Start reading Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture [Kindle Edition]

Dennis J. Stanford , Bruce A. Bradley , Michæl Collins , Michael B. Collins
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £19.95
Kindle Price: £15.73 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £4.22 (21%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £15.73  
Hardcover --  
Paperback £16.56  
Audio Download, Unabridged £0.00 Free with Audible trial
Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal: Up to 70% off
Each day we unveil a new book deal at a specially discounted price--for that day only. Learn more about the Kindle Daily Deal or sign up for the Kindle Daily Deal Newsletter to receive free e-mail notifications about each day's deal.

Book Description

Who were the first humans to inhabit North America? According to the now familiar story, mammal hunters entered the continent some 12,000 years ago via a land bridge that spanned the Bering Sea. Distinctive stone tools belonging to the Clovis culture established the presence of these early New World people. But are the Clovis tools Asian in origin? Drawing from original archaeological analysis, paleoclimatic research, and genetic studies, noted archaeologists Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley challenge the old narrative and, in the process, counter traditional—and often subjective—approaches to archaeological testing for historical relatedness. The authors apply rigorous scholarship to a hypothesis that places the technological antecedents of Clovis in Europe and posits that the first Americans crossed the Atlantic by boat and arrived earlier than previously thought. Supplying archaeological and oceanographic evidence to support this assertion, the book dismantles the old paradigm while persuasively linking Clovis technology with the culture of the Solutrean people who occupied France and Spain more than 20,000 years ago.

Product Description


"Stanford and Bradley weave a fascinating narrative... [The authors] deftly illustrate their expertise." -- Christopher R. Moore, University of South Carolina Southeastern Archaeology 20130122 "This scientific treatise ... shines between the lines." -- Philip Kopper The Washington Times 20120427 "A thorough job... Stanford and Bradley compile an impressive dossier of evidence... It should be taken seriously." -- Atholl Anderson, Australian National University, Canberra Int'l Jrnl Nautical Achaeology 20130216

About the Author

Dennis J. Stanford is Curator of Archaeology and Director of the Paleoindian Program at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. Among his books is Ice Age Hunters of the Rockies. Bruce A. Bradley is Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the University of Exeter and Director of its Experimental Archaeology Programme. His books include Clovis Technology.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3715 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (28 Feb. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007KL3C0W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #548,715 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Customer Reviews

4 star
2 star
1 star
4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful! 3 Jun. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
a beautiful book, well written, teasing new view not only on American but also on world history. Happy to have received it promptly.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hugely interesting and well researched. 12 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We had all heard the Beringa theory but this book really makes you question. I'm just an enthusiastic amateur but I loved the arguments, insights and obvious knowledge. Excellent
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3.0 out of 5 stars Great book for keen knappers 5 Jan. 2015
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book seems back to front, I had expected it to be for the general public with the overview and general story with a large appendix.
It is much more like one big appendix and I felt I needed to be a dedicated flint knapper to keep my interest.
Well, the book is in great condition so it will be donated to the local library and maybe find a keen knapper.

It is strange to me that if the authors feel that North America had at some time been colonized by people from Western Europe, there would be more about the genetics to support the idea.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Requires pre-knowledge 4 Sept. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
To enjoy this book you must already know something about the Clovis culture, I had never heard of them and had to do some research before I could get into this book. But that said once I was into it I found it a very interesting read and Stanford and Bradley made a good case for pre Neolithic Europeans making their way across the Atlantic ice during the last ice age. The drawings, descriptions and deductions of the flint tools are excellent and proved to be a mine of information.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  69 reviews
144 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Across Atlantic Ice - Hot Debate in the Face of Cold Fact 4 Feb. 2012
By Richard White - Published on
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, we were hit full on by the storm of New Archeology, which promised a whole new way, a scientific way, of explaining what archeological remains could tell us about the evolution of human behavior. Now, some 40 or 50 years later, archeology is still basically the same as it was before New became old archeology. A generation or two of archeologists raised on Popper and Hempill have come and gone, and much of the philosophy of science understood by archeologists today is still based on the Popper and Hempill models of half a century ago.

