First Peoples in a New World

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2010-11-30
  • Publisher: Univ of California Pr
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More than 12,000 years ago, in one of the greatest triumphs of prehistory, humans colonized North America, a continent that was then truly a new world. Just when and how they did so has been one of the most perplexing and controversial questions in archaeology. This dazzling, cutting-edge synthesis, written for a wide audience by an archaeologist who has long been at the center of these debates, tells the scientific story of the first Americans: where they came from, when they arrived, and how they met the challenges of moving across the vast, unknown landscapes of Ice Age North America. David J. Meltzer pulls together the latest ideas from archaeology, geology, linguistics, skeletal biology, genetics, and other fields to trace the breakthroughs that have revolutionized our understanding in recent years. Among many other topics, he explores disputes over the hemisphere's oldest and most controversial sites and considers how the first Americans coped with changing global climates. He also confronts some radical claims: that the Americas were colonized from Ice Age Europe or that a crashing comet obliterated the Pleistocene megafauna and nearly wiped out people as well. Full of entertaining descriptions of on-site encounters, personalities, and controversies, this is a compelling behind-the-scenes account of how science is illuminating our past.

Author Biography

David J. Meltzer is Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He is the author of Folsom: New Archaeological Investigations of a Classic Paleoindian Bison Kill (UC Press) and Search for the First Americans, among other books.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xix
Overturep. 1
On Dates and Datingp. 6
The Landscape of Colonization: Glaciers, Climates, and Environments of Ice Age North Americap. 23
The Younger Dryas: It Came from Outer Space?p. 55
From Paleoliths to Paleoindiansp. 63
A Mammoth Fraud in Sciencep. 75
The Pre-Clovis Controversy and Its Resolutionp. 95
A Visit to Monte Verdep. 125
Non-archaeological Answers to Archaeological Questionsp. 137
And Then There Was Kennewickp. 177
American Origins: The Search for Consensusp. 183
Looking for Clovis in All the Wrong Placesp. 185
What Do You Do When No One's Been There Before?p. 209
Clovis Adaptations and Pleistocene Extinctionsp. 239
Is Overkill Dead?p. 262
Settling In: Late Paleoindians and the Waning Ice Agep. 281
Back to Folsomp. 291
When Past and Present Collidep. 321
Further Readingp. 345
Notesp. 349
Referencesp. 385
Indexp. 421
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Great read August 11, 2011
I'm just an interested lay reader, not an academic or a pro, so I have no doubt missed some detail and lots of nuance, but this is one great read. Accessible and authoritative, the textbook simply cannot be put down - one of those 'delicious' reads that you don't want to end. Highly recommended.
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First Peoples in a New World: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.

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