[Map of Human Migrations as demonstrated by Genetics. Note Transatlantic dotted arrow for mitochondrial lineage X]
[World Distribution of Haplogroup X, Greater Concentration=Darker colour]
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Solutrean hypothesis proposes that stone tool technology of the Solutrean culture in prehistoric Europe may have later influenced the development of the Clovis tool-making culture in the Americas, and that peoples from Europe may have been among the earliest settlers in the Americas. It was first proposed in 1998. Its key proponents include Dennis Stanford, of the Smithsonian Institution, and Bruce Bradley, of the University of Exeter.
In this hypothesis, peoples associated with the Solutrean culture migrated from Ice Age Europe to North America, bringing their methods of making stone tools with them and providing the basis for later Clovis technology found throughout North America. The hypothesis rests upon particular similarities in Solutrean and Clovis technology that have no known counterparts in Eastern Asia, Siberia or Beringia, areas from which or through which early Americans are known to have migrated.
Solutrean culture was dominant in present-day France and Spain from roughly 21,000 to 17,000 years ago. It was known for its distinctive toolmaking characterized by bifacial, percussion and pressure-flaked points. Traces of the Solutrean tool-making industry disappear completely from Europe around 15,000 years ago, when it was replaced by the less skilled stone tools of the Magdalenian culture.
Clovis tools are typified by a distinctive type of spear point, known as the Clovis point. Solutrean and Clovis points share common characteristics: points are thin and bifacial, and they share the intentional use of the overshot flaking technique, which quickly reduces the thickness of a biface without reducing the width.
The Clovis blade differs from its predecessor in that some of the former have bi-facial fluting (a long depression that occurs on a point, struck from the basal end of the point; the purpose was to better fit the point onto a spear foreshaft). Clovis tool-making technology seems to appear in the archaeological record in eastern North America roughly 13,500 years ago, and similar predecessors in Asia or Alaska, if they exist, have not been discovered.
[Fluting is genereally conceded to have been an innovation within the New World itself. Examples found in Siberia are of a later date and more advanced type, and certainly derive from American colonists going the other way-DD]
Water temperatures during the last glacial maximum, according to CLIMAP.The hypothesis proposes that Ice Age Europeans could have crossed the North Atlantic along the edge of the pack ice that extended from the Atlantic coast of France to North America during the last glacial maximum. The model envisions these people making the crossing in small watercraft, using skills similar to those of the modern Inuit people, hauling out on ice floes at night, getting fresh water by melting iceberg ice or the first-frozen parts of sea ice, getting food by catching seals and fish, and using seal blubber as heating fuel. Among other evidence backing up this hypothesis is the discovery among the Solutrean toolkit of bone needles, very similar to those traditionally used by the modern-day Inuit. As well as enabling the manufacture of waterproof clothing from animal skins, the technology could, in theory, have been used to construct kayaks from the same animal skins. However, a 2008 study (see below) argues that the conditions were not favorable for such a crossing.
[On the other hand, allowing that there were "Stepping-stone" islands in the mid-Atlantic, as evidenced by other data, immediately solves the problem by providing a warmer-climate alternate route-DD]
Supporters of the hypothesis suggest that stone tools found at Cactus Hill (an early American site in Virginia) indicate a transitional style between the Clovis and Solutrean cultures. Artifacts from this site are estimated to date from 17,000 to 15,000 years ago, although some researchers dispute their definitive age. Other sites that may indicate transitional, pre-Clovis occupation include the Page-Ladson site in Florida and the Meadowcroft rockshelter in Pennsylvania.
Recent genetic research
An article in the American Journal of Human Genetics by researchers in Brazil argued against the Solutrean hypothesis. "Our results strongly support the hypothesis that haplogroup X, together with the other four main mtDNA haplogroups, was part of the gene pool of a single Native American founding population; therefore they do not support models that propose haplogroup-independent migrations, such as the migration from Europe posed by the Solutrean hypothesis."
[Unfortunately this is a "Non-explanation" that could equally well explain ANY POSSIBLE combination of genetic lineages-DD]
Challenges to the Solutrean hypothesis
Arthur J. Jelinek, an anthropologist who noted similarities between Solutrean and Clovis styles in a 1971 study, noted that the great geographical and temporal separation of the two cultures made a direct connection unlikely. He also noted that crossing the Atlantic with the technology of the time would have been difficult if not impossible, an observation repeated by Lawrence G. Straus, who wrote that " there are no representations of boats and no evidence whatsoever either of seafaring or of the ability to make a living mainly or solely from the ocean during the Solutrean." However, Straus excavated Solutrean artifacts along what is now a coastline in Cantabria, which was not coastal at the time of Solutreans, finding seashells and estuarine fish at the sites, but no evidence of exploiting deep sea resources. In addition, the dates of the proposed transitional sites and the Solutrean period in Europe only overlap at the extremes.
Another challenge to the hypothesis involves the apparent lack of cultural or artistic practices being passed on from Solutrean culture to Clovis culture, for instance the style of Solutrean artwork found at Altamira in Spain and Lascaux in France. In response, Bradley and Stanford contend that it was "a very specific subset of the Solutrean who formed the parent group that adapted to a maritime environment and eventually made it across the north Atlantic ice-front to colonize the east coast of the Americas" and that this group may not have shared all Solutrean cultural traits.
