(197 Total References)
In 2004, Albert Goodyear of ...
In 2004, Albert Goodyear of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology announced radiocarbon dating of a bit of charcoal found in the Topper Site that preceded Clovis culture, near Allendale County, South Carolina.
However, these deposits may have been made by forest fires.
At the Topper archaeological site (located along the banks of the Savannah River near Allendale, South Carolina) investigated by University of South Carolina archaeologist Dr. Albert Goodyear, charcoal material recovered in association with purported human artifacts returned radiocarbon dates of up to 50,000 years BP.
Topper Site Publications
Radiocarbon tests of carbonized plant remains where artifacts were unearthed last May along the Savannah River in Allendale County by University of South Carolina archaeologist Dr. Albert Goodyear indicate that the sediments containing these artifacts are at least 50,000 years old, meaning that humans inhabited North American long before the last ice age.
The findings are significant because they suggest that humans inhabited North America well before the last ice age more than 20,000 years ago, a potentially explosive revelation in American archaeology.
, who has garnered international attention for his
discoveries of tools that pre-date what is believed to be humans’ arrival in North America, announced the test results, which were done by the University of California at Irvine Laboratory
, Wednesday (Nov .17).
“The dates could actually be older,” Goodyear
“Topper is the oldest radiocarbon dated site in North America,” Goodyear
“However, other early sites in Brazil and Chile, as well as a site in Oklahoma also suggest that humans were in the Western Hemisphere as early as 30,000 years ago to perhaps 60,000.”
In 1998, Goodyear
, nationally known for his
research on the ice age Paleoindian cultures dug below the 13,000-year Clovis level at the Topper site
and found unusual stone tools up to a meter deeper.
The Topper excavation site is on the bank of the Savannah River on property owned by Clariant Corp.
, a chemical corporation head-quartered near Basel, Switzerland.
recovered numerous stone tool artifacts in soils that were later dated by an outside team of geologists to be 16,000 years old.
For five years, Goodyear
continued to add artifacts and evidence that a pre-Clovis people existed, slowly eroding the long-held theory by archaeologists that man arrived in North America around 13,000 years ago.
Last May, Goodyear
dug even deeper to see whether man’s existence extended further back in time.
Using a backhoe and hand excavations, Goodyear’s team dug through the Pleistocene terrace soil, some 4 meters below the ground surface.
found a number of artifacts similar to the pre-Clovis forms he
has excavated in recent years.
Then on the last day of the last week of digging, Goodyear’s team uncovered a black stain in the soil where artifacts lay, providing him the charcoal needed for radiocarbon dating.
DR. ALBERT C. GOODYEAR III
University of South Carolina archaeologist Albert C. Goodyear joined the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology in 1974 and has been associated with the Research Division since 1976.
is also the founder and director of the Allendale Paleoindian Expedition
, a program that involves members of the public in helping to excavate Paleoamerican sites in the central Savannah River Valley of South Carolina.
Goodyear earned his bachelors degree in anthropology from the University of South Florida (1968), his masters degree in anthropology from the University of Arkansas and his doctorate in anthropology from Arizona State University (1976).
He is a member of the Society for American Archaeology, the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, the Archaeological Society of South Carolina, and the Florida Anthropological Society.
He has served twice as president of the Archaeological Society of South Carolina and is on the editorial board of The Florida Anthropologist and the North American Archaeologist.
interest in archaeology in the 1960s as a member of the Florida Anthropological Society
and through avocational experiences along Florida’s central Gulf Coast.
He wrote and published articles about sites and artifacts from that region for The Florida Anthropologist in the late 1960s.
master’s thesis on the Brand site, a late Paleoindian Dalton site in northeast Arkansas, was published in 1974 by the Arkansas Archeological Survey.
At Arizona State University, he did field research on Desert Hohokam mountain hunting and gathering sites in the Lower Sonoran desert of Southern Arizona.
, whose primary research interest has been America's earliest human inhabitants, has focused on the period of the Pleistocene-Holocene transition dating between 12,000 and 9,000 years ago.
has taken a geoarchaeological approach to the search for deeply buried early sites by teaming up with colleagues in geology and soil science.
For the past 15 years he
has studied early prehistoric sites in Allendale County, S.C., in the central Savannah River Valley.
These are stone tool manufacturing sites related to the abundant chert resources that were quarried in this locality.
This work has been supported by the National Park Service
, the National Geographic Society
, the University of South Carolina
, the Archaeological Research Trust
(SCIAA), the Allendale Research Fund
, the Elizabeth Stringfellow Endowment Fund
, Sandoz Chemical Corp.
and Clariant Corp.
, the present owner of the site.
is the author of over 100 articles, reports and books and regularly presents public lectures and professional papers on his
Paleoindian discoveries in South Carolina.
