First Peoples in a New World: Colonizing Ice Age America / Edition 1

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Overview


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 Europe or that a crashing comet obliterated the Pleistocene megafauna. 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.
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Editorial Reviews

Choice

“A must read for anyone interested in what is undeniable the greatest debate in American archaeology. . . . Essential.”
Journal Of World History - Mark Dailey

“The book is . . . sharply written and narratively compelling.”
American Scientist

“A masterful exploration and encapsulation of the last two centuries of American archaeology and the first five millennia of the earliest Americans.”
Antiquity - E. James Dixon

“Informative and entertaining.”
Great Plains Research - Susan C. Vehik

“A good review of topics and controversies surrounding the peopling of North America.”
Journal Of Iowa Archeological Society - Juliet E. Morrow

“[Meltzer] has written the most in-depth synthesis of the history of the debate about the early peopling of North America yet published.”
Publishers Weekly

It was long axiomatic among archeologists that the prehistoric Clovis people of the Southwest were the first people in the Americas, arriving 12,000 years ago. Meltzer synthesizes controversial recent evidence that humans arrived in the Americas earlier than that and may not all have come across the Bering Strait from Asia. Meltzer also conveys well the heated debates among archeologists on this crucial subject (an argument among experts after examining evidence in South American turns rather ugly). Drawing on archeology, linguistics, geology, genetics and other disciplines, anthropologist Meltzer (Search for the First Americans) explores that evidence, as well as what we know about the Clovis people, such as evidence regarding Ice Age terrain indicating prehistoric peoples' ability to adapt to an uninhabitable and unfamiliar continent, and the speed with which they might have moved across the new world. Sometimes dense and academic, often lively and occasionally bemused, Meltzer's study-part detective story and part archeological research-is stimulating and sometimes tantalizingly controversial. 16 color and 64 b&w illus. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520250529
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 5/27/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 1,042,484
  • Product dimensions: 10.34 (w) x 7.22 (h) x 1.41 (d)

Meet the Author


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.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 7, 2012

    Great information in this book. Highly recommend for those study

    Great information in this book. Highly recommend for those studying Paleo-Indian Archaeology/First peoples of North America.


    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2014

    Nursery

    Hi!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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