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The result is evidence for the development of regional cultural diversity in the Americas by Paleoindian times.Few New World archaeological problems have received more attention than (and experienced as much debate as) the initial peopling of the Americas.CR and VML dating, accordingly, have been used to reassess the Great Basin petroglyph chronology.In light of the varnish dating controversy and the uncertainties and misunderstandings that it generated, I discuss the current status of these two chronometric techniques before turning to the revised rock art chronology.This necessarily requires a discussion of recent advances in petroglyph dating techniques before turning to the larger issues at hand.Great Basin petroglyphs are well known due to influential early syntheses of this art [11, 12].(Photo by Whitley.)At other Great Basin sites, outside the Cosos, the same motif assemblage typically occurs, although geometric designs commonly predominate.
But simple and complex geometric designs are typical (roughly one-third of the total) and are frequently intermingled with the ostensibly identifiable images.
Even with decades of research, basic questions like the earliest entry date and colonizing route remain elusive.
Despite these uncertainties, the majority opinion currently seems to maintain that humans first arrived sometime prior to 13,000 years ago, though how much earlier is unknown (e.g., [1, 2]).
These studies are summarized below with the intent of providing a hemisphere-wide overview of early symbolic behavior.
My point of departure in this discussion is a chronometric reanalysis of Great Basin petroglyphs (rock engravings), directed specifically at identifying the earliest art in far western North America.
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More confidently, there is a consensus that the initial immigrants where behaviorally modern, in the archaeological sense of these terms (e.g., ).