In a 2008 study of the relevant paleoceanographic data, Kieran Westley and Justin Dix concluded that "it is clear from the paleoceanographic and paleo-environmental data that the LGM North Atlantic does not fit the descriptions provided by the proponents of the Solutrean Atlantic Hypothesis. Although ice use and sea mammal hunting may have been important in other contexts, in this instance, the conditions militate against an ice-edge-following, maritime-adapted European population reaching the Americas."
[This reconstruction of the North Atlantic at the time has also been challenged as it also contradicts other better-established models-DD]
Models of migration to the New World
Haplogroup X (mtDNA)
1.^ The North Atlantic ice-edge corridor: a possible Palaeolithic route to the New World. Bruce Bradley and Dennis Stanford. World Archaeology 2004 Vol. 36(4): 459 – 478. http://planet.uwc.ac.za/nisl/Conservation%20Biology/Karen%20PDF/Clovis/Bradley%20&%20Stanford%202004.pdf
2.^ Carey, Bjorn (19 February 2006).First Americans may have been European.Life Science. Retrieved on August 10, 2007.
4.^ http://www.ajhg.org/AJHG/fulltext/S0002-9297(08)00139-0# "Mitochondrial Population Genomics Supports a Single Pre-Clovis Origin with a Coastal Route for the Peopling of the Americas." (2008) Fagundes, Nelson J.R.; Kanitz, Ricardo; Eckert, Roberta; Valls, Ana C.S.; Bogo, Mauricio R.; Salzano, Francisco M.; Smith, David Glenn; Silva, Wilson A.; Zago, Marco A.; Ribeiro-dos-Santos, Andrea K.; Santos, Sidney E.B.; Petzl-Erler, Maria Luiza; Bonatto, Sandro L. American journal of human genetics(volume 82 issue 3 pp.583 - 592)
5.^ Straus, L.G. (April 2000). "Solutrean settlement of North America? A review of reality". American Antiquity 65 (2): 219–226.
6.^ Strauss, Lawrence Guy; David J. Meltzer and Ted Goebel (December 2005). "Ice Age Atlantis? Exploring the Solutrean-Clovis 'connection'". World Archaeology 37 (4): 507–532. doi:10.1080/00438240500395797. http://smu.edu/anthro/faculty/dMeltzer/pdf%20files/World_Archaeology_2005_Ice_Age_Atlantis.pdf.
7.^ Bradley, Bruce; Stanford, Dennis "The Solutrean-Clovis connection : reply to Straus, Meltzer and Goebel" World archaeology 38:44, 704-714, Taylor & Francis, 2006
8.^ Westley, Kieran; Justin Dix "The Solutrean Atlantic Hypothesis: A View from the Ocean" Journal of the North Atlantic 2008 1:85–98 
Brown M.D., Hosseini S.H., Torroni A., Bandelt H.J., Allen J.C., Schurr T.G., Scozzari R., Cruciani F., Wallace D.C.. "mtDNA haplogroup X: An ancient link between Europe/Western Asia and North America?" American Journal of Human Genetics, 1998 Dec;63(6): 1852-61.
Greenman, E.F. 1963. "The Upper Palaeolithic and the New World", Current Anthropology, 4: 41–66.
Hibben, Frank C., "Prehistoric Man in Europe," University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 1958.
Jablonski, Nina G., "The First Americans: The Pleistocene Colonization of the New World," University of California Press, 2002
Reidla, Maere et al., "Origin and Diffusion of mtDNA Haplogroup X", Am J Hum Genet. 2003 November; 73(5): 1178–1190. Published online 2003 October 20.
Stanford, Dennis, and Bruce Bradley. 2002. "Ocean Trails and Prairie Paths? Thoughts About Clovis Origins." In The First Americans: The Pleistocene Colonization of the New World, Nina G. Jablonski (ed.), pp. 255–271. San Francisco: Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences, No. 27.
Stanford, Dennis, and Bruce Bradley. 2004. "The North Atlantic ice-edge corridor: a possible Palaeolithic route to the New World." World Archaeology, 36(4): 459-478.
Stanford, Dennis, and Bruce Bradley. 2006. "The Solutrean-Clovis connection: reply to Straus, Meltzer and Goebel." World Archaeology, 38(4): 704-714.
Straus, Lawrence G. 2000. "Solutrean Settlement of North America? A Review of Reality". American Antiquity 63: 7-20.
Strauss, Larence G et all 1990, 'The LGM in Cantabrian : Spain: the Solutrean', in Soffer and Gamble (eds.) The world at 18,000 bp: high latitudes, pp. 89–108. Unwin Hyman.
Stone Age sailors 'beat Columbus to America' (The Guardian, 1999)
Coming into America: Tracing the Genes (PBS, 2004)
Stone Age Columbus (BBC 2002)
Ice Age Columbus: Who Were the First Americans? (Discovery Channel 2005)
Solutrean Bone Needle and Fishook (Indicating interest in Marine Resources)
Clovis Stone Tools
PreClovis settlements in and around Florida during the Glacial maximum.
Umiak, large skin canoe as used in Greenland, and of such a type as would be known to Ice-age European Solutreans.
Showing construction plan.
Umiak from Greenland
Presumably the types of boats used during the Solutrean Crossing. Umiaks had the option of propusion by either rows of oarsmen or by a sail, as the viking ships did also.
Topography of the Atlantic Sea Floor, Illustrating the High Spots, which were possibly stepping-stone islands in the Solutrean.