Alternative Perspectives on the Peopling of the New World: A Symposium in Honor of Ruth Gruhn, the "First Lady" of First Americans Studies

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 82nd Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC (2017)

Dr. Ruth Gruhn has long served as a proponent for alternative records and non-Clovis-centric models of the Pleistocene peopling of the Americas. Over her long career she conducted field-based Paleoindian research in the Intermountain West of North America, Baja California, Guatemala, and northern South America, and she became well-known and respected in nearly every country of the Western Hemisphere. The papers in this session commemorate Dr. Gruhn's contributions to non-Clovis Pleistocene archaeologies across the Western Hemisphere, Paleoindian studies in Latin America, and the concept of a Pacific coastal migration. We also celebrate her enduring, selfless role as Paleoindian archaeology’s ‘inter-continental’ ambassador.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-14 of 14)

  • Documents (14)

  • Attempt of Modelization of the First Settlements in America at Pleistocene Based on the New Archaeological Sequences in Piaui (Brazil) (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Eric Boeda. Christine Hatté. Michel Fontugne. Christelle Lahaye.

    The research our teams are conducting in the parc of Capivara in Brazil since 2008 lead to reveal 6 new Pleistocene archaeological sequences . The sites are all located within a 20 km area and stem from different sedimentary and topographic environments including: open air, rock shelter, cave at the bottom of cuesta or in karst. Each of the sites shows different sedimentary sequences, including different archeological horizons and different typo-technical compositions. The dating that we have...

  • Discussing early societies Fishtail points and early social practices seen from the Southern Cone (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Nora Flegenheimer. Roxana Cattaneo.

    The early peopling of South America is related to great environmental and material variability. Discussions must deal with early archaeological records including a variety of lithic assemblages in tropical lands, the Pacific coast, the Andes and the extensive southern plains and plateaus. In this context, fishtails are the most widespread point type exhibiting a dispersed pattern throughout most of South America during terminal Pleistocene times. They are therefore useful to think about with...

  • The Earliest Occupation of Colombia: Balance and Perspectives at the Beginning of the 21st Century (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carlos Lopez. Martha Cano.

    In First Americans research in Colombia, the last three decades of the 20th Century were significant in terms of enthusiasm and motivation. Studies carried out by scholars such as Ruth Gruhn and Alan Bryan in Venezuela and other places were fundamental references for Colombian teams and encouraged advances in Pleistocene archaeology. Gonzalo Correal, Thomas Van der Hammen and Gerardo Reichel-Dolmatoff, among others, followed widely their contributions. Following Colombian generations of...

  • The Emerging 13,000 to 15,000 cal yr B.P. Archaeological Record of North America South of the Continental Ice Sheets (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Waters.

    Ruth Gruhn was an early advocate for a human presence in the Americas prior to Clovis. Gruhn and her late husband, Alan Bryan, excavated and reported on early sites in both North and South America and championed the Pacific coast as the route taken by the earliest people to reach the Americas. Their predictions have become a reality. Genetic and geological evidence is supporting a coastal migration route into the Americas. Recent discoveries at the Page-Ladson site, Florida, the Debra L....

  • Fluted-point technology and the nature of its transmission in the Western Canadian Ice-free Corridor (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Heather Smith.

    Recent analyses suggest that Paleoindian stage technology in the archaeological record of the Western Canadian Ice-free Corridor—fluted projectile points—can provide valuable evidence of the dispersal of Clovis and descendant groups northward as early Americans spread throughout the New World. This paper discusses recent geometric morphometric and technological evidence for fluted-point variation in the Ice-free Corridor, which possibly represents a variety of typological specimens spanning over...

  • From Los Tapiales to Cuncaicha: Terminal Pleistocene humans in America’s high-elevation western mountains (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kurt Rademaker.

    Among Ruth Gruhn’s remarkable archaeological accomplishments has been the investigation of the first truly high-elevation Paleoindian sites discovered in the Americas. The open-air camps of Los Tapiales and La Piedra del Coyote in the Guatemalan highlands, located respectively at 3150 and 3300 meters above sea level, contained fluted Fishtail projectile points and rich, diverse tool and flake assemblages. Importantly, both sites were securely dated to ~12,500 cal BP, indicating early use of...

  • Late Pleistocene Archaeology in Argentina 47 years later (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gustavo Politis.

