Texas site points to earliest Americans

March 24, 2011 at 5:27 PM

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, March 24 (UPI) -- Evidence from a Texas archaeological site proves people lived in the region as much as 2,500 years earlier than previously believed, researchers say.

Archaeologists from Texas A&M University say evidence found about 40 miles northwest of Austin is the oldest sign of human occupation in Texas and North America, a university release reported Thursday.

The evidence pushes back the date for the earliest inhabitants of North America to about 15,500 years ago, the researchers said.

The artifacts were found in buried deposits next to a small spring-fed stream, they said.

"Most of these are chipping debris from the making and resharpening of tools, but over 50 are tools," Michael Waters of Texas A&M's Center for the Study of First Americans said. "There are bifacial (two-sided) artifacts that tell us they were making projectile points and knives at the site."

Studies have shown the site is undisturbed and the artifacts give solid evidence of when early people arrived at the site, researchers said.

"This discovery challenges us to re-think the early colonization of the Americas," Water said. "There's no doubt these tools and weapons are human-made and they date to about 15,500 years ago, making them the oldest artifacts found both in Texas and North America."

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