Surprising News about the Solutrean Hypothesis Should Give Fringe History Believers Pause (But Likely Won't)
Racists around the country will have some explaining to do after news reports confirmed what many have suspected for many years now, that the Solutrean people of Europe did not possess white skin. Worse, the evidence for the Solutrean hypothesis, regardless of who the Solutreans were, received a serious blow last week. Special thanks go to Andy White and Terry the Censor for linking me to the article’s I’m discussing today.
The Solutrean hypothesis, first put forward in the 1930s and revived more recently by Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce Bradley, suggests that the Solutreans, a group of prehistoric Spaniards from around 15,000 BCE traveled across the Atlantic and gave rise to the Clovis culture of the Americas around 11,000 BCE. The argument rests on the perceived similarity between Clovis stone tools and Solutrean stone tools. I discussed some of the problems with this hypothesis in an article for Skeptic magazine a decade ago.
Fringe history believers have long used the Solutrean claim as evidence for European primacy in the Americas, a belief that stretches back at least as far as the lost white race of Mound Builders the first European colonists imagined had been killed off by bloodthirsty Natives. As Scott Wolter told it on America Unearthed, the Solutrean hypothesis explains that white Europeans were the first Americans, long before Native Americans crossed over from Asia. White supremacists like John de Nugent, Kyle Bristow, and radio host Frank from Queens have gone still farther and proposed on these grounds that America was once a white cultural homeland, possibly the Garden of Eden, before “Beringians”—i.e., non-white Native Americans—crossed over and killed them all in a violent race war. As de Nugent put it:
The enemy of truth has a big problem with the issue of the Solutrean whites being here first and then the red man genociding him, for the whole story is didactic and instructive for white people today. It is the story of the first whites to build a great culture, and how they were crushed and died in slavery and agony after they became a minority in their own country.
Well, it turns out that the newest research indicates, according to Science (the magazine and the field of knowledge), that as recently as 6500 BCE the residents of Spain lacked the genes associated with white skin. Since this is also the case for the original population that settled Europe 40,000 years ago, the conclusion is that the Solutreans of 22,000-15,000 BCE must also have been dark-skinned. Light skin was a trait associated with an influx of Near Eastern farmers after 4000 BCE. In short, the Solutreans were not “white” “Europeans” in the modern sense, but much closer to the African populations they descended from.
Here’s Andy White’s blog post on the findings.
This is just one of several new challenges to fringe history’s view of the Solutrean invasion, and indeed to the Solutrean hypothesis itself. According to Dennis Stanford’s and Bruce Bradley’s 2012 book Across Atlantic Ice, the single most compelling artifact in support of the Solutrean hypothesis is the Cinmar blade, a stone tool dredged up from the ocean off Virginia in the 1970s by the trawler Cinmar along with a mastodon bone. Operating under the assumption that the two artifacts were associated with one another, carbon dating of the mastodon bone to around 25,000 BCE implied that the Cinmar blade was the oldest stone tool ever found in the Americas and therefore important evidence connecting New World stone tools to Solutrean tools made around the same time.
Critics have long complained that there is no evidence that the two artifacts were associated with one another and not, for example, the coincidental catch of the dredging from different layers or deposits. But a new article in the Journal of Archaeological Science has added fuel to the critic’s fiery complaints by uncovering discrepancies and apparent problems with the story of the fishing trawler that accidentally overturned history. According to the article by Metin I. Eren, Matthew T. Boulanger, and Michael J. O’Brien, nearly all of the facts presented by Stanford and Bradley are wrong:
Jennifer Raff has a terrific breakdown of the article and its implications here. The long and short of it is that it is now much more difficult to accept the claim at face value, or the value of the artifacts for determining anything about Solutrean involvement in the Americas.
4/6/2015 08:35:34 am
I loved Jennifer Raff's point about the cultural movement trying to separate Native Americans from their own history:
Barry Chepren, P.E.
