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Dawn of Humans: Who Were the First Americans?



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The Ultimate Tool Box
Photograph by Kenneth Garrett

Dennis Stanford, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., looks over part of the Smithsonian’s huge collection of early American artifacts. Stanford, internationally known for his expertise in analyzing stone tools, is one of the proponents of a theory that the first Americans may have come from Europe instead of Asia. The stone tool in his hand was created with a flaking technique called outre passe. Stanford and Bruce Bradley, another stone-tool expert, observe this technique both in early American stone tools and in those from the Solutrean culture in southwestern Europe, about 20,000 years ago. “The artifacts are so convincing,” Stanford says, “once you understand how they were made.” Other archaeologists disagree, saying that similarities in tools can be explained simply by the possibility that different sets of people had the same ideas. Stanford, who is so intrigued with ancient tools that he has learned to make copies of them (and once butchered a dead elephant with stone knives), shrugs at opposition to the hypothesis that early Europeans made it across the Atlantic. “This gets me into a lot of controversy,” he says cheerfully, “because it’s based on speculation. But it is informed speculation.”



Camera: Nikon F5
Film Type: Fuji Velvia
Lens: 17-35 Nikkor Zoom
Speed and F-Stop: 1/60 @ f/8
Weather Conditions: N/A
Time of Day: Morning
Lighting Techniques: Dynalight strobes





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