Who were the first Americans? Forty years ago, historians, archeologists, and anthropologists would have answered conclusively that the first Americans arrived from Eastern Asia via a land bridge across the Bering Strait around twelve thousand years ago. These were the Clovis peoples, an early American people essentially discovered by former slave George McJunkin in 1908 after he uncovered a prehistoric bison skeleton and an early stone point in a New Mexico dry river bed. But things change, and as Liberty Classroom members know, the historical “consensus” is not always accurate.
History takes imagination and a willingness to accept evidence that does not fit the “consensus” position. Smithsonian historian Dennis J. Stanford has argued for twenty years that the first Americans in fact arrived from either Western Asia or Europe and are closely linked to the ancient Solutrean peoples of France. He was originally ridiculed, rejected, and marginalized by the profession, but slowly, his position has found favor among academics. His work may finally be proved by science.
A forthcoming book by Texas A&M press explains that DNA analysis has revealed that the first Americans had more in common genetically with Western Asians or Europeans than Eastern Asians. If so, history texts will need to be rewritten. In perhaps another thirty years, the “consensus” may be that the first Americans arrived across ice sheets from Europe, not Asia, and brought with them the “Clovis” technology that has never been found outside of Europe or Western Asia other than in the Americas. Of course, this will take an open mind. The historical “profession” is notorious for the opposite, and the Solutrean thesis is rife with political controversy.
While the United States history courses as Liberty Classroom do not cover this subject, I believe this is an important topic and one that our members may find interesting. Controversy is always fun. Here is an hour long lecture by Stanford explaining his thesis in detail. Enjoy!