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A Journey to a New Land

Berry Picking

The First People in the Americas

The First Nations people in North America have been here for a very long time, since long before the pyramids or Stonehenge were built, and before people anywhere started writing or farming or building cities. But exactly when they arrived, and which route they took are questions that have puzzled archaeologists for many years.

When did the first people arrive?

Most archaeologists agree that people were living in central North America by at least 11,500 years ago. But evidence from a few archaeological sites throughout North and South America suggests that people might have arrived long before that time.

What route did the first people take?

Most scientists believe that the first people came from Siberia during the ice age, when a land bridge connected Asia to North America. Once these travellers reached Alaska and the Yukon, though, how did they get past the glaciers all the way south to places like Texas and Nevada where they were living 11,500 years ago? Did they travel on foot through an ice free passage along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains? Or did they travel by boat down the Pacific Coast? Or is there another potential route that scientists have yet to discover?

To answer these and other questions about the human past, archaeologists gather evidence, evaluate it and then interpret it to form a hypothesis. In addition to archaeological excavations and research, archaeologists rely on evidence from other sciences, such as geology and palaeontology.

In this website, you will be the archaeologist. Search through our site, look at some of the evidence, and then form your own interpretation.

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Some dates in this website are expressed in radiocarbon years (years BP), which are not the same as calendar years. Click on Radiocarbon Dating to learn how radiocarbon dating works, and the difference between radiocarbon years and calendar years.

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