Experimental archeology was a (small) part of the New Archeology. Primarily it involved faunal analysis, and the application of ethnographic and experimental data to explaining the nature of bone assemblages and the behavior which produced them. Binford and his students led the way in this endeavor, and I view their results as some of the best, and only, useful products of the New Archeology.

Experimental lithic technology studies were conducted, to be sure. But for the most part, these concentrated on "discovering" the methods used to manufacture lithic tools in a very mechanistic sort of way, or to discover possible uses to which the tools might have been put. As important as those studies were, they seldom really got to human behavior, and almost never to providing a useful way to trace the development and spread of either the technology, or, more importantly, the groups of people who were making their way in an evolving landscape using those tools.

Across Atlantic Ice is not one of those aforementioned studies. It is what those studies should have been. Written by Dennis Stanford, a long-term maverick archeologist who has been forcing us to look at the possibility of pre-Clovis occupation of the New World for many years, and by Bruce Bradley, without any doubt the most accomplished and widely experienced flint knapper alive today, the book suggests a new hypothesis to explain the origin, both technologically and geographically, of the Clovis culture. To give away the plot without further ado, Stanford and Bradley argue for an origin of Clovis (and pre-Clovis) technology with the Solutrean culture of France and Spain. They marshal a considerable corpus of data in support of this hypothesis from a wide variety of disciplines - paleontology, geology, geochronology and of course, archeology. They describe Clovis technology in great detail, pulling together the work of many researchers, as well as their own research. They carefully lay out what they see as the three potential candidates for the antecedents of Clovis technology, and describe each in detail. Their comparisons are detailed and extensive.

In identifying the complex biface thinning technology of southwestern Europe as the progenitor of Clovis, they also rely heavily on Bradley's analysis of the manufacturing process of both Solutrean lithics and Clovis lithics. Unlike the earlier, much more mechanistic investigations of lithic technology, Bradley seems to view the manufacture of a lithic tool as a series of problems which confront the knapper, and which must be addressed by conscious choices as to technique, raw material and tools used. Bradley conveys the nature of those choices as a human behavior amenable to analysis in a way other knappers have not.

One of the interesting points of their arguments involves the identification of specific, detailed similarities in the lithic complexes they analyze as more likely to carry information about the true relationships of those complexes, and hence the people responsible for them, than higher level, broader and more general resemblances, which they regard as more likely to be due to a sort of cultural convergence. This approach mirrors closely that of cladistic analysis in phylogenetic reconstruction. For example, they identify one very specific technique, overshot flaking, as so specialized, and so restricted in time and space (it is a significant component of only two complexes, Clovis and Solutrean) that it surely evidences a close relationship between the people responsible. In cladistic analysis, such traits are called "synapomorphies," that is, shared derived characters, which are the only similarities that can be used to infer phylogenetic relationships. I would offer here that some of the numerical, computerized methods used in discovering relationships between different taxa in a quantifiable and testable way, might be applied to analysis of lithic complexes. It would add a further level of sophistication to the "three taxa" analyses that Stanford and Bradley have worked out manually.

I will not belabor the rich fabric of evidence which the authors have woven for us readers. As the author of the book's Forward, Michael Collins notes, they've laid out the evidence. Much more needs to be done in order to test their hypothesis, and I am sure that this book will be responsible for encouraging much of that work to be done, particularly by those who will, and already have, vociferously opposed their ideas. My suspicion is that, unlike most crazy ideas, this one is an example of Shopenhauer's process. It is only a matter of time, I believe, until the present naysayers will be telling us that they knew it all along.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit to knowing one of the authors (Bradley) as well as the author of the Forward (Collins). All that means is that I have some little exposure ( decades ago) to Bradley's consummate skill as a knapper, and to Collins' abilities as an archeologist and a scientist. Although they may not remember or realize it, both taught me important lessons in those long past days.

