Recent archaeological evidence uncovered by University of South Carolina scientists points to human habitation along the Savannah River in South
Carolina 50,000 years ago. Previous estimates of early human life in North America date to approximately 25,000 years ago; the find, if found
conclusive, will rewrite scientific theory of North American human habitation. Carbon dating on what is believed to be an ancient living site
returned a date of 50,300 years, however further investigation is needed to prove the burnt vegetable matter and stone chips were the product of human
Human beings roamed South Carolina along the banks of the Savannah River at least 50,000 years ago working on stone tools, University of South
Carolina archaeology officials said Wednesday.
That would make the settlement more than twice the age of other known human settlements in North America.
Plant material at USC's Topper archaeological site in Allendale County has been radiocarbon dated to approximately 50,000 years ago and may be older,
said Albert Goodyear, a USC archaeologist in charge of the project.
He said small pieces of chert tools and the byproduct of tool-making were found in the same level of the plant material.
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The stone chips may be key in this find, as Albert Goodyear, the archaeologist heading the Topper dig, says they show signs of "scratching and
polishing" indicitive of human handiwork.
The timeframe for early human habitation on the North American continent is a hotly debated topic in archaeological circles. For many years, the
earliest evidence was with the Clovis people in New Mexico, dated approximately 18,000 years ago. More recent digs in places as varied as Oklahoma
and Pennsylvania have been verified as slightly older than that. Some current theories place the date around 40-50,000 years, however conclusive
scientific proof has only shown a figure half as long.
Despite extenstive knowledge of the origins of homo sapiens
, scientists are still unsure when modern man arrived in North America and exactly
how he got here. The Topper site may prove to be one more valuable clue in uncovering the ancient history of the North American continent.
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[edit on 18-11-2004 by Banshee]