Coastwise hypothesis confirmed?


September 01, 2019

A paper in the journal Science this week offers evidence of the as yet oldest human occupational site in the New World. The site is Cooper's Ferry in Idaho and radio carbon dating yields an age range of 16560 to 15280 years ago. The authors, Davis et al. Point out these dates predate the opening of the ice free corridor, around14800 years ago and argue for the coastwise hypothesis for the early settlement of the New World. The  "coastwise hypothesis” States that humans inhabiting Central Alaska migrated around existing ice in seagoing craft following the most recent maximum glaciation South words along a now drowned western  North Americancoastline.

Well known new World sites, discovered within the past 30 years areMonte Verde in Chile and Santa Cruz Island, off  Santa Barbara, California. Both of these sites are less than 15,000 years old and until now have been the oldest sites of human occupation in the New World.

Points found  at Cooper's Ferry are not fluted and resemble points found at Northeast Asian (Siberian ) Sites.

The paper is entitled “Late Upper Paleolithic occupation at Cooper’s Ferry, Idaho, USA, ~16,000 years ago” and can be found in the journal Science.