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Article contents

Initial Human Colonization of the Americas: An Overview of the Issues and the Evidence

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 July 2016

Stuart J Fiedel
Affiliation:
The Louis Berger Group, 1819 H Street, NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20006 USA. Email: sfiedel@earthlink.net.
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Extract

Ever since José de Acosta's prescient speculation, in 1590, that Native Americans were descended from “savage hunters” who had followed game animals across a land bridge from northeastern Asia into northwestern America (Acosta 1604), most serious scholars have assumed that this was the migration route. The main point of dispute has been the date when the ancestral Asians made the crossing. After many nineteenth-century claims of the discovery of stone tools or bones of “early man” failed to withstand scientific scrutiny, a conservative reaction set in, embodied by the hyper-skeptical Aleš Hrdlička of the Smithsonian Institution. Hrdlička dismissed all claims of a human presence in the Americas prior to about 5000 years ago.

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Copyright © 2002 The Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona 

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