Research ArticleGEOLOGY

Evidence of an early projectile point technology in North America at the Gault Site, Texas, USA

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Science Advances  11 Jul 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 7, eaar5954
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aar5954

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Abstract

American archeology has long been polarized over the issue of a human presence in the Western Hemisphere earlier than Clovis. As evidence of early sites across North and South America continues to emerge, stone tool assemblages appear more geographically and temporally diverse than traditionally assumed. Within this new framework, the prevailing models of Clovis origins and the peopling of the Americas are being reevaluated. This paper presents age estimates from a series of alluvial sedimentary samples from the earliest cultural assemblage at the Gault Site, Central Texas. The optically stimulated luminescence age estimates (~16 to 20 thousand years ago) indicate an early human occupation in North America before at least ~16 thousand years ago. Significantly, this assemblage exhibits a previously unknown, early projectile point technology unrelated to Clovis. Within a wider context, this evidence suggests that Clovis technology spread across an already regionalized, indigenous population.

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