5/5/2015 09:03:31 pm
I watched countless students waste their parent s money getting Useless Degrees in Archeology when I was in college. Just What qualifies as Fringe Archeology when the entire Art (yes Art, because it doesn't qualify as a science) has been called into question with recent discoveries that prove Man has been a sophisticated presence on earth for over 12000 years when Archeologists had humans sitting in caves at that time. What a Scam!
terry the censor
5/6/2015 06:30:58 am
Barry, read "Prehistory of the Mind" by archeologist Steven Mithen and your prejudices will be removed. Brilliant use of archeology and modern biology to illuminate the cognitive abilities of early man.
9/2/2015 01:41:02 am
The argument is retarded. Race isn't just skin coloration. Granted that is part of it, but race is bone structure, brain composition/size, genetics, immune system and other deeper factors.
terry the censor
9/2/2015 04:05:00 am
@strangely angry person
7/28/2016 02:50:51 am
Native Americans don't have European DNA, it just that European's have Asian DNA. Oh and Kenniwick Man was Native American, so the Corps was right to cover it up with tons of Rocks!
5/26/2017 01:58:22 am
You are the one who is ignoring Native Americans own oral histories, since they have oral histories of Always being here. Or do you pick and choose which oral histories to suit your agenda? As it is right now in Genetics and archealogy, There was a complete population replacement in Europe during the Mesolithic, so you and the current modern population of white Europeans DO NOT descend from the Solutreans if they did make it to America, but the Native Americans would be their direct descendants, since they do have a large component of Ancient North Eurasian and West Eurasian DNA. You sure as heck have no connection to any Solutreans.
3/6/2019 03:44:05 am
That's true; many tribes have legends of killing white-skinned people. The Cherokee do; theirs states that there were white-skinned people in the SE when the Cherokee arrived there, and they ran them off, and/or killed them off. Other tribes have similar legends.
3/9/2019 06:53:49 pm
“Germans where a more tan people, before arriving in Central Europe. And GENETICISTS ALREADY ADMITTED, the "Natives", have Caucasian genetic material, they picked up, a good many years before Europeans arrived in North America.”
Not only do you have this, now they something else to deal with.
terry the censor
4/6/2015 06:56:24 pm
terry the censor
4/7/2015 12:22:39 pm
Paul, can you link to the Times or provide the article title? Using your links just sends me to the Yahoo home page or a 1991 LA Times article.
The Other J.
4/20/2015 10:02:57 am
"Discovery Links Man to Americas for 36,000 Years"
4/6/2015 12:33:12 pm
Oh my--and only weeks from World Solutrean Day!
4/6/2015 03:15:23 pm
Shoot! I was getting ready to nominate Mike Bara for Solutrean Man of the Year.
4/7/2015 03:45:56 am
I think that Scott Wolter should get, at the very least, an honorable mention.
4/6/2015 02:10:49 pm
Wow I guess the history channel will stop showing the Solutrean documentary I saw a few years ago. The real story here is one of incredible human effort and story, humans crossing a brutal land to colonize a new world. No it wasn't proto Europeans but Central/North Eastern Asians...we still know very little of the migrations across Beringia and into the Americas. What a story..still with so many questions and discoveries to make.
4/6/2015 03:56:55 pm
I wouldn't be so confident that the Solutrean hypothesis is on its way out. I think it will probably be around for a while and I think we'll likely see the debate get more heated in the near future.
4/7/2015 07:21:21 am
They will claim that others are trying to coverup the "truth". Very similar to any fringe theorist. Any evidence that pokes holes in their theories are actively trying to cover it up.
4/7/2015 04:24:03 am
"It has happened before. The bow and arrow were developed independently in the Americas and in the Old World. Writing developed on its own in the ancient Near East, in the ancient Far East, and in Mesoamerica. Witness, too, the mountains of paper devoted to supposed connections between Old and New World pyramid building and mummification."
4/7/2015 04:49:39 am
...may I add,
4/7/2015 05:25:50 am
I still fin it possible that Solutreans did make it to NA no matter what their skin color. However if they did then they either went extinct or were blended into other migrants from Asia (who also may have arrived in earlier times). There was certainly no white European magic empire in NA.
