Paleoamerican Origins presents an overview of the peopling of the Americas and how a new law threatens the future of Paleoamerican research. Here, papers by leading Paleoamerican specialists make a strong case that the Clovis-first model, which proposed the Americas were only peopled once about 11,500 radiocarbon years ago by a small group of hunters from Siberia, can no longer be considered valid. New research suggests the Americas were peopled more than once by distinctly different populations. In 1990 Congress passed the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (Nagpra). It mandates the return of human skeletal remains to modern tribal groups if cultural affiliation can be demonstrated. Content sections include Clovis, regional Paleoamerican archaeological sequences and environmental changes, pre-Clovis discoveries, South America, DNA, Paleoamerican skeletal evidence, Paleoamerican site chronology, and use of boats. The concluding sections summarize the legal framework of U.S. public policy and scientific research. A call is made for greater precision in how the scientific community and government agency decision-makers construct models for tracing cultural and biological relationships through time.
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