Who were the first humans to reach North America? When and how did they arrive? Noted author David L. Harrison explores the various theories of North America's first people: Some evidence suggests that they walked across the land bridge that once connected Siberia and Alaska. Elsewhere, a growing number of archaeologists believe that at least some, if not most, of our forefathers arrived by boat along North America's northwest coast, possibly from Southeast Asia or Japan. Other archeologists speculate that ...
Who were the first humans to reach North America? When and how did they arrive? Noted author David L. Harrison explores the various theories of North America's first people: Some evidence suggests that they walked across the land bridge that once connected Siberia and Alaska. Elsewhere, a growing number of archaeologists believe that at least some, if not most, of our forefathers arrived by boat along North America's northwest coast, possibly from Southeast Asia or Japan. Other archeologists speculate that humans reached the continent by boat, crossing the frigid North Atlantic waters from Europe. With archeological field photographs and realistic illustrations by Richard Hilliard, the author demonstrates how scientists are like detectives, investigating mysteries that took place more than one hundred centuries ago. Includes maps, glossary, sources, index.
Harrison offers a fantastic mix of information about archaeology and the study of a civilization that existed in North America previous to Egypt and its dynasties. With every explanation about how the people moved and settled there is technical vocabulary that is defined within the context and has pronunciation guides associated with it. The graphics are detailed and appropriately placed with the text. The author spends most of the text describing a group of people called Clovis and their very sophisticated system of hunting and living. The book follows the discovery of the Clovis remains around North America and as far south as Chile. There is a great chapter about ancient people who might have used boats to travel from Africa to South America. The book ends with as many questions as answers, demonstrating that archeologists never stop discovering the past and often their discoveries lead to even more questions. There is a glossary of terms in the back but it seemed unnecessary as the author did a great job of explaining the terms as the book. Reviewer: Patricia Williamson
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—Harrison's clear text investigates a long-standing question: "Who came first?" in the prehistory of the Americas. Did people cross on the Beringia land bridge on foot? Did they paddle or sail their way along the Siberia/Beringia coastline to Alaska and points south? And when did they arrive? Harrison begins with the Clovis people, whose beautifully fluted flint points set an artistic standard in the prehistoric Americas (and who were the first to be brought to the attention of the modern world), and goes on to record the efforts and finds of scientists searching for the cultures that preceded them. Photographs of digs, artifacts, and scientists at work and maps and realistic illustrations offer visual enrichment to the text, and a glossary will assist novices to the subject. Harrison concludes with up-to-date archaeological information and photos of recent digs, but admits that the precise answer to "first?" is yet to be found. Similar in reading level to Patricia Lauber's handsome Who Came First?: New Clues to Prehistoric Americans (National Geographic, 2003), this intriguing addition is a solid find.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
How and when the Western Hemisphere, particularly North and South America, came to be populated continues to be both mysterious and controversial for scientists. Archaeologists plug away with the tools at their disposal but have "more questions than answers." Harrison does a good job setting the issue in context. He describes the earliest efforts to identify the original inhabitants of the continents, exploring the Clovis culture, believed by many to be the first humans to reach North America. After clearly explaining how scholars decided that they were first, he then lists the arguments against this hypothesis. In the course of looking at both sides, he introduces young readers to "the strict rules of archaeology." The author demonstrates the precise work of those attempting to understand the hidden aspects of human history and how many of these old questions are seen in the light of new technologies and discoveries. The narrative is aided by both photographs and original illustrations that imagine scenes from both the distant past and the field experiences. (glossary, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9-12)