3/3/2017 07:29:37 pm
So true....and coupling that truthy with the established fact that there is no antithesis for Solutrean technologies emerging from asia nor that there is any possibility for a cultural group to have migrated across the bearing strait before Clovis carrying the Solutrean technological signatures found in western Europe and eastern mid-Atlantic America
12/5/2017 01:21:27 am
As for the lack of similar bi-points in Asia, that is misleading.
12/5/2017 09:07:25 am
Wm Jack Hranicky is a joke among professionals and amateur collectors alike. He is known to too many as a thief, a liar and an overly earnest over-achiever-wannabee. Numerous collectors I personally know will not allow him to touch a single artifact in their collections--he is reported by too manyto have stolen artifacts from collections in the owner's homes as well as at artifact shows.
4/8/2015 08:50:05 am
Europe's western coast could have
3/3/2017 07:25:35 pm
Solutrean origins are found in a proto Solutrean technology emerging from North Africa. There is absolutely no foundation for the scenario given above
4/29/2015 12:09:13 am
Solutrian isn't dead, it merely isn't proven. But then, neither is much of what is taken as gospel by science proven. I have a good laugh, time to time, when it occurs the people and culture who were burning witches a mere 500 years ago hold to anything remotely considered a definitive or empirically proven or dis-proven 'truth.' How about a 'litmus test' of self-veracity for western science? The appendix was faithfully described as a 'vestigial organ' for what seemed like a very long time (how many decades? Centuries?) and that 'Eureka!' moment within the last decade; the appendix is a perfectly modern, functional organ whose purpose is restarting the gut flora following a bout with dysentery. It follows, it is immaterial whether Solutrian people were White or Black, whether they possibly walked over ice or possibly arrived by sea, or didn't arrive at all. What is material is, the culture that produced western science is, in a sense, still burning witches.
4/29/2015 03:30:56 am
At least, no one is burning witches literally and burning books as well; that is what counts.
5/10/2015 07:28:54 am
Popular theories come and go, from Piltdown Man to blood-letting to remove "bad humours" from the body. Even in our modern age, there were proponents of the coming Ice Age in such notable rags as the NYT, Newsweek, Time and Popular Science. Those damnable aerosols were going to cause it all. And now...it's all about global warming, massive man-made climate change. And if ANYBODY doesn't believe in this last canard, then you're an idiot, a malcontent, an anti-. That's the nature of science though...to question and examine the evidence. If everything was cut and dried, we'd have no need for lawyers either. Many of the most accepted theories and opinions were NOT accepted by the masses, in their day, so we all need to be very judicious and not filled with righteous indignation against those who disagree with majority. People makes mistakes, not always intentionally. Look what happened in the 2008 and 2012 elections. We may never recover from that ideological mental illness.
8/13/2015 01:55:36 pm
Do any of us REALLY know. ? Everyone's entitled to their opinion l know that if you look at a true Spaniard he is as white as any European and come from basically the same place , and gene study is o so new how can we be so damn sure we are reading that right? A lot of you have such smug opinions of yourselves , like you couldn't possibly be wrong Really????????
10/24/2015 05:21:53 pm
YOU SEEM INCREDIBLY ANTI-WHITE.
terry the censor
10/24/2015 06:35:32 pm
> YOU SEEM INCREDIBLY ANTI-WHITE.
9/17/2016 09:32:39 am
Jennifer Raff has no better understanding, or better knowledge of, the various lines of archaeological, ethnographic, paleoecological, comparative lithic evidence that is increasingly lending support to the Solutrean Hypothesis. Neither does Metin Erin nor David Meltzer, despite the fact that the 'establishment' keeps allowing them to publish largely BS, off-the-mark nonsense in dispute of Solutrean. Raff also has no ability to be any more certain that X2a mtDNA derived from a Beringian route than from a trans-Atlantic route. If X2a is found in Siberia, then there is significant support that it did not derive from Europe, but that has not be found.
