A Solutrean Publicity Blitz
The book mentioned below will certainly sell, but it’s going to sell to magical thinking racists who wishfully want the world to have been previously 100 % populated by whites. It plays to white nationalist mythos that the ancient civilizations were all white and genocidally destroyed by “mongrel races’, and that whites have ‘blood and soil’ ancestral claims to all land. (To understand why this is important, you also have to recognize the dark philosophies behind the scientific racialist “I’m not a racist, I’m a racialist” positions that call for everyone to have separate ancestral homelands.)
The theory is easily disproved by two genetic studies alone, and the book presents old evidence that amount to a few pinpoints of correlations awash in seas of contrary data which the authors conveniently ignore. The Smithsonian should feel shame, because by this time it’s known pseudo-science, and it’s also known who this pseudo science appeals to.
About all the “Solutrean Paleoindian” news this week…
There is no new evidence, no revelation, no reason why other archaeologists should revisit this issue at this time. The news is free publicity for the release of a book.
The book, by Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley, titled Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America’s Clovis Culture. The book argues that ancient Europeans, carrying knowledge of the Upper Paleolithic Solutrean toolmaking tradition, voyaged across the icy North Atlantic around the time of the Last Glacial Maximum to establish a new population in the Americas.
I’ve been out of town so it took me a while to figure out why all these newspapers were suddenly interested. None of the news outlets that employ knowledgeable science writers have jumped on this, for good reason. There’s no news here except the book release. An exception is The Washington Post, which ran a long article featuring Stanford and Bradley’s claims (“Radical theory of first Americans places Stone Age Europeans in Delmarva 20,000 years ago”).
At this point, somebody reputable needs to review this and give a serious account of the book’s claims, because there’s too much hype going around. I went to Amazon to see if there was a Kindle version of the book for me to review. But there isn’t a Kindle edition. So I thought, OK, I’ll order the hardback. But Amazon doesn’t have it in stock.
In other words, the University of California Press publicity machine has done its job.
I want to give some links to some other recent books about Paleoindians. I will be reviewing and reading several of these as I go through Stanford and Bradley’s book. That won’t be until after the AAPA meetings, because the hardback of Across Atlantic Ice will take a long time to get here, so if you want to learn more about the initial inhabitants of the Americas, I suggest looking at one or more of these
List of sources at link above, here’s a paper that disproves Bradley’s theories through mDNA studies: