacific theories are challenged by researchers who argue that early Asians didn’t have technology that matched those of the Clovis period They’ve found evidence showing more similarities to technology used along the Northern coast of Spain There is also DNA evidence linking Aboriginals to Europeans and not Asians This suggests First Peoples may have come across the Atlantic

16 An Atlantic Route Clovis projectile points are more similar to Solutrean points – found years BP where what is now the Northern Coast of Spain. Solutrean – an ancient culture of Western Europe dating from years ago Genetic markers linking Aboriginal Peoples to Europeans but not to Asians

17 Could be a combination of all three which would explain the diversity of the First Peoples of the Americas. What do you think?

18 Case Study Research the theories of the human migration to the Americas and develop an organizer/chart comparing the theories of first peoples’ origins . Include the following in your comparison: Brief description of the theory. Outline of the evidence supporting each theory. Arguments against each theory.

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