Many years ago, probably close to 2 decades ago, I had a discussion with my best friend about civilization in the Americas. I told her I thought the Bering Land Bridge migration was utter nonsense. Considering it was during an ice age, it would make more sense for migratory humans to cross via boat. Because the area where the Bering Land Bridge is today, would not be particularly hospitable, and because most Native Americans (both from the north and south) had folklore tales that were supposed to take place before the end of the last ice age but were obviously set in the Americas.
I’m doing a free trial of Great Courses Plus (which will be a seperate blog post). The first “lesson” I grabbed was on Pre-Columbian civilizations in South America. I admit, when it comes to history, South America and Africa are my weakest areas.
Essentially, I can talk a bit about Incas and the Nazca lines, but everything else going on in South America until Nazis start showing up there in the 1940s is out of my capabilities.
I binge watched the first 6 episodes in this lecture series while playing video games. And in lecture 2, there was discussion about Montverde. It’s an archaeological site in South America that dates to approximately 15,000 BP (before present). Meaning those guys didn’t get to South America via the Bering Strait land bridge. Total there are 5 sites in North and South America that date from about the same time period and they are all older than when we originally thought humans came to the Americas.
15,000 BP is roughly 13,000 BCE or BC. That is about the same time Gobekli Tepe was being built and used in Turkey. We were actually getting towards the end of the last major ice age which ends in 10,000 BCE (or BC). If these people had come across the Bering Strait land bridge, they would have had to do it around 25,000 BP or 27,000 BCE, because it takes a while to walk from Alaska in North America to Chile in South America. Then they set up cities (Montverde is a city of approximately 5,000 people, not a village). Which again takes times.
This means while there is evidence that people did migrate via Beringa (the area where ice would have connected land in Russia to Alaska), it is unlikely it was the only migration or migration point. When I was in high school, in the 1990s, we were still being taught that humans migrated only once to the Americas via the Bering Strait land bridge around 11,000 BCE. The working theory at the time was that they followed game through Beringia and then got stuck in the Americas when the ice began to melt, and spread out to the east and south.
I remember reading an article in either National Geographic or Archaeology Today (remember, I’m a nerd) when I was in high school about a place in South America that pre-dated all other human habitations previously found. It wasn’t Montverde, it was in North America, near the east Coast of the US, but I have forgotten the name now.
My guess is that as I test other courses (I have about 50 history courses along with some science in my watch list), I’ll end up doing lots of blog posts regarding subject matter that I have either been re-introduced to or exposed to for the first time. And less than 24 hours into my 14 day free trial, I’m in love, so I’m sure there will be a blog post in the future reviewing Great Courses as a whole.