Review of Becerra-Valdivia and Higham’s (2020) “The timing and effect of the earliest human arrivals in North America”

In their recent Bayesian survey of early archaeological dates from North America in Nature, Becerra-Valdivia and Higham (2020) conclude that “The data obtained show that humans were probably present before, during and immediately after the Last Glacial Maximum (about 26.5–19 thousand years ago), but that more widespread occupation began during a period of abrupt warming,…

Evaluating the claim of Ice Age archaeological material at Chiquihuite Cave, Mexico

The latest claim of surprisingly early archaeological material in the Americas comes from Chiquihuite Cave, Mexico. The paper (Ardelean et al 2020) contains a wealth of excellent information and analysis on (non-human) ancient DNA, paleo-environment, and local geology, but unfortunately, the archaeology component is very underdeveloped. Simply put, the paper as presented does not provide…

120kya in Australia? Bowler et al’s report on the Moyjil site is a model for how to present claims of early presence

Bower et al recently proposed archaeological evidence of a 120ky old human presence at the Moyjil in Australia. The oldest well-established archaeological material in Australia is currently just under 60ky old. As Bowler acknowledges in an interview, “That is a big jump to make”. How far do they get? It has become normal for the…