Richard S. White
79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars time to consider a paradigm shift 22 Mar. 2012
By A. Foulks - Published on
I have been awaiting this book hypothesizing a Solutrean origin for the Clovis culture for many years, in the meantime subsisting on the bits of information the authors have leaked through journal articles and lectures. Finally their book-length alternative hypothesis of the origins of the early American "Clovis" culture is out.
As an archaeologist who specializes in stone tools analysis, and a mediocre flintknapper, I have to say that the totality of the similarities between Solutrean culture and Clovis culture is very compelling. This is especially true if sites such as Meadowcroft and Cactus Hill are being correctly interpreted as bridging the time gap between these two (putatively related) cultures. It is a very difficult thing to describe the profound changes one has to make when switching from one culture's tool manufacturing method to another's, and I don't think it was done totally successfully in this book, but as a flintknapper I agree that if ANY two sophisticated prehistoric groups made their tools the same way, it was these two.
Above all, I think this book should be seen as a challenge to do new research, including that which may not assume all early Americans came from Asia. This book doesn't refute that there sites proximal to the Pacific coast of the Americas that DO represent Asian migration; they are only saying that a different wave of migrants was responsible for Clovis culture. As they opined (p. 185), if the Solutrean culture were found in Siberia, everybody would immediately recognize it as the progenitor of Clovis. Another strong point in the book is the review of LGM(last Glacial maximum) environments in BOTH eastern Siberia and southwest Europe. If crossing thousands of kilometers of ice edge (the Atlantic route) seems impossibly daunting, the long-favored northern Siberian route to America seems just as unappealing (horrific storms in winter, raging rivers in spring, and mushy bug-infested lands in summer). Hard to imagine either route being plausible, to those of us who live in modern technological comfort; but SOMEBODY did it in the distant past. Why not more than one group?
I have my nitpicks with the presentation. For instance, the index is terrible. I looked in vain for "Ramah chert" and "Suwannee complex", which I knew from previous exposure to the hypothesis were key elements in this model of Clovis origins. They are covered in the text, but are not listed in the index. Another weak point was on p. 42 (Figure 2.5): the scattershot distribution of Clovis site dates didn't make the intended case at all, that Clovis culture is older in the East than in the West. Finally, after painstakingly telling the reader how far it is between early sites in Siberia and those in interior North America; they were very reluctant to actually disclose the distance Solutrean hunters would have had to cross (with their families) in order to establish a viable population in eastern North America [it is roughly 6,000 km; or 4,000 mi.]. Better to have stated that right away, and then used the distances between Siberia to interior northwest America to mitigate the shock of it. Again, SOMEBODY made the journey, no matter how difficult it was, or there wouldn't have been people in the Americas.
My biggest criticism: the authors' interchangeable use of "hypothesis" and "theory". I don't let students in my 100-level course make that mistake. What we have here is an HYPOTHESIS supported by some observed facts; one that is just begging for testing (by both traditional and innovative methods).
I thank the authors for their courage; they've long been aware of the severe criticism this model has inspired. As they noted, similarities between Solutrean culture in western Europe and Clovis culture in North America have been observed before; but it would have been professional suicide for a graduate student to present such an idea, as entrenched as the "Siberian origin of New World peoples" was. Stanford and Bradley have unassailable research reputations, and they are late enough in their careers to take this risk.
One of my most important reactions to this book: I appreciate it as a statement against entrenchment and political correctness in science. The ideal of science being "let the data take you where it will" is seldom practiced in reality. The reality is that, now that we've had access to archaeological finds in Siberia (since the fall of the USSR), there is NO valid progenitor to Clovis technology to be found there. I suppose the fear is that American archaeologists (most of whom are Anglo.) will be labeled "racist" by suggesting that any of the first Americans came from Europe. Newsflash: the Native Americans are offended that anyone would suggest that they haven't ALWAYS been here in the Americas, so we've already offended them. And sadly, if an archaeologist from, say, Africa or Asia had suggested the "Solutrean hypothesis", we would have just dismissed them as "out of touch" with paleo-American archaeology. That's one accusation nobody can make about these authors.
The other reality of modern archaeology is that humans have clearly proven their intrepid exploration abilities time and again: from expanding into temperate areas during the early Ice Age, to colonizing offshore islands as much as hundreds of thousands of years ago, to our recent history of Moon landings in what already seem like impossibly flimsy spacecraft. And yet, archaeologists consistently underestimate early man's drive to explore; and fail to even search for sites in accordance with that underestimation. Let's stop being so timid, and find ways to be intrepid ourselves, such as developing new techniques to do underwater archaeology, which might illuminate the human occupation of landscapes now deep underwater, including those that could just lead this to being our new paradigm of Clovis origins.
34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is Exciting, not just a Texbook 7 Mar. 2012
By James B. Bryant - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the book that amateurs, like me, and professionals have been waiting for, a reasonable argument for early peopling of the Americas from Europe. My review of a precursor book, Paleoamerican Origins: Beyond Clovis on, noted Dr. Stanford's dedication to overcome the Clovis first mentality with data. Across Atlantic Ice uses new discoveries and data analysis to present reasonable proof that travel across the Atlantic Ocean and ice did happen during Neolithic times.
Going down to the sea in ships has always been risky and requires the right mix of technical innovation and skillful seamanship to succeed. I have seen this first hand in Nuclear Submarines, including Attack Submarine Command (SSN 612) during the Cold War. The ability for vessels to carrying heavy loads, quickly over long distances would have been obvious even in Neolithic times.
This book is controversial, but that it is why it is important to read. If you are not an expert you may be challenged to understand all the concepts, but it is well worth the effort.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DNA evidence seems to strongly confirm the hypothesis 24 April 2012
By Roger V. Meeker - Published on
Of particular significance to the argument presented by authors Stanford and Bradley is new intriguing DNA evidence. Just today I just watched Bryan Sykes, the author of a brand new book ("DNA USA", pub. May 2012), being interviewed on television. Sykes is a professor of human genetics at Oxford; he previously authored "The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science that Reveals our Genetic Ancestry".

