The fact that humans could have been in North America at or near the same time is expected to spark debate among archaeologists worldwide, raising new questions on the origin and migration of the human species."Topper is the oldest radiocarbon dated site in North America," Goodyear says.May 1999 — Team of outside geologists led by Mike Waters, a researcher at Texas A&M, visit Topper site and propose a thorough geological study of locality.
In October 2005, archaeologists will meet in Columbia for a conference on Clovis and the study of earliest Americans.
The conference will include a day trip to Topper, which is sure to dominate discussions and presentations at the international gathering. Al Goodyear and his team dig up to a meter below the Clovis level and encounter unusual stone tools up to two meters below surface.
Albert Goodyear indicate that the sediments containing these artifacts are at least 50,000 years old, meaning that humans inhabited North American long before the last ice age.
The findings are significant because they suggest that humans inhabited North America well before the last ice age more than 20,000 years ago, a potentially explosive revelation in American archaeology.
Goodyear found a number of artifacts similar to the pre-Clovis forms he has excavated in recent years.
Then on the last day of the last week of digging, Goodyear's team uncovered a black stain in the soil where artifacts lay, providing him the charcoal needed for radiocarbon dating. Tom Stafford of Stafford Laboratories in Boulder, Colo., came to Topper and collected charcoal samples for dating.
Last May, Goodyear dug even deeper to see whether man's existence extended further back in time.
Using a backhoe and hand excavations, Goodyear's team dug through the Pleistocene terrace soil, some 4 meters below the ground surface.
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Goodyear, who has garnered international attention for his discoveries of tools that pre-date what is believed to be humans' arrival in North America, announced the test results, which were done by the University of California at Irvine Laboratory, Wednesday (Nov .17).