The Pre-Clovis Occupation of the Topper Site, Allendale County, South Carolina A. Goodyear
2018, Early Human Life on the Southeastern Coastal Plain
The Topper site is a multicomponent prehistoric quarry site on the Savannah River, in Allendale County, South Carolina. Below a substantial Clovis occupation lies a preClovis assemblage consisting of core and flake technologies associated with two Pleistocene alluvial deposits. The deepest occupation is buried in a meander phase terrace with radiocarbon dates in excess of 50,000 years. Indirectly associated radiocarbon dates of the upper alluvial zone indicates an age of 25,000 to 38,000 years ago. Topper is currently oldest radiocarbon dated preClovis site in the Western Hemisphere.
https://www.academia.edu/39776169/The_Pre_Clovis_Occupation_of_the_Topper_Site_Allendale_County_South_Carolina Over the course of the last century, American archaeology has remained an ever-shifting narrative. Since the 1930s, the existence of humans in North America at least as far back as 13,000 years ago had been well established; and since the new millennium, the evidence for people who arrived well in advance of the Clovis culture is no longer contested as a “controversial” idea.
Amidst the confirmed pre-Clovis archaeological sites, locations like Bluefish Caves in Alaska remained controversial until only recently, after artifacts recovered there during excavations in the 1970s and 80s were confirmed to have a much older provenance. New discoveries at other locations like the Gault site in Texas have also revealed projectile points of surprising antiquity, dating back reliably to 16,000 years BCE, though many of the dates (obtained through optically stimulated luminescence, or OSL) suggest a human presence going as far back as 20,000 years or more.
Topper: South Carolina’s Most Controversial Archaeological Site May Be Its Oldest
In light of such discoveries, perhaps Topper’s earlier legacy cannot be ruled out after all. Newer studies have continued in relation to the “Topper assemblage” as well; among the most recent had been the 2015 doctoral dissertation written by Tennessee graduate student Douglas Sain, whose work was discussed by J.M. Adovasio and David Pedler in their 2016 book, Strangers in a New Land: What Archaeology Reveals About the First Americans.
"Sain has concluded that the pre-Clovis Topper Assemblage artifacts are indeed genuine, and that a small sample of the tools show microscopic evidence of human use in the form of edge polish (the smoothing of sharp edges via repetitive action), striadons (fracture lines resulting from contact with another object), residue (plant or animal material adhering to the artifact), and edge damage (chipping of the artifact’s edge through use). His research has also concluded that the Topper Assemblage artifacts are indeed in situ, and hence did not migrate downward into the deposit from overlying archaeological levels. It remains to be seen what the professional archaeological community will make of Sain’s findings, but if the Topper Assemblage finds widespread acceptance a radical reworking of our understanding of pre-Clovis stone technology will be in order."
New Evidence Puts Man In North America 50,000 Years Ago
Date:November 18, 2004
Source:University Of South Carolina Summary: Radiocarbon tests of carbonized plant remains where artifacts were unearthed last May along the Savannah River in Allendale County by University of South Carolina archaeologist Dr. Albert Goodyear indicate that the sediments containing these artifacts are at least 50,000 years old, meaning that humans inhabited North American long before the last ice age.
Radiocarbon tests of carbonized plant remains where artifacts were unearthed last May along the Savannah River in Allendale County by University of South Carolina archaeologist Dr. Albert Goodyear indicate that the sediments containing these artifacts are at least 50,000 years old, meaning that humans inhabited North American long before the last ice age.
The findings are significant because they suggest that humans inhabited North America well before the last ice age more than 20,000 years ago, a potentially explosive revelation in American archaeology.
Goodyear, who has garnered international attention for his discoveries of tools that pre-date what is believed to be humans' arrival in North America, announced the test results, which were done by the University of California at Irvine Laboratory, Wednesday (Nov .17).
"The dates could actually be older," Goodyear says. "Fifty-thousand should be a minimum age since there may be little detectable activity left."
The dawn of modern homo sapiens occurred in Africa between 60,000 and 80,000 years ago. Evidence of modern man's migration out of the African continent has been documented in Australia and Central Asia at 50,000 years and in Europe at 40,000 years. The fact that humans could have been in North America at or near the same time is expected to spark debate among archaeologists worldwide, raising new questions on the origin and migration of the human species.
"Topper is the oldest radiocarbon dated site in North America," Goodyear says. "However, other early sites in Brazil and Chile, as well as a site in Oklahoma also suggest that humans were in the Western Hemisphere as early as 30,000 years ago to perhaps 60,000."
In 1998, Goodyear, nationally known for his research on the ice age PaleoIndian cultures dug below the 13,000-year Clovis level at the Topper site and found unusual stone tools up to a meter deeper. The Topper excavation site is on the bank of the Savannah River on property owned by Clariant Corp., a chemical corporation headquartered near Basel, Switzerland. He recovered numerous stone tool artifacts in soils that were later dated by an outside team of geologists to be 16,000 years old. For five years, Goodyear continued to add artifacts and evidence that a pre-Clovis people existed, slowly eroding the long-held theory by archaeologists that man arrived in North America around 13,000 years ago.
Last May, Goodyear dug even deeper to see whether man's existence extended further back in time. Using a backhoe and hand excavations, Goodyear's team dug through the Pleistocene terrace soil, some 4 meters below the ground surface. Goodyear found a number of artifacts similar to the pre-Clovis forms he has excavated in recent years. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041118104010.htm