University of South Carolina archeologist Al Goodyear said he has uncovered a layer of charcoal from a possible hearth or fire pit at a site near the Savannah River.Samples from the layer have been laboratory-dated to more than 50,000 years old.Yet Goodyear stopped short of declaring it proof of the continent's earliest human occupation."It does look like a hearth," he said, "and the material that was dated has been burned."... Goodyear, who has worked the Topper site since 1981, discovered the charcoal layer in May.
Scientist: Comets Blasted Early Americans
...Among the digs spotlighted is USC's Topper excavation site in Allendale County, supervised by archaeologist Albert C. Goodyear, director of the Allendale Paleo-Indian Expedition of the S.C. Institute of Archaeology and ...
Archaeologist's Find Could Shake Up Science (Topper Site)
...Archaeologist's find could shake up science By HEATHER URQUIDES Published January 7, 2007 Archaeologist Albert Goodyear is working on the find of his life.
Based on radiocarbon tests and artifacts he's
found along the Savannah River in South Carolina, Goodyear
believes that humans existed in North America as many as 50,000 years ago, shattering the long-held notion that the earliest settlers arrived here about 13,000 years ago in Alaska via a lost land bridge.Not everyone is convinced, but Goodyear
believes further excavation and testing at the South Carolina location, known as the Topper site, will confirm his
Officials at Akron-based Goodyear
declined to reveal the new blimp's cost.Goodyear
executives had been silent until Tuesday night about ...
said it plans to cut high-cost manufacturing capacity between ...
began operations at the plant in 1929.
Albert Goodyear | SEAC 2005 ...
Albert Goodyear | SEAC 2005 | Dr. Al Goodyear
... Albert Goodyear | SEAC 2005 | Dr. Al Goodyear
discusses the Topper Site at SEAC 2005One of the most exciting questions in North American archaeology, perhaps the most exciting, is who were the First Americans.The topic is now the focus of a scholarly quest stretching from Pennsylvania to Chile.At the Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Columbia, South Carolina, on Friday November 4, 2005, archaeologist Albert C. Goodyear discussed a site - the "Topper Site" in Allendale, South Carolina - that potentially could shed a lot of light on the answer to the question.Goodyear's
team of volunteers has found artifacts at Topper that may date to 20,000 years before present, and possibly far older.Goodyear, director of the Southeastern Paleo American Survey at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, presented the keynote address, entitled "The Topper Site: Implications for Pre-Clovis occupation in the Southeastern United States".
Following is a slightly edited transcript of Goodyear's
The Topper Site is on a bench by the Savannah River.The site is a chert source that has been of interest to people for the last 13,000 years.When Goodyear
decided to start studying Paleo-Indians, he
decided to go the quarries where he
knew Paleo-Indians had to return.During the Pleistocene (the epoch that lasted from about 1.65 million years B.P. until about 10,000 years ago) the Savannah River would flow through the site and rinse off large boulders that would fall down the hill.Humans quarried the boulders for chert for tools.For the past seven years Goodyear's
team has done two digs at Topper.Goodyear and his team have been assisted by nationally recognized experts such as Michael R. Waters, the director of the Center For The Study Of The First Americans (http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/) at Texas A&M, and Stephen L. Forman, a geoscientist from the Luminescence Dating Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois in Chicago who has been doing the Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating for Goodyear's team at Topper.Goodyear and his team have been assisted by nationally recognized experts such as Michael R. Waters, the director of the Center For The Study Of The First Americans (http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/) at Texas A&M, and Stephen L. Forman, a geoscientist from the Luminescence Dating Research Laboratory at the University of Illinois in Chicago who has been doing the Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating for Goodyear's team at Topper.
"This has been going on in geology since the ,80s but it's finally caught on in archaeology," Goodyear
team doesn't know exactly how old the Pre-Clovis layer is, but it's certainly before 15,000-16,000.
How discovery was made Goodyear
described how his
team first found the Pre-Clovis level at the Topper Site.
team left the Topper Site in 1986 to work on a nearby Paleo-Indian site on the lower terrace."We were lovin' that, and we were getting what we wanted, and we were begining to make some breakthroughs."He
was running a program he
called the Allendale Paleoindian Expedition, which was sort of a version of the EarthWatch
program, that signed up people from all over America who would come and work on the project.
[Goodyear showed a slide of a Pre-Clovis chert core found right on the river terrace.] "These are probably anvil blows where you put one boulder and slam it against the edge of another.
[Goodyear showed slides of many possible Pre-Clovis artifacts and discussed the technology of how they were made and possibly used.He
noted that Pre-Clovis technology at Topper did not use bifaces.It's not true, he
said, that flakes with striking platforms and bulbs are not found at Topper.Hundreds of small flakes the size of U.S. 5 cent, 10 cent and 25 cent coins with striking platforms and bulbs have been found at Topper, he
noted, but they were generated by retouching chopper edges and making scrapers.Goodyear
discussed some of the qualities of the chert found at Topper, such as the fact that it is chemically unstable and weathers badly.He
showed slides of cores and flake tools found at Topper, and again noted that no bifaces are found there.]
