2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 150-1
Presentation Time: 1:35 PM


CORDOVA, Carlos E., Department of Geography, Oklahoma State University, 337 Murray Hall, Stillwater, OK 74078, carlos.cordova@okstate.edu

Whose field of research is that of pre- and proto-anthropic environments in the Americas? The answer to this question is uncertain. In part, this uncertainty is due to the fact that archaeologists will not or cannot venture beyond times with tangible human evidence. At the same time, the non-anthropological disciplines like the geosciences look at a world at scales that cannot capture the nuances of early human presence. The Pre-Clovis period, for which no early limit has been established, and the so-called First Americans, fall within a grey zone between a world with well-documented human presence and one devoid of humans. While archaeologists cannot risk searching for human settlements where there are no humans, geoscientists, in theory, lack the means to address this liminal period from an anthropological perspective. Nonetheless, geoarchaeology, in the full sense of its scientific purpose, is uniquely positioned to fill in this gap. By definition, geoarchaeologists, are or should be trained in both the geosciences and archaeology, both of which are key to searching for early human evidence in the American continent. An interdisciplinary scientific scholarship with a substantial technological capability exists, but institutional obstacles, particularly concerning funding should be overcome with an appropriate line of research. A model of interdisciplinary research is proposed to reconcile cross-disciplinary limitations to study early First-American sites. This model is based on examples of various sites in North America and recent research on environmental aspects beyond single sites.