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Encyclopedia > Solutrean hypothesis

The Solutrean hypothesis contends that stone tool technology of the Solutrean culture in prehistoric Europe may have later influenced the development of the Clovis tool-making culture in the Americas. Some of its key proponents include Dr. Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution and Dr. Bruce Bradley. The Solutrean industry was an advanced flint tool making style of the Upper Palaeolithic. ... The Clovis culture (also Llano culture) is a prehistoric Native American culture that first appears in the archaeological record of North America around 13,500 years ago, at the end of the last ice age. ... The Smithsonian Institution Building or Castle on the National Mall serves as the Institutions headquarters. ...


In this hypothesis, peoples associated with the Solutrean culture migrated from Ice Age Europe to North America, bringing their methods of making stone tools with them and providing the basis for later Clovis technology found throughout North America. The hypothesis rests upon particular similarities in Solutrean and Clovis technology that have no counterparts in Eastern Asia, Siberia or Beringia, areas from which or through which early Americans are known to have migrated. Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ... World map showing North America A satellite composite image of North America. ... Siberian Federal District (darker red) and the broadest definition of Siberia (red) Udachnaya pipe Siberia (Russian: , Sibir; Tatar: ) is a vast region of Russia constituting almost all of Northern Asia. ... The Bering land bridge, also known as Beringia, was a land bridge roughly 1600 km (1000 miles) north to south at its greatest extent, which joined present-day Alaska and eastern Siberia at various times during the ice ages. ...

Contents

Characteristics

Solutrean culture was dominant in present-day France and Spain from roughly 21,000 to 17,000 years ago. It was known for its distinctive toolmaking characterized by bifacial, pressure-flaked points. Traces of the Solutrean tool-making industry disappear rather abruptly from Europe around 15,000 years ago, when it was replaced by the somewhat cruder tools of the Magdalenian culture. Flint biface from Saint-Acheul, France. ... The Magdalenian, also spelt Magdalénien, refers to one of the later culture of the Upper Palaeolithic in western Europe. ...


Clovis tools are typified by a distinctive rock spear point, known as the Clovis point. Like Solutrean points, Clovis points are bifacial and "fluted" on both sides. Fluting allows the point to be mounted onto a spear in a way so that the point would potentially separate from the staff of the spear and remain lodged in the hunter's prey. Clovis tool-making technology seems to appear in the archaeological record in North America roughly 13,500 years ago, and similar predecessors in Asia or Alaska have not yet been discovered. Hunting spear and knife, from Mesa Verde National Park. ... Clovis points are the oldest flint tools associated with the North American Clovis culture. ...


Atlantic crossing

The hypothesis proposes that Ice Age Europeans could have crossed the North Atlantic along the edge of the pack ice that extended from the Atlantic coast of France to North America during the last glacial maximum. The model envisions these people making the crossing in small watercraft, using skills similar to those of the modern Inuit people, exploiting relatively plentiful maritime resources. Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ... World map showing North America A satellite composite image of North America. ... For other uses, see Inuit (disambiguation). ...


Transitional styles

Supporters of the hypothesis suggest that stone tools found at Cactus Hill (an early American site in Virginia) indicate a transitional style between the Clovis and Solutrean cultures. Artifacts from this site are estimated to date from 17,000 to 15,000 years ago, although a consensus has not been reached among researchers on their definitive age. Cactus Hill is an archaeological site in the U.S. state of Virginia. ...


MtDNA Haplogroup X

The idea is also supported by mitochondrial DNA analysis insofar as the fact that some members of some native North American tribes share a common yet distant maternal ancestry with some present-day individuals in Europe identified by mtDNA Haplogroup X. Haplogroup X has not been found in eastern Asia or Siberia, unlike other Native American mtDNA Haplogroups A, B, C and D. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is DNA which is not located in the nucleus of the cell but in the mitochondria. ... In human genetics, Haplogroup X is a mitochondrial DNA (or mtDNA) haplogroup, ie a group of possible DNA sequences for a cell mitochondria. ... In human genetics, Haplogroup A is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup. ... In human genetics, Haplogroup B is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup. ... In human genetics, Haplogroup C is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup. ... In human genetics, Haplogroup D is a human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup. ...


Challenges to the Solutrean hypothesis

Difficulties with this hypothesis include the challenges of crossing the Atlantic with the technology of the time as well as a temporal gap of millennia between the apparent end of the Solutrean culture and the earliest discovered Clovis tools.


Other problems with the hypothesis include an apparent lack of Solutrean-style artwork (like that found at Lascaux in France) among the Clovis people. In response, proponents point out that the Solutreans introduced a tool-making innovation and not necessarily cultural or artistic practices. Lascaux Lascaux is a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its cave paintings. ...


See also

The question of when humans first entered the Americas (the New World) and how they arrived has been debated for centuries, and will probably continue to be for many more years to come in the anthropological community. ... In human genetics, Haplogroup X is a mitochondrial DNA (or mtDNA) haplogroup, ie a group of possible DNA sequences for a cell mitochondria. ... The name American Aborigines has been proposed by some archaeologists and anthropologists for hypothetical peoples who lived in in South America long before hunter-gatherer migrants from Siberia (who are believed to be the ancestors of todays Amerindians) crossed the Bering Land Bridge. ...

External links

  • Coming into America: Tracing the Genes, PBS, popular presentation of the Solutrean hypothesis

PBS re-directs here; for alternate uses see PBS (disambiguation) PBS logo The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is a non-profit public broadcasting television service with 349 member TV stations in the United States. ...

References

Stanford, Dennis, and Bruce Bradley. 2002. "Ocean Trails and Prairie Paths? Thoughts About Clovis Origins." In The First Americans: The Pleistocene Colonization of the New World, Nina G. Jablonski (ed.), pp. 255-271. San Francisco: Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, No. 27.


Straus, Lawrence G. 2000. Solutrean Settlement of North America? A Review of Reality. American Antiquity 63: 7-20.


 
 

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