The current thesis states that modern man left Africa about 60,000 years ago, before gradually spreading over the planet to the Bering land bridge
This article has been written from a documentary of the European television channel Arte, The new history of the first men.
It is one of the few examples of the difficulty of the scientific community to change the paradigm. Although the discoveries were published between fifty and fifteen years ago and in numerous sites in North and South America, they have only begun to be considered credible for a couple of years. Not to mention the defamation suffered by its authors.
The arrival of the first men to the American continent remains a mystery. On this continent, one should not find a human presence older than 15,000 years. New archaeological re search is redistributing the letters.
20,000 years ago, the Ice Age was at its height. New archaeological research has focused on the possibility of finding a people who would have survived this world of ice, which goes against everything the history books teach. The current thesis states that modern man left Africa about 60,000 years ago, before gradually spreading over the planet to the Bering land bridge, which connected Asia with America, but the northern access to America was blocked by an impassable wall of ice.
A huge 3000m thick ice sheet stretched from Yukon in Canada to what is now New York, and was twice as tall as our skyscrapers. A glacier of 41 million km², without plants or animals.
Ciprian F. Ardelean (archaeologist at the University of Zacatecas, Mexico), disagrees, he believes that humans crossed this ice shelf and were able to descend into Mexico, thousands of years before the ice melted.
Ciprian Ardelean investigated in central Mexico, the cave of Chiquihuite, at almost 3000 m altitude. There he made a surprising discovery: stones whose edges had been worked, tools in cuts or scraped, but in theory, no human had reached this continent. This cave, in fact, was full of tools: “if there were tools it is because there were humans to make them: the sedimentary material is analyzed”.
Dates suggest 27 000 years +/- 2500 years. Some layers of sediment could be up to 30,000 years old; This went against what was thought.
In 2020, Ciprian Ardelean’s discovery made headlines around the world and had a huge impact. The prestigious journal Nature publishes the result of these discoveries. But, after the excitement, the specialists analyzed Chiquihuite’s findings and questioned them: they called it an error in evaluating the data. Which was actually refuted later.
The issue was whether these objects had been man-made or formed naturally after falling rocks that would have collided with each other. Was it really made by the hand of man? Someone looking at it from afar might think it was a natural process, except for the fact that these tools could not be the result of chance.
Despite this discovery, the official date of man’s arrival in America does not move, it remains fixed at less than 15,000 years. Ciprian Ardelean returns to work, more determined than ever. He looked for another cave. 100 km from the cave of Chiquihuite, is the abyss of the swallows. At a depth of 12 m it leads to a large cavern. A layer of carbon was dated to at least 16,000 years old. In the deeper layers, Ciprian Ardelean finds two new bones, with markings that could be human, notches that could date from 17 to 20,000 years.
5400 km away, in the Canadian Yukon, at the eastern end of the Bering land bridge, Lauriane Bourgeon, a French
archaeologist (University of Kansas, USA), was interested in the Bluefish caves when she studied in France.
Already in the 70s, an archaeologist from Quebec, Jaques Cinqmars, had made a discovery that suggested an older human presence discovering stone tools and thousands of animal bones: for him these bones had been worked by man. Despite having spent 30 years at this site, these discoveries have never been unanimously accepted. His detractors criticized the validity of his dating method. Lacking funds, he died without having been able to complete his work, but his story intrigued Lauriane Bourgeon, who began to re-study this site.
Finally, he found cutouts (in the jaw of a horse) that showed the man’s intervention. The jawbone sent to the Oxford University lab bears the date around 24,000 years, and there it has completely changed its vision.
The Bluefish area was a climatic anomaly; most of Canada was trapped under the ice, but northern Yukon was a vast plain of grasses and bushes with a huge lake where mastodons came to drink and graze. The caves provided an ideal situation for detecting and trapping prey. The team explores cave No. 4, mentioned by Jacques Cinqmars that he had not explored. Jacques Cinqmars understood very well that indigenous peoples have an excellent knowledge of their region, so he exchanged information with them.
Soyun Cère, a mixed-race man from Yukon, says: “I wasn’t taught anything about it at school, it’s as if indigenous peoples don’t exist. In college I was taught that we had been here for 12,000 years, that we were Asians from Asia. How come archaeologists argue that we’ve only been here for 12,000 years?”
So far, four main theories have prevailed to explain the arrival of indigenous peoples in the Americas:
1492, 1st paradigm
When the first European explorers discovered the New World, and wonders such as the Mayan pyramids or the stone walls of Cuzco Inca, they immediately invented the story of their origins. Luiseach Nic Eoin (editor of the journal “Nature”): “The European settlers assumed that it was not the work of these indigenous peoples and that we owe it to the lost tribes of Israel and that they would really have been lost. It was impossible for them to conceive that it was indigenous peoples.”
1750: 2nd paradigm
250 years later, archaeologists recognize that it was indeed indigenous people who built these wonders. But to establish the chronology, they rely on biblical concepts, such as the idea that the world was created in 4004 BC, which has prevented the conception of an older temporality.
20th century: 3rd paradigm
In the late 19th century, Darwin’s theory of evolution spread the ideas of prehistory, megafauna, and the Ice Age.
In 1932: 4th paradigm
In New Mexico, near the town of Clovis, a spearhead was found in a skeleton of a mammoth, a species extinct more than 10,000 years ago. This hunting people was called the Clovis people and is believed to have migrated about 13,000 years ago from Asia to North America.
