This program is over.

Hope you didn't miss it!  Find more programs here.

The First North American Migration—Not a Strait Route?

Evening Seminar

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Code: 1J0670

Text Size
- +

The first people to inhabit North America came across the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska about 12,000 years ago, right? Maybe not. A provocative new theory proposed by archaeologists Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley asserts that the first Americans crossed the Atlantic by boat and arrived earlier than previously thought.

Presenting the latest archaeological, oceanographic, paleoclimatic, and genetic research, Stanford and Bradley show what they believe to be links between the distinctive stone tools of the Clovis culture in North America and the culture of the Solutrean people who occupied France and Spain more than 20,000 years ago, during the last Ice Age.

Could the ancestors of the Clovis people be Paleolithic Iberians who crossed the North Atlantic and settled in North America during the last Ice Age? Evidence that Paleolithic hunters may have made ocean-going voyages thousands of years ago has now been found in archaeological sites in the Chesapeake Bay region. Stanford and Bradley apply rigorous scholarship and testing to challenge the old paradigm and offer this radical new theory of North American prehistory.

Stanford is curator of archaeology and director of the Paleoindian Program at the Natural History Museum. Bradley is senior lecturer in archaeology at the University of Exeter and director of its Experimental Archaeology Programme. Their new book, Across Atlantic Ice (University of California Press), is available for signing at the program.

Learn more about the debate surrounding the Settlement of the Americas on Wikipedia.

Smithsonian Connections

View the National Museum of Natural History's online exhibit, Vikings: The North Atlantic Saga to learn more about one of the first groups to discover and explore North America.


National Museum of Natural History
Baird Auditorium
10th & Constitution Avenue, NW
Metro: Federal Triangle or Smithsonian