The First Americans
Just a “Theory.”

A “theory” is a model based on, and
accounting for, all available evidence which is
intended to explain...
Example: Geocentrism vs.
Heliocentrism

For thousands of years, people believed that
the sun and other things in the sky ...
The “Land-Bridge” Theory
For many years, the main theory about how
people first came to North and South
America was the “L...
Evidence to support the “Land-
Bridge” Theory

Archeological evidence found in Alaska
matches the evidence found at Clovi...
But....

In 1997, evidence at Monte Verde, Chile
turned up that was 14,500 years old.

A small amount of evidence sugges...
Adding to the mystery...

The Topper Site in South Carolina is estimated
to be 15,000 years old.

The Paisley Cave site ...
Furthermore...

Most Native American creation stories do not
tell of a great exodus or migration, but that the
people wer...
Skull found in Brazil that could be of
Australian, Pacific Islander or Sub-Saharan
African origin.
Navajo creation story
Spear points from Clovis
Dwelling at Monte Verde
Projectile points from the
Paisley Caves
Studying artifacts at the Topper...
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Native origins

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Native origins

  1. 1. The First Americans
  2. 2. Just a “Theory.”  A “theory” is a model based on, and accounting for, all available evidence which is intended to explain something.  We call something a “theory” not because it is someone's “opinion,” but because we recognize that at any given moment, new information can completely revolutionize our understanding and radically change our explanations.
  3. 3. Example: Geocentrism vs. Heliocentrism  For thousands of years, people believed that the sun and other things in the sky (stars, planets, etc.) revolved around the earth because they appeared to.  Nicolaus Copernicus proposed that the earth orbited the sun and this was later confirmed by the work of Johannes Kepler (even though Kepler started out to disprove Copernicus!).
  4. 4. The “Land-Bridge” Theory For many years, the main theory about how people first came to North and South America was the “Land-Bridge” Theory. This theory was that people migrated across the Bering Strait when it was exposed land during the last Ice Age (12,000-20,000 years ago) and their descendants populated North and South America.
  5. 5. Evidence to support the “Land- Bridge” Theory  Archeological evidence found in Alaska matches the evidence found at Clovis, NM in the 1920s. Evidence at Clovis is 13,500 years old.  Mitochondrial DNA shows that Native Americans have East Asian ancestors.
  6. 6. But....  In 1997, evidence at Monte Verde, Chile turned up that was 14,500 years old.  A small amount of evidence suggests that a European group called the “Solutreans” migrated to America by boat.  “Kennewick Man,” a 9,500 year-old skeleton found in Washington bears a strong resemblance to the Japanese “Ainu” people, suggesting a Pacific boat migration.
  7. 7. Adding to the mystery...  The Topper Site in South Carolina is estimated to be 15,000 years old.  The Paisley Cave site in Oregon is estiated at 14,500 years old.  Skulls, charcoal and stone tools found in Brazil have been claimed to be 50,000 years old and are similar to Australian aborigines, Pacific Islanders or sub-Saharan Africans.
  8. 8. Furthermore...  Most Native American creation stories do not tell of a great exodus or migration, but that the people were a product of the earth and sky and have “always been here.”  For comparison's sake, the Bible is chock full of migration stories (Adam and Eve cast out of Eden, Abraham's journey from Ur, the exodus out of Egypt, etc.)
  9. 9. Skull found in Brazil that could be of Australian, Pacific Islander or Sub-Saharan African origin. Navajo creation story
  10. 10. Spear points from Clovis Dwelling at Monte Verde Projectile points from the Paisley Caves Studying artifacts at the Topper Site
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