The people who lived in the late Pleistocene (circa 10-20,000 years ago) in the deep South of the current USA have always been a bit of a mystery to researchers. Where did they come from? It is as if they just showed up one day with their very fine worked stone tools and weapons. Though relatively rare in Alabama, there is still a rich record of their stone remains. The following photos present a small sample of that record.
A fascinating hypothesis has come to light in the last ten years. Researchers Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution and Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter have compared the stone technologies of the Paleo people with others around the world and have determined that the closest match comes from the Solutrean culture of France and Spain. If this is true, it is a dramatic departure from the traditional idea that the Paleo people arrived on this continent from Asia through the Bering Straits.
This is one of a series of field notes for archeological researchers. The notes are free. Pass it on if you please.
Caleb Curren: August 2009