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Paleoindian Colonization of the Americas: Implications from an Examination of Physiography, Demography, and Artifact Distribution

  • David G. Anderson (a1) and J. Christopher Gillam (a2)

GIS-based, least-cost analyses employing continental scale elevation data, coupled with information on the late glacial location of ice sheets and pluvial lakes, suggest possible movement corridors used by initial human populations in colonizing the New World. These routes, demographic evidence, and the location of Paleoindian archaeological assemblages, support the possibility of a rapid spread and diversification of founding populations. Initial dispersal, these analyses suggest, would have been most likely in coastal and riverine settings, and on plains. The analyses suggest areas where evidence for early human settlement may be found in North and South America. In some cases, these areas have received little prior archaeological survey. The method can be used to explore patterns of human migration and interaction at a variety of geographic scales.

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American Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0002-7316
  • EISSN: 2325-5064
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