“The invention of the Clovis people was beautifully crafted to satisfy European scientists: there was a combination of beautiful stone tools, fluted spikes and evidence of big game. Archaeologists agree to officially declare the Clovis people as the first and only Paleo-American people. Archaeologists have imagined that the same group occupied the entire continent. ” “The idea of a Clovis people who populated the continent 13,000 years ago has taken root. Official dogma rejected the growing body of evidence confirming the existence of much older sites throughout the Americas, from Yukon to Brazil.”
But in 1977, a major discovery on a farm in southern Chile (Monte Verde) changed the situation. Tom Dillehav (anthropologist at Vanderbilt University, USA) discovers remains of wood, clothing, food perfectly preserved in a peat bog. He initially believes that the site dates back 2,000 years and geologists inform him that these layers date back 14,000 years at other sites in the region. “I said it’s impossible, there are no human deposits so old.” Convinced that geologists were wrong, he analyzed the human remains with carbon-14 and the dating confirmed 14,500 years.
Tom Dillehav says: “Twenty colleagues signed a letter to the president of the university saying that I should be fired for daring to mention the archaeological site of Monte Verde. This letter also mentioned that I had never had a PhD, which is totally false.” “If they attack me, I attack them too.” He dated hundreds of artifacts, detailing each result, supporting evidence, and then invited his detractors to come and make their own decision. It will take 30 years to initiate a change.
Animals were already migrating from one continent to another before the height of the Ice Age. Depending on climate variations, the ice sheet covering Canada reached its highest level 2000 years ago; but the further back in time, – 30 000; -40 000; 50,000 years ago, temperatures were warmer: “While early humans were able to migrate from Africa to Asia, are we told that they would have stopped abruptly as mammals came and went, and that humans would not have stopped until now? It’s absurd.”
Paulette Steeves (archaeologist at Algoma Cree University and Métis Peoples – Canada) says: “If herds of animals crossed North America before the ice shelf formed, why wouldn’t humans have done so? Why wouldn’t men have followed their prey?”
The decisive proof was found, in the new White Sands National Park, (New Mexico, USA). In an area off-limits to the public, park ranger David Bustos discovers huge mammoth footprints with strides of almost 4 m after a great flood. While kicking up the sand, the storm had just cleaned up a very old layer of plaster with many fossilized footprints. There were human footprints next to those of mammoths… Extinct 10,000 years ago, the mammoth is one of many giants of megafauna and we know that humans hunted it before its extinction, but the question is: since when?
David Bustos, contacts one of the leading experts on footprints, Matthew Bennett, who has studied fossilized footprints around the world. They propose to Kathleen Springler and Jeff Pigati, members of the Institute of Archae ological Studies of the United States, to officially determine the dates of the footprints.
In one stratum, the two researchers detect tiny black dots the size of a pinhead. The seed layers were trapped above and below all these traces and not just on the surface. In some places, seeds were found embedded in the footprints, allowing for accurate dating.
Jeff Pigati: “They’re between 23 and 21,000 years old, so they’re old. Upon learning of this, we were stunned. This is 8 to 10,000 years before Clovis and perhaps 5 to 7,000 years before most pre-Clovis sites. Men lived here before the ice maximum: the key element is this huge ice shelf. In fact, they were here before this barrier; this calls into question the entire settlement history of the Americas; It’s a whole new paradigm. It can no longer be denied that these are human footprints. Everything suggests that these are traces of men who lived in New Mexico during the last peak ice period. Carbon-14 dating is unequivocal. It is about 100 samples: the proof is irrefutable. Man was there in the heart of the continent more than 20,000 years ago. I never anticipated it. I wasn’t prepared for it and I still feel like I’m not really ready for it. To say these men weren’t as old as I thought was just mind-boggling.”
In Brazil, new research is underway. Thais Pansani (paleontologist at the University of Brazil) is dedicated to the study of the giant sloth and its relationship with man. It appeared in South America 30 million years ago; There is little information about his encounter with humans. To try to solve this mystery, he studies sloth bones discovered at a site in central Brazil in the 80s. The collection has 8000 fragments. In a box dated 27,000 years, he observes several ossicles that stand out from the others. Men would have carved these pierced and polished objects to make ornaments and jewelry. Two questions: Were these piercings man-made? And in that case, is it proven that this modification was made on fresh bones and corpses?
If the paleontologist is right, man was in central Brazil 27,000 years ago, just as Ciprian Ardelean saw it in Mexico, which would be further proof that humans crossed glaciers much earlier than we thought. The small ossicles come from the site of Santa Elina in Brazil and were discovered in 1984 by the Vialou couple (Aguada and Denis).
The Vialou couple explains that the site is exceptional and covers a period of 2000 to 27,000 years ago by three dating methods. In 2011, the couple published their findings: it is the first and only site in all of America where an occupation is demonstrated for 25,000 years.
Thais Pansani is once again focusing on Saint Elina. He has spent the last four years observing tiny osteoderms under an electron microscope. He sees many things that prove that these objects were shaped by man. She is trying to find the technique that the men applied to osteoderms, in particular to the bones of the giant sloth transforming them into jewelry. Microfluo rescence from the electron microscope reveals that all these transformations were made by man into fresh bones, contemporary with the giant sloth about 27,000 years ago.
Ciprian Ardelean went to the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil, where the collection of the remains of Santa Elina (8000 pieces) is kept, to examine and focus on the oldest layers between 23 and 27,000 years. “I thought I had found a kind of technological kinship and forms identical to Chiquihuite.” The scraper blades not only have the same shape, but appear to have been cut with the same technology.
Similar sites do not necessarily mean that we are in the presence of the same tribe, they are people of the same culture; The tools are made in the same way.
The tool-making techniques observed by Ciprian Ardelean came from the South before being improved in the North, this would be a sign of a migration from the South to the North.
We are at the dawn of a new era for prehistoric American archaeology.