The first vs. the most fascinating?
As one who is interested in the earliest humans in the Americas, I have long admired Bonnie Pitblado for her years of tireless archeological research in the Mountain West (HCN, 7/19/10). I was very pleased to read of the success of her artifacts roadshows in bringing to scientific scrutiny significant clues to early peoples of the region. Amateurs have had much positive impact on paleo-Indian studies.
When Dr. Pitblado says people of the Clovis tradition were the very first in eastern Idaho, I do not doubt her. But writer Nick Neely leaves the impression that the people who created the beautiful Clovis stone spears were unquestionably the first humans in the Americas, and that is a highly questionable assertion in light of findings by many other researchers.
I hope the artifacts roadshow in Driggs, Idaho, will bring more Clovis artifacts to light. Though I don’t believe Clovis people were the very first Americans, they may be the most fascinating.
Don Alan Hall
(former editor — retired — of Mammoth Trumpet, quarterly newsmagazine of the Center for the Study of the First Americans, now based at Texas A&M)