Doubts cast on the Walker, Minnesota site
- In mid-January I posted a message here reporting the discovery in
northern Minnesota of lithic artifacts found beneath glacial outwash
till, implying a pre-Clovis date of deposition.
The findings have been widely publicized and discussed. This past
week the Minnesota state archaeologist came out with a report casting
doubt as to whether the materials recovered were in fact man-made.
He indicates that the stone tools were more primitive than one would
expect (there were no points found, just supposed hammerstones,
scrapers, etc and some possible flakes), that the stone composition
was only local material, and that the items found could have been
produced by natural means (water motion, etc).
Since the find does suggest pre-Clovis occupation, it's not surprising
that skepticism would be a prominent reaction among established
archaeologists. On the other hand it is also true that extraordinary
claims require extraordinary proof.
The materials recovered are currently being more extensively curated,
with opinions sought from more experts. It appears likely that the
site will be excavated again (fortunately the town of Walker is eager
to protect and preserve the site). Probably no definitive answers
will be forthcoming for quite a while.
Those interested in the details of the state archaeologist's views can
find them in a pdf linked at this website -
Over and out,