“The stone tools and a mastodon carcass taken out of the site date back 14,550 years, which is considerably older than evidence left by the Clovis.

What does it mean? If people back then were butchering animals with delicately crafted tools as far southeast as Florida, it means the first Americans crossed the land bridge much earlier than previously thought.

Archaeological certainty is no small feat. One of the challenges of dating prehistoric artifacts is finding organic carbon material to radiocarbon date — you can’t date stone spearheads alone.

A critical part of the evidence comes from the tusk of the butchered beast. The tusk features cut marks that would have been inside the skull of a mastodon, suggesting that it was extracted by humans.

Excavating at the Page-Ladson site certainly has its challenges. Conducting archaeology underwater is considerably harder than digging in dry land.

“We can’t have crews of 25 people digging at the same time,” Halligan said. “At most, only half of your crew is underwater.”

But Hannigan says the site yielded excellent archaeological finds “because of the fabulous organic preservation that you can only find in a continuously underwater environment.”

Without that preservation, we’d still be clutching to the wrong idea about the first American.”

Read more at  : Business Insider

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