Testing the Atlantic Ice Hypothesis: The Blade Manufacturing of Clovis, Solutrean and the Broader Technological Aspects of Production in the Upper Palaeolithic
Williams, Thomas Joseph
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I intend to publish multiple research papers
The origins of Clovis technology and the nature and timing of the first populations to reach the Western Hemisphere is one of the most contentious issues in American archaeology. With the rejection of “Clovis-first”, many scholars consider that all colonising migrations followed a route out of Asia and across Beringia into North America. However, none of the technologies present in the far northeast of Asia or Beringia exhibit the manufacturing processes that were used in Clovis. To address this enigma, Stanford and Bradley proposed a radical alternative for the origins of Clovis. They argue that a small pioneering group of Solutreans crossed the Atlantic ice sheets of the LGM and reached the shores of North America. The basis for this argument stems from technological similarities between Clovis and the Solutrean, as well as from climatic, oceanographic, and ethnographic data. Biface manufacture is at the centre of their technological analysis, specifically comparing the reduction sequences of the distinctive Solutrean laurel leaf points and comparing them to Clovis points. This thesis tests the assumption of Stanford and Bradley that the blade manufacturing technologies of Clovis and Solutrean were “virtually identical”. By analysing the blade manufacturing processes from the Solutrean assemblage at Laugerie-Haute and the Clovis assemblage from the Gault site and comparing them to the broader technological patterns present across Eurasia between ~30,000 BP and 11,000 BP; this thesis supports the findings of Stanford and Bradley with the amendment that Clovis specifically intended to produce curved blades but did not use blades to produce projectile points. While convergence cannot be completely ruled out, there is a lack of evidence that would explain the number of similarities in the manufacturing processes. Thus it remains highly likely that interaction across the ice-edge corridor of the Atlantic may have occurred during the LGM.
PhD in Archaeology