Geochronology, Archaeological Context, and DNA at the Paisley Caves


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The Paisley Caves are the most widely accepted (by professional archaeologists) pre-Clovis site in North America. This is primarily because the directly radiocarbon-dated artifacts found with extinct megafaunal remains (horse, camel, llama, mammoth/mastodon, reindeer, and American lion) are human coprolites from which ancient dna (Pleistocene haplogroups A2 and B2) has been extracted and verified in blind tests by researchers at independent genetics laboratories. This paper brings together the most current data to address the questions: What are the stratigraphic context and reliability of late-Pleistocene cultural and paleontological remains at the site? What are the cultural and paleontological constituents in the Pleistocene strata? Were they contemporaneous and culturally associated? Is the human dna evidence reliable?Geoarchaeological analyses of site sediments indicate the often highly organic deposits are remarkably stable. The site sediments have not been churned up despite the occasional presence of identifiable rodent holes. The only identifiable Pleistocene/early-Holocene lithic technology is the Western Stemmed Tradition extending back to at least the Clovis-era. Chronological control is provided by 203 radiocarbon dates ranging in age from ca. 16,000 cal yr BP to Historic contact. The pre-Clovis dna evidence is sound. Site occupants were broad-range foragers eating plants, animals, and insects throughout the occupations.


Geochronology, Geoarchaeology, Dna, Coprolite, Western Stemmed, Pre-Clovis

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