Strangers in a New Land: What Archaeology Reveals About the First Americans

J.M. Adovasio and David Pedler. Firefly, $49.95 (348p) ISBN 978-1-77085-363-8
North American archaeologists once embraced a consensus that raised Clovis Man, radiocarbon dated to 13,300–12,,800 years BP (before present), as the first humans in the New World (a blanket term for the Americas), but a more complex picture is emerging. This lavishly illustrated work gives a comprehensive overview of the rapidly evolving field of New World archaeology, first outlining the four basic questions that New World archaeologists face—where these people originated in the Old World, how they got here, when they arrived, and what were they doing. The second part of the book examines the current evidence, divided into chapters that discuss uncontroversial Clovis and Folsom sites, disputed pre-Clovis sites, legitimate pre-Clovis sites, and finally controversial pre-Clovis sites. The authors provide ancillary materials such as a glossary and an explanation of the potential and limits of radiocarbon dating. The book is suitable for the curious layperson interested in the current state of the field, and the bibliography will be useful for readers looking for further reading material. By eschewing the practice of presenting the science as settled and absolute in favor of providing the evidence for and against the competing models, the authors also give readers a view of science as a living field, not received truth but a process of endless questing. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/16/2017
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
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