The Pleistocene peopling of the Americas – are we finally arriving at some answers?
It’s quite certain people reached the Americas in Ice Age times. Yet, questions remain about who the first Americans were, where they came from, how and when they made it here, whether there was one or more migratory pulses, what they did once they reached this vast, diverse and then-unfamiliar landscape, how they responded to geologically-rapid climate changes then taking place, and what impact they may have had on the native fauna as they dispersed rapidly across the hemisphere. The good news is we have plenty of answers to those questions. The bad news is we can’t say which answers are right. Evidence from archaeology, genetics (especially the rapidly expanding studies of ancient DNA) and geology help clarify where we stand on certain issues, removes ambiguity in others, and points the way toward resolution of some still-disputed matters.
Professor Meltzer's principal research interests are the peopling of the Americas, Ice Age environments and human adaptations, and the history of American archaeology. He has conducted archaeological and field research across North America, especially on sites on the Great Plains and in the Rocky Mountains. He is the author of over 175 publications, including Folsom: new archaeological investigations of a classic Paleoindian bison kill (2006), First peoples in a New World: colonizing Ice Age America (2009), and The Great Paleolithic War: how science forged an understanding of America’s Ice Age past (2015).Meltzer is a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.
The talk will be followed by a drinks reception in the Pusey Room at Keble College (opposite the museum).