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Topper-Site:The first settlements of man in the USA?

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Visiting the archaeologist Al Goodyear in his Institute of Archaeology, University of South Carolina, in the capital of Columbia had been a striking experience to me. My purpose was to find artefacts of the oldest Man in the USA similar to the artefacts I have seen in Cuba of palaeolithic tradition.

 

 

 

A friendly man he showed me his newest specimen of his Paleoindian Expedition at the “Topper site” of the Savannah River he made with his crew just some days ago in June 2002.

 

 

 

There can be no doubt about the age of the silex-bearing sediments below the 16,000 years old zone beyond the “Clovis-level”. Due to the geochronical finding it is the period of the Last Glacial Maximum or older.

 

 

 

 But the tools Goodyear showed me are of a strange pattern. The big irregular weathered cores - from the chert quarry or outcrops nearby the site - are of a most primitive technology. The flint-knappers created tools that I have so far  never seen before by dashing down the chert on a wooden or stone anvil or using quartz hammerstone by percussion.

Legacy, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, VOL.6, NO 2

 

 

As a result of this procedure Goodyear presented examples of “bend-break tools” – a sort of burins, the most common stone tools from the pre-Clovis zone of the Topper site. These flakes have three or four discrete breaks on their edges often forming 90 degree angles that make excellent chisel-like tips. Besides this he showed me some more usual tools: microblades, scrapers, small blade-like tools – all without bulbs. One flake was like the white patinated broad Gravettien flakes of my Möckenlohe collection.

There is also practical chipping to prove the theory

 

 

 

Obviously there does not exist any link to the Clovis-period. Al Goodyear believes that many different waves of immigrants swept into the USA in pre-Clovis time which can be dated back to some 50,000 years – may be from Europe, Siberia or South America. Confronted by this uncertainty the American archaeology is at its beginning.

Allendale 2002,  Allendale Paleoindian Expedition April 29-June 1

 

 

 

Due to the geochronical finding the site  is situated in the period of the Last Glacial Maximum or older. As a result of this procedure Goodyear presented examples of “bend-break tools” – a sort of burins, the most common stone tools from the pre-Clovis zone of the Topper site. These flakes have three or four discrete breaks on their edges often forming 90 degree angles that make excellent chisel-like tips. Besides this he showed me some more usual tools: microblades, scrapers, small blade-like tools – all without bulbs.

 

 

 

Obviously there does not exist any link to the Clovis-period. Al Goodyear believes that many different waves of immigrants swept into the USA in pre-Clovis time which can be dated back to some 50,000 years – may be from Europe, Siberia or South America. Confronted by this uncertainty the American archaeology is at its beginning.

As one result of my visit I guess that there must be more excavations, analysis and special investigations to get a clear definition about the artificial degree of the presented silices. Because of the unusual  character of most of the silices it needs more elaborated objective attributes to distinguish non-artificial from human made material beyond the traditional attributes like platform and  bulbs. This may increase the number of those convinced.

 

 

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