Suter Seminar: Paleoindians in Virginia: The Spatial and Temporal Quandary

Where Science Center, 104

Duration 1 hour

Paleoindians in Virginia: The Spatial and Temporal Quandary

Mike Barber, PhD
Va State Archaeologist
Department of Historic Resources
Richmond, Va

The question of the first arrival of humankind in the New World has always been an interesting one. From Thomas Jefferson and other early colonial thinkers came speculation as to the Indian progenitors as Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Lost Continent of Atlantisians, and Chinese. Through the 1980s, archaeologists had isolated the timeframe of first occupation to 12,500 years ago, the place of origin Siberia, and the travelway, the Bering Strait land bridge. Recent studies have moved the original occupation back in time, inundated the Bering Strait land break, and suggested places of origin as Asia, Iberia, Africa, and leaving only the lost continent of Atlantis untapped. This presentation will examine current “origin” paradigms.

Dr. Barber is currently Virginia State Archaeologist with the Department of Historic Resources. He holds three degrees in anthropology, the most recent a PhD from University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va. Having worked in Virginia archaeology for more than 40 years, he is conversant in the archaeology of the entire Commonwealth during all periods. His specialties are zoo archaeology (study of animal bones from archaeological sites) and lithic analysis (study of stone tools). Widely published, Dr. Barber is working on a formal catalogue of prehistoric bone tools. Most recent projects include the emergency excavation of several 19th century burials on Tangier Island, a study of prehistoric ossuaries on the Eastern Shore, and the study of bone tools from a Middle Woodland site (AD 200-900) in Prince George’s County, Va.

Intended Audience General Public

Tags SCIENCE, Intellectual Life

Contact Information

Name Lynn Quay

Phone # 432.4400