In its original form, the Solutrean Hypothesis states that during the Ice Age, humans traveled along the edge of the North Atlantic Ice Cap to populate sections of eastern North America. Their descendants interbred with peoples from Siberia to form modern Native American peoples. In particular, this theory was championed by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.
Part Ten of the Mesolithic Period in Eastern North America
by Richard L. Thornton, Architect and City Planner
The development of the Solutrean Hypothesis really began in the 1980s, as a result of the excavations near the Shenandoah River by my friend, archaeologist William Gardner. These excavations are described in videos on the Cactus Hill and Thunderbird Archaeological Sites (October 16, 2022). Bill discovered a large flint quarrying and knapping site for making Clovis points. These Clovis points were being used by a large resident population in the Coastal Plain. When Clovis point production ceased, the site was not abandoned, but rather grew into several large villages with up to 1000 residents in one site. Bill deduced that it did not make sense to label Clovis a western North America culture, when there was such a large population near the Atlantic Coast.
During the 1990s archaeologists in Virginia, Washington, DC and Maryland unearthed an increasing number of European style artifacts in the region east of the Blue Ridge Mountains, primarily near the Chesapeake Bay. They were dated to around 20,000 BC. At this time, the Atlantic Coast was located about 100 miles (160 km) east of its present location and the Chesapeake Bay was a river valley. The archaeologists ultimately concluded that the coastal region of Virginia had originally been populated by immigrants from the Atlantic Coast of Europe.
Thirty years ago, Clovis reigned supreme. All high school social studies textbooks told students that the first humans crossed the Bering Strait land bridge about 12,000 years ago, bearing Clovis points. Any archaeologist who suggested an alternative theory was demonized . . . called a racist, accused of practicing pseudo-archaeology and thus was shunned by his or her peers. Thus, members of the “Solutrean Gang” was shunned and mocked by everyone else. Native American leaders, west of the Mississippi, in union cursed them and called them White Supremacists. However, in the Southeast a few Native Americans mumbled, “. . . but the Uchees are the oldest tribe in the Southeast and they always said that they came across the Atlantic.”
In 2022, the Clovis First Orthodoxy is in tatters. Geologists determined that when the Bering Land Bridge existing, it was sealed off from the rest of the Americas by a one-to-two mile sheet of ice. No Clovis points have been found in Siberia, Alaska or northwestern Canada. The oldest Clovis Points are found in the Savannah River Basin of Georgia and South Carolina. The greatest concentration of Clovis Points, by far, is in the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee. Worse still for the Clovis First crowd is the fact that much older styles of weapons than Clovis have been found in several parts of the Americas.
We will will now compare criticisms of the Solutrean Hypothesis with recent archaeological discoveries.
- Only American Indian DNA has been found in Pre-Columbian Native American remains
- This is patently false. It should be pointed out that there are NO DNA test markers for the indigenous tribes of the Eastern United States. There were several Creek towns in 1500 AD with larger populations than entire states, west of the Mississippi. It highly possible that the southern Southeastern United States once contained more people than the remainder of North America, north of Mexico.
- Geneticist Stephen Oppenheimer and his team at Huddersfield University have traced unique DNA found in eastern North America back to the Solutrean region.
- In privately conducted DNA tests, seemingly full-blooded Uchee test subjects carried very little AmerIndian DNA, but lots of Sami, Finnish and Basque DNA. The Uchee have always said that they crossed the Atlantic to reach the mouth of the Savannah River.
- The oldest human remains in Amazonia and the southern tip of South America are Australoids.
- A 12,000 year old baby girl’s skeleton in Alaska was found by the University of Copenhagen to be roughly one half Eurasian and one half what is now labeled AmerIndian.
- The oldest skeletons, found so far in Florida were determined to be Proto-Sami from northern Europe.
- A group of 40 ancient skeletons, unearthed on Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands of California have been found to be either Proto-Polynesian or Southeast Asian. They were a seafaring people.
- The tall, red-headed “egg head” people of the Paracus region of Peru have been found to be descended from peoples living in Southern Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula. Archaeologist Robert Wauchope (1939) and Joseph Caldwell (1947) excavated a large town on the Etowah River in the Allatoona Mountains of Georgia, populated by the same race of people, but the Paracus Culture was unknown then. They interpreted the entire town to have birth defects and did not save any whole skeletons. Caldwell brought one of the strange skulls to the University of Georgia, but it has been lost.
- At the time of Spanish colonization, ALL of the tribes from Los Angeles southward to the tip of Baja California were Polynesians. They were extinct by the mid-1800s.
2. No 12,000 year old boat, capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean, has been found.
This is true, but the coast line was a hundred miles or more farther to the east. The proponents of the Solutrean Hypothesis never said that these peoples crossed open water, but rather that they followed the edge of the ice cap . . . camping on the ice cap at night. Keep in mind that the current indigenous inhabitants of Greenland walked or sledded from Alaska to Greenland on a continuous ice cap. They cooked and kept their igloos warm by burning blubber.
3. Proponents of the Solutrean Hypothesis are racists and insulting to Native Americans.
- Most of the actors playing Solutreans in these videos are quite inaccurate in appearance. They did NOT look like the people of France and Spain today. It is now known that the people of Europe in 20,000 BC had dark complexions . . . probably darker than most Native Americans in the United States today . . . and black hair. They would have resembled the people southern India today.
- It is also now known that Native Americans compose a hybrid race that does not exist in the Old World. They are a mixture of many peoples. The proponents of the Solutrean Hypothesis were merely adding one more ingredient to the Brunswick Stew!
4. The archaeologists, who dreamed up the Solutrean Hypothesis merely made wild speculations based on the similarity of stone points in Virginia and France. That is not enough information to change the understanding of how the Americas was peopled.
- The supporting arguments are much more comprehensive than that. It is now known that the Clovis Culture began in the region around the Savannah River on the South Atlantic Coast of the United States. Solutrean and Clovis points are starkly different than the stone points made in eastern Siberia, Alaska and the Pacific Coasts of the Americas.
Two videos, produced by the Smithsonian Institute
A 2018 TV documentary by the CBC (Canada) presents a broad range of views, but the most recent scientific work seems to support the possibility of at least some Solutreans coming to North America. The one hour program is in English.