Lost World: Rewriting Prehistory -- How New Science Is Tracing America's Ice Age Mariners

Lost World: Rewriting Prehistory -- How New Science Is Tracing America's Ice Age Mariners

by Tom Koppel
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Lost World: Rewriting Prehistory -- How New Science Is Tracing America's Ice Age Mariners by Tom Koppel

In a captivating blend of extreme science and historical sleuthing, veteran journalist Tom Koppel tells the inside story of the quest to discover who first settled in the New World -- and how and when they did it. For decades the issue seemed moot. The first settlers, we were told, were big-game hunters who arrived from Asia at the end of the Ice Age some 10,000 years ago, crossing a land bridge in the Bering Strait and migrating south through an ice-free passage between two great glaciers blanketing the continent. But after years of sifting through data from diverse and surprising sources, the maverick scientists whose stories Lost World follows have found evidence to overthrow the "big-game hunter" scenario and reach a startling and controversial conclusion: The first people to arrive in North America did not come overland; the came along the coast by water.

Now, for the first time, an award-winning journalist details these provocative discoveries as he accompanies the archaeologists, geologists, biologists, and paleontologists on their intensive search. Writing with crisp and often suspenseful prose, author Tom Koppel takes readers along with the scientists under the sea, into caves, and out to the remote offshore islands of Alaska, British Columbia, and California. Presenting detailed and growing evidence for ancient coastal migration, he shows how new methods of dating, underwater imaging, and biochemical analysis support conclusions based on more traditional scientific inquiry.

Lost World is driven by an eloquent and powerful narrative that brings to life the rich existence of daring maritime pioneers, a sea-faring people who survived in food-laden refuges on the fringes of retreating coastal glaciers. By accompanying the key scientists on their intensive search and recounting with vivid immediacy the risks and failures along with the satisfactions and breakthroughs, Koppel brings to life the quest for that Holy Grail of New World prehistory, the first peopling of the Americas. A fascinating book full of larger-than-life personalities, timeless mysteries, and astonishing discoveries, Lost World is science writing at its best.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743453578
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication date: 06/24/2003
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.36(w) x 9.62(h) x 1.08(d)

About the Author

Tom Koppel has earned awards from the Canadian Archeological Association and the Canadian Science Writers' Association for his investigative research. A journalist for more than twenty years, he lives with his wife on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia.

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Lost World 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Canadian journalist Koppel chronicles recent efforts by archaeologists to prove that the first people came to America by boat, not on foot. American anthropology was dominated for most of the 20th century by the theory that big-game hunters from Asia crossed an Alaskan land bridge during the last Ice Age, roughly 12,000 years ago, moving south through an ice-free corridor east of the Rockies. Their artifacts, found from Kansas to New Mexico, made up the Clovis and Folsom cultures. Alternative theories faced skepticism due to the paucity of artifacts or human remains to support them. But beginning in the 1960s, some archaeologists proposed a coastal route, arguing that the melting glaciers had covered earlier settlements with hundreds of feet of ocean water. Koppel documents their efforts to substantiate these theories. He treats the reader to eyewitness descriptions of scientists crawling through nearly inaccessible caves high in the hills of Alaska and British Columbia, dredging for artifacts in the seabed, camping out in bear country, and fighting a constant battle with the treacherous weather and currents of the North Pacific. The author also gives a broad survey of work done elsewhere in the Americas, focusing on discoveries that brought the 'Clovis first' theory into question. Few of the scientists here are household names, but Koppel renders them as distinct individuals and conveys a clear picture of what their day-to-day work is like. When at last some key discoveries made it clear that coastal settlements are of at least equal antiquity with Clovis, readers are well briefed to understand why archaeologists then raised their glasses to toast the changing of a scientific paradigm. Despite the author's overt cheerleading for the coastal theory, a good overview of a fascinating slice of prehistory.