Small upheaval in the field of archaeology : the settlement of North America dates back to at least 30 000 years and is thus two times older than estimated so far, according to archaeological research, the results of which are published on Wednesday. The specimens collected, of which 1 900 tools in stone, to prove a human occupation of the cave of Chiquihuite (north of Mexico) up to 33 000 years, and which lasted for 20 000 years, show two studies published in the journal Nature.
" Our research provide new evidence on a former presence of humans in the Americas, the last continent to have been occupied by the man, is commended to the Agence France-Presse the archaeologist Ciprian Ardelean, lead author of one of the two studies. The oldest specimens found in this cave, situated high and has been excavated since 2012, have been dated by radiocarbon (or carbon-14) over a range of between 33 000 and 31 000 years before our era. "They are few in number, but they are here ", commented the researcher from the Universidad autonoma de Zacatecas, Mexico. They revealed a lithic industry hitherto unknown, using tools of stone cut into thin strips.
"Is the denial, is a strong approval"
If no bones or DNA of humans have been found on the site, "it is likely that humans have used it as a base relatively fixed, probably during seasonal events recurring in the context of broader migration movements," says the study. The origins of the first occupants of America are hotly debated among anthropologists and archaeologists.
For decades, the thesis of the most commonly accepted was that of the old growth of 13 000 years, corresponding to the period known as " Clovis ", long regarded as the first american culture, from where the ancestors of the native americans. This theory of Clovis culture primitive is called into question in the past 20 years, with new discoveries, which have declined in the age of early settlements, but only up to 16 000 years. The results of this research are likely to be keenly contested. "This happens as soon as someone finds sites older than 16 000 years ago : the first reaction is either denial, or a strong approval ", according to the researcher.