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A Journey to a New Land

First people
Post secondary Level Resources


The Topper site is located on a terrace beside the Savannah River, 137 km southwest of Columbia, South Carolina. In 1998, archaeologist Al Goodyear excavated below the Clovis-age level and found stone fragments including chert blades and burins. (Unlike other pre-Clovis North American sites, though, Goodyear has so far found no evidence of biface technology).

No organic material had survived in the acidic soil, so radiocarbon dating was not possible. But a technique called optically-stimulated luminescence was used to date the sand just above the pre-Clovis level, and a date of about 13,000 years BP was obtained. This places the site well before the Clovis horizon of about 11,500 years BP.

Some archaeologists question whether the stone flakes are true artifacts, suggesting that they may have been created by natural processes. However, Goodyear invited specialist Dr Marvin Kay to examine the flakes, and Kay determined that they showed clear evidence of human manufacture and use.

Further Reading:

Marshall, E.
2001 Pre-Clovis Sites Fight for Acceptance. Science 291(5509):1730 - 1732.