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A Journey to a New Land

Boat and Bear
Multimedia Library

Dr. Richard Shutler

Department of Archaeology, Simon Fraser University

Siberian Origins

In Siberia there are sites that are quite old. As far as who migrated to the New World, there is a big difference between American archaeologists and Russian archaeologists. The American archaeologists almost entirely have the idea that the Aleut and the Eskimos didn’t break up until they got to North America, whereas the Russian archaeologists think that happened before they left Siberia. I myself think that there was more involved than just the Beringia area, which of course was dry land 18,000 years ago and full of megafauna.

It seems to me that when you consider that the ocean was 300 feet (100 metres) lower than it is today, it would have been quite simple to come down through the Kamchatka Peninsula, across the Commodore Islands, through the Aleutian Islands, down the west coast of North America, and eventually to South America.

The problem is that the oldest radiocarbon date we have for the Aleutians is only 9000 years. There has been no work done on paleo sea levels or paleo land levels. Just last year people from the University of Oregon and elsewhere got up an expedition to go to the Aleutians and they are going to try and determine the paleo sea levels and see if they can find paleosols on the Islands.