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Tools show earlier human history in U.S.

March 25, 2011 at 12:53 AM   |   Comments

AUSTIN, Texas, March 25 (UPI) -- Stone knife blades, spear points and scrapers found near Austin, Texas, date from more than 13,000 years ago, archaeologists said Thursday.

If the dating holds up, the finds could settle a long-running dispute about how long human beings have been living in the Americas, The Washington Post reported Thursday.

Many archaeologists maintain the first humans in North America were those who created the Clovis culture, named for a type site near Clovis, N.M.

In a report published in Science, archaeologists excavating the Texas site said the artifacts are between 13,200 and 15,500 years old. That would make them about 2,000 years older than the earliest Clovis finds.

"This is almost like a baseball bat to the side of the head of the archaeological community to say, 'Wake up, there were pre-Clovis people here,'" said Michael R. Waters of Texas A&M University, who headed the excavation.

The tools were found in a layer of soil about 4 feet below the surface that appeared not to have been disturbed. Archaeologists said they have a kinship with Clovis tools, although it is impossible to say if the makers were Clovis ancestors.

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