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The Land Bridge Theory

Fifth Grade Lesson on The Land Bridge Theory
by Megan Jacob on 13 September 2012

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Transcript of The Land Bridge Theory

In the 1930s spear points were found that were used for hunting mammoths.

Historians believed that these spear points were used by early hunters whose ancestors had crossed the land bridge.

The first of these artifacts were found near Clovis, New Mexico so these early people became known as the “Clovis” people.

In the 1950s the same type of spear points were found in Arizona.

Scientific testing dated these “Clovis points” as being around 11,000 years old.

This led many historians to believe that the land bridge theory was correct and people had been in the Americas for about 12,000 years. Evidence for the Land Bridge Theory But, do the Native
Americans agree? These original settlers were able to adapt or change to fit the environment. They were able to survive in subfreezing temperatures. They were able to build fires, build insulated housing, and make warm clothes.

Without wheeled vehicles or riding animals, they were able to spread across South and North America.

As conditions changed, they began to hunt smaller animals and gather food like berries and food plants. They developed nets and hooks for fishing.

Eventually they began to farm. This allowed them to live in more permanent settlements.

Over time they developed hundreds of separate cultures with different languages, types of shelters, art forms, and traditions. We have come to know these people as Native Americans. So, what do historians agree on? Pacific Coastal Theory
 
People with boats may have moved along the Pacific coast into Alaska and Canada and then south down the coastline all the way to Peru and Chile.
Possible Evidence: Research in Australia and Japan has shown that boats were in use as far back as 25,000 to 40,000 years ago.
Problems Finding Evidence: The oceans are higher now and sites where early humans would have lived along the coasts are under water.
 
 
Atlantic Coastal Theory
 
People with boats may have sailed from Europe to reach the Americas or across the Atlantic.
Possible Evidence: Similar spear points to those found at sites in the Americas have been found in an area of coastal Europe. They were made by people known as Solutreans. These people may have traveled by boat to the Americas and settled along the east coast.
Problems Finding Evidence: Other than the spear points no other evidence has been found yet. Alternate Theories of Migration In 2004, Dr. Albert Goodyear and his team uncovered flakes of stone that looked like those made by humans in southwestern South Carolina.

Later more stone flakes and charred plants that may have been from a hearth were found.

Scientific tests dated the objects at this site as being 50,000 years old. This would make them at least 25,000 years older than any other known human site in the Americas.

This could mean that people may have crossed the land bridge into the Americas much earlier.

It might also mean that people used a different way to enter the Americas than the land bridge.

Historians are continuing to examine the artifacts found at the site.

People who disagree with the findings say the stone flakes are natural, not made by humans. The “Topper” Site: South Carolina You will now work in a small group to analyze evidence. You decide, does this evidence support or refute the Land Bridge theory?
You will be graded on your effort and use of evidence in your answers
Let’s do the first one together! Discovery Cards
http://instaar.colorado.edu/qgisl/bering_land_bridge/downloads/beringlandbridge1l.mov Land Bridge Theory Reenactment Thinking Like a Historian By the early 1900s, most historians had accepted a theory that people first migrated to the Americas from Asia across a “land bridge” during one of Earth’s ice ages.

During this time large amounts of water had frozen into glaciers so the oceans became shallower. This caused a bridge of dry land about 1000 miles wide to appear between the continents of Asia and North America.

Historians believed the first Americans crossed this land bridge about 12,000 – 13,000 years ago.

Historians guessed that these early people were following large animals such as mammoths, which were their main source of food.

When the Earth began to get warmer again, a narrow path may have opened between two melting glaciers. The animals followed this path and the hunters followed. The Land Bridge Theory TLW explore theories of how the first people arrived in America
TLW analyze perspectives on how, when and why people arrived in America
TLW develop an opinion on a public issue concerning Native American rights Lesson 3 How did humans get to America? Searching for the Past







• A well-preserved skeleton that became known as “Kennewick Man” was found along the banks of the Columbia River in 1996.

• The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on whose land the bones were found, took the remains and locked them in a museum.

• Court battles began over what should be done with the bones.

• Several Indian tribes on the Columbia Plateau hoped to win the right to rebury the skeleton, which they considered an ancestor.

• They felt they had this right according to Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, which is a law that allows tribes to file claims to remains when they can demonstrate a cultural link to them.

• A group of historians, however, believed that important information about the people of the Americas would be lost if the bones were reburied. They sued the federal government for the right to study the remains.

• In August of 2002, the courts granted the scientists the right to study the remains.


• In November 2002, several Indian tribes such as the Umatilla and Yakima filed for an appeal of the ruling.

• The case is still undecided. What Should Be Done With The Remains?
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