"That puts some people off," he
stated that it is possible to make geological and archaeological errors.It's also possible to make anthropological errors, too, he
showed slides of some of the hundreds of flake tools that have been recovered at Topper: Prismatic blades, small microblades, "bend/break tools".Many times the goal was to make a 90 degree angle.He
showed photomicrographs of wear and polish on some of the blades found.
discussed how he
took some of the Pre-Clovis artifacts found at Topper to Texas A&M University
, where he
was able to make color microphotographs of flakes with discrete pressure scars, the kind of thing that happens when someone takes a deer antler tine and carefully make one indenture after another."You can't get that in nature," he
said."You need something with two eyes and five digits to make this happen."
Showing a microphotograph of one such flake, he
said, "These are well-placed, separate, partial Hertzian cone fractures that need an indenter placed right there and probably pressed off."
"I would submit there's nothing in nature with the specificity that you get when you have two functional eyes and five digits."Goodyear
showed microphotographs of microwear on a scraper, a flake tool, a spokeshave with seven or eight individually placed unifacial retouch scars.The spokeshave's edge had multiple, parallel scratches in two different directions, "exactly what you'd expect to see from tool use.These are striads that are going in myriad directions as though an animal had stepped on it in a sandy environment.I would submit this constitutes stroking in a normal human hand process."Goodyear
noted that research on the microwear of Pre-Clovis tools from Topper was being done by Robson Bonnichsen "and his
magic microscope at Texas A&M."
showed a photo of a large "anvil," a block of chert located on the surface of the Pre-Clovis level with smash marks on it where spalls had been removed.He
noted again that the block of chert was in a low-energy, fluvial environment while it requires an extraordinary amount of energy to crack spalls off the block.All around the block of chert on the top of the terrace were tools. Goodyear
noted that Topper researchers will be looking microscopically at pieces of debitage that they don't think were used as tools to see if the debitage contains natural polishes or striations that are occurring simply because of the matrix they were in. "We want to firm up what we think is culturally-induced wear,.You have to cross-check yourself.But these kinds of things [polish, striations], being on the edge, are consistent with what people in the microwear field normally call culturally induced wear."
Possible hearth found
Charcoal has seldom been found at the Topper Site, but Goodyear
showed a photo of a layer of charcoal recovered from the Pre-Clovis layer.The layer had reasonably well defined margins, a reasonably well defined bottom and a relatively flat top, he
noted that the Topper research team includes "a fantastic geoscience team" which is studying at the hearth-like charcoal."You won't do Pre-Clovis in America unless you've got a really ace geology team to get the context right," he
said."There's all kinds of dating issues, site-formation processes to consider as well as ,are these things made by nature?' So we've got a fantastic team of geologists working on this."Goodyear
noted that at the time the hearth-like structure was found, the Allendale Paleoindian Expedition was near the end of its dig.The Allendale dig had been financed by private grants, so a call was put out to volunteers and friends try to raise money to pay for the study the charcoal.Within three weeks $5,000 was raised."That's a real testimony to the kind of people that are behind this," Goodyear
said."We didn't have to write a grant [proposal] and wait 12 months to see if we got it."
What the charcoal is remains to be seen.Research has shown that in just two small samples there were six different species of plant material , prune, buckeye, conifer, some kind of hard wood, and fruity plant tissue."It looks like a hearth but we really can't say that it is.It could be a depression in the terrace where watershed charcoal was deposited," Goodyear
said.Dates from the charcoal were 50,000-51,000 BP, and because radiocarbon dating doesn't work that far back the dates are minimal and could be 60,000 or 70,000 BP, he
If it is a hearth, more will be there because "people are real messy," Goodyear
finished up his
talk by putting Topper into perspective in the broader Southeastern United States.He
noted the lower Southeast was never glaciated."When we speak of
America Before the Indians (Rediscovering America)
For years, Albert Goodyear, associate director for research at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology, has calmly supported Clovis.
told students and volunteers, yes, those sure look older than Clovis."I had a paradigm crash right there in the woods.I felt like Woody Allen, like I had to turn and say to the audience, 'Why am I saying these things I'm not supposed to believe?' Just five years ago, nothing new was possible in American prehistory, because of dogma.Now everything is possible; the veil has been lifted."
Finds such as Goodyear's
are cause for celebration among long-suffering Clovis doubters."The Clovis-first model is dead," proclaims, with some overstatement, Robson Bonnichsen, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Oregon State University
has made the center a clearinghouse for information about alternatives to Clovis-first."I've felt there were people here more than 12,000 years ago from the start," he
says."We're finally getting the evidence to back that up."
But not all Clovis-firsters are throwing in the towel.