Prof. Sykes' extensive studies confirm the long-held conventional wisdom regarding the presence of four primary gene pool clusters (A, B, C and D) as comprising present North American populations, all originating in Asia. However, evidence has more recently been developed that demonstrates the existence of a fifth cluster (cluster X) present among a number of American Indian tribes -- the Ojibwa, Sioux, Yakima and Navajo. Significantly, while there is virtually no trace of cluster X in Asian populations, many matches can be found within European populations. In short, cluster X appears to have originated in Europe.

Even more intriguing for Stanford and Bradley's hypothesis, these cluster X markers apparently were present at least 10,000 years ago in North America. This would seem to be very compelling corroborating evidence for a possible European/Solutrean connection to the Clovis culture, as the authors posit, and constitutes pretty exciting new information. Academics have a tendency to view evidence only within their own practiced discipline (archeological, biological/DNA, linguistic, etc.). Discovering confirming evidence across disciplines can add profoundly to the weight of one's argument; Prof. Sykes' offers exactly that for these authors.

An important and very worthy read for those interested in the origins of American Indian populations.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Atlantic Crossing, Yes -- Boats, No 4 Feb. 2013
By John Bull - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ice age man crossing along Atlantic ice, Europe to North America? Yes. But why and how?

"Across Atlantic Ice" -- it's an interesting book, and an even more interesting concept. A consensus seems to be forming that this indeed was the route of at least some of the early arrivals in North America. The book well substantiates the basic premise, and the stone tool evidence is fully covered.

