The date of the first settlement of the Americas remains a contentious subject. Previous claims for very early occupation at Pedra Furada in Brazil were not universally accepted (see Meltzer et al. 1994). New work at the rockshelter of Boqueirão da Pedra Furada and at the nearby open-air site of Vale da Pedra Furada have however produced new evidence for human occupation extending back more than 20 000 years. The argument is supported by a series of 14C and OSL dates, and by technical analysis of the stone tool assemblage. The authors conclude that the currently accepted narrative of human settlement in South America will have to be re-thought. The article is followed by a series of comments, rounded off by a reply from the authors.
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