Archaeologist J. M. Adovasio has spent the last thirty years at the center of one of our most fiery scientific debates: Who were the first humans in the Americas, and how and when did they get there?
H. L. Mencken said that “for every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.” We all grew up thinking that the first Americans were a band of hunters who crossed the frozen Bering Strait during the Ice Age some twelve thousand years ago and whose descendants spread to the tip of South America in five hundred years. Now, in no small part because of J. M. Adovasio’s work, our notions of who first peopled the Western Hemisphere, how they arrived, and how they lived have been forever changed.
Adovasio begins The First Americans by putting his work into historical context, from the earliest European fantasies about where the Native Americans came from to the birth of modern archaeology and the origins of the dogma his own work has debunked. But at its heart, his book is the story of the revolution in thinking that he and his peers have brought about, and the firestorm it has ignited. As he writes, “The work of lifetimes has been put at risk, reputations have been damaged, an astounding amount of silliness and even profound stupidity has been taken as serious thought, and always lurking in the background of all the argumentation and gnashing of tenets has been the question of whether the field of archaeology can ever be pursued as a science.”
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Advance praise for The First Americans
“In recent years many books have been written about the archaeology of the first Americans, but if there is an untold story, this is it. Adovasio’s (and Page’s) scholarly perspective is expert and sophisticated; his arguments are boldly presented in clear, elegant prose.”—Tom D. Dillehay, author of The Settlement of the Americas: A New Prehistory
“James Adovasio has long been an authority on the first settlement of the Americas. His closely argued and often passionate account of one of archaeology’s greatest mysteries helps define the new and exciting era of research that lies ahead.”
—Brian Fagan, professor of anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara
“James Adovasio is the perfect guide to the science, the infighting, and the passion surrounding a deceptively simple question: ‘When was the Western Hemisphere first peopled?’ Read to find where the bodies are buried. Read for enjoyment. But above all, read for honest answers.”
—Clive Gamble, Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins, University of Southampton
“This book offers us a frank exploration of the often nasty debates that swirl around the earliest archaeological sites that the Americas have to offer and the archaeologists who study them. A book like this could be written only by a bold insider—someone who has long worked in the area, has participated in all the debates, knows all the players, and is fearless. Adovasio is all these things.”
—Donald K. Grayson, professor of anthropology, University of Washington
“This is a story only Jim Adovasio could tell—he is simultaneously the most meticulous fieldworker and entertaining storyteller I have met in my thirty-five years as an archaeologist. It is archaeology from the inside.” —Dave Madsen, senior scientist, Environmental Science Program, Utah Geological Survey
“This book, written with Jake Page, is vintage Adovasio: incisive, funny, self-deprecating in his own imperial manner, and sure to trigger howls from the brethren at the receiving end of his barbs. But this is no hit-and-run book: it’s a detailed and wide-ranging exploration of the history and current state of views on the archaeology, geology, and environment of late Pleistocene North America. It provides an important perspective on the fierce storm over the peopling of the Americas, from one who’s been at its churning center for well on three decades.”—David J. Meltzer, professor of anthropology, Southern Methodist University
J. M. Adovasio, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute, generally rec-ognized as the finest small-college–based research and training program in North America. He has achieved international acclaim as the archaeologist in charge of the excavations at Meadowcroft Rockshelter, the earliest indisputably dated archaeological site in North America. He has taught and/or conducted research at the Smithsonian Institution, Youngstown State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Institute, and, at present, Mercyhurst College. He lives near Erie, Pennsylvania.
Jake Page is a former editor of Natural History magazine and science editor of Smithsonian magazine, as well as founder of the Natural History Press and Smithsonian Books. An essayist and mystery novelist, he is also the author of fifteen popular books on the natural sciences and American Indians. He lives in Corrales, New Mexico.
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Book Description Random House, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0375505520
Book Description Random House, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110375505520
Book Description Random House. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0375505520 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0116715