But why would man take his family out on the Atlantic ice? Were they looking for a better place as the authors suggest? Maybe not, maybe they thought they'd already found it. A home on the ice was probably seen as no more harsh than the ice age land. And food there on the ice was perhaps more available, and more easily taken. Just sit and wait at a seal air hole. Man's first sit-down job. Then a quick thrust of the tethered lance -- and that's lunch. Perhaps just as the plains Indians followed the bison, these people followed the the seal. It provided everything needed -- meat for food, fat for fire and light, hides for clothing, boots, and so forth.

Following the seal, small family groups likely wandered for years along the vast sea ice bridge (spanning Europe to North America). Then one day, there they were, standing on the American Continent. Their surprise was probably fully equal to our own. It seems entirely plausible, and most probable, that it happened pretty much that way.

But now we come to the rest of the story. Just how did they do it, how did they cover the immense distances involved? Boats, the authors suggest, following along the face of the sea ice. Boats? It's difficult to see how a commitment to this idea is possible in view of the evidence, which seems not to exist -- not one relevant artifact was found. And no, I would not risk my family on a skin boat in the rough North Atlantic. Damage or collapse and all is thoroughly wet -- which means death in an arctic-like environment.

There is certainly a better bet -- though it was barely mentioned in the book. Sleds. While no physical evidence was found for boats, sled evidence was found (though sadly misinterpreted). What the authors found were bone segments of rod-like shape, worked to uniform width, with inter-connecting ends, and crosshatch engravings on the inner sides. (Stone graving tools had also been found.) They discussed the possibility that these segments might be sled runners or "sled shoes" as the Inuit call them. But there were no holes for mounting pegs or any other obvious manner of attachment. They talked of lashing them on, then dismissed it as impractical -- and simply concluded that these pieces were likely intended for some other purpose. The carved patterns on the inside, suggested as just decorative. And, if sled mounted, this decoration wouldn't even show.

But they certainly looked like sled shoes to me. And then, what did my Inuit friend think? After close examination of the illustrations -- "sled shoes". And how were they attached? The carved indentations -- whether lateral notches, crosshatch, checkerboard, or zipper-like -- are all meant to hold water evenly, and provide a gripping surface. The sled shoe segments are arranged in place with the water-holding designs against the sled -- these quickly freeze tight. Water is then splashed over the entire assembly. The water overlay freezes to a strong, armored, and smooth running surface. If the covering ice is worn or scratched, it can be easily renewed with another application of water.

And how did they build or repair sleds with no source of wood? The Inuit have long experience in this. Bone and rawhide sleds are known. And, surprisingly, sleds are also built with planks of frozen fish, and seal skins formed and frozen. Virtually the entire construct is held together by freezing. So, it is quite consistent that the sled shoes are fastened in the same way, by freezing.

Now, of course, a sled constructed of a good bit of ice is no lightweight. Do you really want your family pulling it? No, and most likely they didn't. Enter man's best friend, the canine. (There is no mention of this in the book.) Dog? Well, not quite. Recent DNA research indicates dog domestication completing and individual breeds taking shape at about the time of the late ice age. The first canines that may have pulled early sea ice sleds were probably more wolf than dog. Still rather wild, but trained to associate sled team behavior with a consistent food supply. The early Atlantic crossings would seem to predate full domestication. Atlantic ice travelers may have been among the first to initiate canine interaction leading to domestication. (As often the case, a need answered by an innovation.)

Is there evidence of all this? Yes, I think there is. The dog DNA research has turned up yet something else. Something that seems surprisingly critical here. Almost all dogs in North America, as evidenced by their DNA, originated in Europe. And the timing (Europe origin / North American presence} seems to suggest that they came direct -- across the Atlantic ice -- with man. Could the canine connection be the key -- the key element that made it all possible? Maybe, maybe it just could be. Man's best friend indeed -- and perhaps yet even more so than we had ever imagined.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category