    In the 1970s Ruth Gruhn and Alan Bryan spent several weeks in Argentina as part of a one-year trip around South America. In those years, Ruth and Alan started to challenge the Clovis-First Model for the peopling of the America, and their visit to South America was instrumental in consolidating their ideas as well as stimulating the research of Late Pleistocene archaeological sites. Subsequent travels to the region, especially the one made by Alan in 1980, contributed to generating the hypothesis...

  • On the Trail of the Stemmed Point: A Circum-Pacific Perspective (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ted Goebel. Kelly Graf.

    Half a century ago, Alan Bryan proposed that two distinct early Paleoindian traditions occurred in North America—Clovis Fluted east of the Rocky Mountains and Great Basin Stemmed in the far west—and that these co-traditions potentially represented different founding migrations from the Old World, with Great Basin Stemmed potentially being tied to a coastal north Pacific route. Much of the research that Ruth Gruhn and her partner Bryan conducted during the next several decades, certainly into the...

  • Pre-Clovis Archaeology in the Frontiers of Research:Page-Ladson and the Importance of Submerged Sites to Understanding the First Americans (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jessi Halligan. Michael Waters.

    Dr. Gruhn has spent her career working in locations that most Paleoindian archaeologists consider to be inaccessible and difficult, maintaining that the story of the First Americans can best be found in well-preserved localities on the geographical and chronological frontiers. Our recent work at the Page-Ladson site in Florida fits well within the spirit of her investigations. Page-Ladson is an inundated terrestrial site with sediments containing lithic artifacts associated with a butchered...

  • Searching for the First Americans Along Oregon’s Ancient Coast: New Methods and Upcoming Research (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Loren Davis. Alexander Nyers.

    To date, efforts to search for and investigate Pleistocene-aged sites along the Northwest Coast have been largely limited to subaerial landforms and deposits. Beginning in 2017, the search for early coastal sites will extend onto Oregon’s outer continental shelf. These search efforts will be supported by the use of a GIS-based model that makes predictions about the foraging potential of reconstructed late Pleistocene-aged coastal landscapes. We review the modeling methodology and how...

  • Southern Patagonia:coastal versus interior human migration (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Luis Borrero. Fabiana María Martin. Manuel San Román. Flavia Morello. Dominique Todisco.

    In spite of the ca. 14,000 Cal BP or more at 41º S, the oldest human occupations in southern Chile below 52º S are not easy to explain as a result of a Pacific coastal migration. The oldest Late Pleistocene occupations recorded at Ultima Esperanza and Tierra del Fuego are all focused on the exploitation of terrestrial resources and have ties with sites located in the eastern steppes, such as Fell Cave, Piedra Museo or Cerro Tres Tetas. The oldest maritime oriented human occupations of the...

  • Stemmed Points and ‘Expedient Stone Tools’: early post-glacial archaeology on the BC coast. (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Daryl Fedje. Duncan McLaren. Quentin Mackie.

    Over 35 years ago Al Bryan and Ruth Gruhn were promoting the concept of a very early ‘Stemmed Point Tradition’ associated with ‘simple’ flake and core tools. They saw this ‘Far West’ area construct as being of similar age to Clovis and possibly even older. Al and Ruth were keenly interested in the assemblages of stemmed points and ‘expedient stone tools’ recovered by Fedje and others from a series of sites in the Eastern Slopes region of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in the 1980s, an interest...

  • Western Stemmed Occupations of the Northern Great Basin (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dennis Jenkins.

    Recent research into the chronology and character of Western Stemmed Tradition occupations at the Paisley and Connley Caves provides new insight into the settlement-subsistence patterns and social organization of the period >13,000 to 9000 cal. BP. Human populations may have been larger, more social, and territorially constrained than previously envisioned. Long distance movement of obsidian artifacts across the landscape probably reflect brief population agglomerations (festivals) scheduled to...

  • The Western Stemmed Tradition and the Glacier Peak Eruptions: a precautionary tale (2017)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kenneth Reid. Franklin Foit, Jr..

    Recent reviews of the radiocarbon record for Western Stemmed components on the Columbia Plateau suggest a post-Clovis age for this tradition. Controversies over the timing question are intensified by highly selective frames of references for mapping regional patterns of site distribution. Some sites are highlighted, other relevant sites ignored, and still others find their way into the debate through uncritical confirmation bias. This paper focuses on the latter confusion, examining the use of...