1/5/2017 05:07:42 pm
Steve Timmermans+ are you a geneticist? How many papers have you published and had peer reviewed? Native American X2a and the Middle Eastern X2b split over 30,000 years ago, they are not the same thing, and there is no evidence that X2b was ever present in Europe when the Solutrean culture thrived. You do not know what their genomes and haploids looked like because one has never been sequenced. X has been found in the Altai region of Siberia, that is intermediate between Native American X2a and Middle Eastern X2b. X is not Exclusive to Europe, Asia, Middle East or America, so you cannot say it was European or proof that Europeans brought to America, because it arose early in the Middle East and diffused to the rest of the world. Does the fact that recently they found a set of remains In Spain that were 7,000 years old called La Brana man who had dark skin and black hair his Ydna was C, since it is one of two Native Americans Haplogroups it is thought to have entered America 8,000 to 9,000 years ago. Does it mean that Native Americans entered Europe 8,000 years ago because La Brana had Ydna C? He did have Black hair and dark skin, haplogroup Q is the first Ydna haplogroup to enter America up to 30,000 years ago, but is also found in Scandinavia, Eastern and Central Europe, Southern Europe in France, Southern Sicily, Southern Croatia, Northern Serbia, parts of Poland and Ukraine,6 % of 412 samples from the island of Hvar in Southern Croatia, in Britain, and among the Ashkenazi People. haplogroup Q is older and more prolific in America at 90 % of all Native Americans, also they are seeing in European hunter gatherer, Mesolthic , Neolithic a d Modern Europeans, Amerindian like admixture. So instead of European hunter gatherer women with only 1 X haplogroup crossing the Atlantic Ocean ( in Inuit style Seal skinned boats) to teach the Native Americans to make spear points, there a better chance that it happened the other way around, with Native American men crossing the Atlantic ocean in big viking style ships, to teach the Solutreans how to make Clovis/ Solutrean hybrid spear points, the Native Men brought their Ydna Q and C haplogroups and brought one woman with her Mtdna X haplogroup, as a gift to the Solutrean men. With gratitude for the Native American men teaching their Clovis Point lithics to the Solutreans, the Solutreans give up some of their Daughters in gratitude to the Q and C Native men, and they leave their Ydna all over the European Islands and Mainland. Lets just forget Ydna Q and C and Mtdna X are Pan-Eurasian haploids and that they probably came from Siberia/Asia, and spread out from there to the rest of the world, because it is far more better for the self esteem and superiority complexes of some people, and for the simple fact that it gets people rocks off, to think their Stone Age ancestors crossed the Atlantic to bestow technology to other less accomplished Stone Age ancestors of other people.. For god sakes, gimme a friggen break!!
3/3/2017 05:39:21 pm
The idea that Solutrean peoples were caucasian flies in the face of reality whereat the origins of Solutrean technology are far more likely to have emerged out of north Africa rather than from anyplace else. A proto-Solutrean foundation is traced to Africa, and though slim in hard evidence it postulates that Solutrean peoples cannot very likely have been caucasian.
3/3/2017 07:23:44 pm
To this must be added that I personally have handled more Solutrean artifacts from these shores than anyone outside of Dr Stanford's circle. Regarding the location of the dredged Cinmar artifact there is in fact a documented survey of the site and environs ( https://www.academia.edu/11753423/Cinmar_Site_Investigations_2013 )*
5/26/2017 02:15:35 am
David Sweet+ yes, you are right. These people are trying to erase the history and accomplishments of the Native American people. Not only that, they are trying to rewrite the history of the Americas, and write the Native Americans out of it all together. It's this sick need to colonize the American past with their own ancestors. I think it a mental illness.
3/6/2019 03:38:17 am
Your claims are incorrect, and at least ten years out of date. A gene for white skin was found dating back tens of thousands of years. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/15/AR2005121501728.html?noredirect=on
3/7/2020 07:18:14 am
You have a real problem with X-mtdna.
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