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ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF EVOLUTIONARY ECOLOGY

The department of Anthropology at the University of Utah invites applications for a tenure track position in evolutionary ecology at the rank of Assistant Professor to begin July 1, 2021

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Events

Spring 2021 Colloquium Speaker Series

feb colloquium

 

February Colloquium

Todd Surovell PhD

Professor & Department Head, Department of Anthropology, University of Wyoming

TOPIC: 

"Why I am Skeptical of Most Claims for a Pre-Clovis Colonization of the Americas"

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  Thursday, February 4, 2021 @ 2:15PM

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"Why I am Skeptical of Most claims for a Pre-Clovis Colonization of the Americas"

 

Abstract:

It is my impression that most archaeologists believe that the Clovis/Pre-Clovis debate has been resolved, and that there is clear evidence that humans were in North and South America prior to the appearance of fluted points. I disagree. The primary method for addressing the timing of first arrival to the Americas is an approach I like to call “The Oldest Site Wins”. After careful evaluation of stratigraphy, artifacts, and dates from the many thousands of sites that have been investigated across two continents, it is argued that the first date of human arrival must predate the oldest known site. American archaeology has operated via this paradigm now for almost 120 years without resolving the question of the date of colonization, which to me suggests that this paradigm is inherently flawed. In this presentation, I approach the problem using two novel but independent quantitative methods: 1) I use basic principles of human demography, archaeological site formation, and archaeological sampling to simulate the age range of the plausible earliest archaeological sites, and 2) time series analysis of a large database of archaeological radiocarbon dates to identify the earliest unequivocal signal of human presence in North America. Both methods indicate a late arrival of humans to the New World south of the ice sheets, between 14,200 and 13,400 BP, with a most likely colonization date falling in the century surrounding 13,800 BP.

 

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Last Updated: 1/20/21