WASHINGTON (UPI) — The first American settlers came from Europe rather than across the Bering land bridge from Siberia to Alaska, a new book proposes.
The book “Across Atlantic Ice,” by Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter in England and Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, argues that glaciers and ice floes spanned much of the north Atlantic Ocean during the last ice age, creating an ice bridge that lasted at least 2,000 years.
Between 18,000 and 25,000 years ago, they say, Solutrean people from northern Spain and France could have developed an Inuit-like lifestyle on the ice and may have eventually reached America.
“We’re using an analogy with Inuit, who expanded all across the arctic with technologies no more sophisticated than those we know the Solutreans had,” Bradley told NewScientist.com.
They say they’re basing their theory on the discovery of 18,000- to 26,000-year-old tools of Solutrean appearance at six sites in the eastern United States.
Asian people, thought by many scientists to have been the first Americans, are assumed to have reached Alaska about 13,000 years ago through Beringia, a temporary land bridge across the Bering strait.
Bradley and Stanford argue the advanced tools found at the U.S. sites couldn’t have come from Siberia so must have been brought much earlier by the Solutreans, possibly as early as 23,000 years ago, over the ice.
The ice bridge theory, which has been around for nearly a decade, has been greeted with deep skepticism by many archaeologists.