Who really settled America before Clovis?
I personally believe that the pre Clovis culture 50,000 BCE was probably part of the second wave out of Africa which first colonised Arabia, India, Southeast Asia and Australia. The group left Africa 60,000 years ago and rapidly reached Australia 40,000 years ago, so it's not much of a stretch to assume that one group travelled North along the Asian Pacific coast and across the Bering strait. We know that the group which colonised Australia had basic canoe technology because they colonised Australia. I would assume that the pre Clovis were displaced by the Clovis which colonised the Americas rapidly because they had the better technology which let them hunt megafauna. The Fuegians and Amazonian tribes could be isolated remnants of the pre Clovis.
>In before Solutrean hypothesis.
>We know that the group which colonised Australia had basic canoe technology because they colonised Australia.
Very basic then, because you could probably island-hop your way to Australia just by swimming back in those days.
It's extremely unlikely that anyone ever swum to Sahul, the distances between islands may look small on a map but in reality they are tens of kilometres across. It's more than likely they crossed either by tying up a load of bamboo to make a raft or created a dugout canoe from a log.
Actual archaeologist here. This isn't my area of expertise, but I do know a decent amount about it. My thoughts are:
Pre-Clovis settlement is a certainty at this point, and hasn't been controversial in North American archaeology for twenty years. I have no idea why this hasn't spread more to the general public (maybe the History channel likes making mystery-themed documentaries too much?), but it's still common to see threads about if pre-Clovis existed, so I feel the need to point it out.
As for when, who, and how, that's when things get a little sketchy. From the research I've done, I think people were coming over at least 20,000 years ago. Probably earlier, but it's hard to pinpoint when because of how scarce the evidence gets. This is because most of the earliest sites of human occupation in North America are probably underwater at this point. The earliest people to come to North America were probably fisherman and marine hunters from the Asian side of the Bering, who came over on boats following marine animals and kelp beds. Because of this, their settlements would have all been coastal, and changes in sea levels, along with erosion, have likely destroyed these sites or made them hard to access. That's about as much as I'm willing to say with any kind of certainty, but that's what the evidence says at this point.
The Solutrean hypthesis is bullshit and no one takes it seriously, by the way. Genetics and the existence of pre-Clovis have disproven it, and Dennis Stanford's arguments were always poor anyway.
Ojibwe Amerindians carry a mitochondrial haplogroup X2 which is from the Middle East and not over 20k years old. Kennewick man also had it. I'm not saying it's Solutrean but it might represent a pre-Clovis migration across Siberia.
Oh, and there were several waves of migrations. No one is sure exactly how many, but the settlers of North America didn't come over in one go, like many people seem to think. There were early marine settlers, and then people started coming over via the land bridge when it opened, like Kennewick man's ancestors (inhabitation sites in Beringia are also underwater at this point). But in all likelihood there was a long period of time during which different groups of people settled the continent
Interesting. I doubt there really was one group which colonised America, both before and after Clovis. The pre Clovis probably came in successive waves similar to the three wave settlement theory, since there is some evidence of settlement 50,000 years ago and the next evidence comes around 20,000 years ago and then 17,000 years ago until the Clovis arrive.