The remains found in the Clovis burial site in Montana, also known as the Anzick site, all belong in the same period of ancient history.
Radiocarbon dating analysis conducted on the remains of the young child revealed that it was buried at the same time with the antler and stone weapons that were also found on the site.
A further examination of the recent findings could provide more insights about the early inhabitants of North America. Hopefully, it could end debates regarding whether the young child was a Clovis individual or not.
Most importantly, additional genetic testing of the remains would eventually determine the precise date of the arrival of the first people in the Americas.
The Clovis Culture
The burial site in Montana was discovered in 1968, specifically in a property owned by the Anzick family. The site has since been the only known Clovis burial site.
"Clovis" refers to specific man-made spear-shaped stone weapons, which were first found in areas in New Mexico and Texas. These weapons had ribbed tips and were used to hunt animals. Early American hunters were believed to have used these tools.
The Clovis people were not the first inhabitants of the Americas, according to experts. They were the direct descendants of the early humans who came in the New World some 15,000 years ago.
The Clovis culture was the first widespread prehistoric culture that first appeared about 13,000 years ago. Clovis was said to have originated south of the colossal ice sheets that once covered Canada.
Along with man-made weapons and remains of an antler, a fractured skull of a child was also found in 1968 in the same site. The child was estimated to be around the age of 12 to 18 months.
A DNA analysis determined that the child had a genetic link to North and South American natives, as well as the ancient Siberians. This result contributed to growing evidence that early humans reached the Americas through crossing the Bering Land Bridge that once connected Asia to Alaska. Afterward, some of these migrants continued their way to the south.
However, some archeologists have long argued since that the child did not belong to the Clovis clan as the remains were younger than the stone tools found buried with the child.
Now, with the radiocarbon dating analysis conducted by a team of scientists, it is confirmed that the child remains were of the same age with the antlers and of the stone weapons.
The Anzick Site
The current study published on June 18 in the journal PNAS focused on accurately determining the age of the child's remains. The team, comprised of researchers from the Texas A&M University, the University of Oxford, and Stafford Research of Colorado, employed a process called Specific Amino Acid Radiocarbon Dating.
The method allowed the scientists to separate an amino acid called hydroxyproline from the child's bones. They used the same technique to determine the age of the antler bones.
"The human remains and Clovis artifacts can now be confidently shown to be the same age and date between 12,725 to 12,900 years ago. This is right in the middle to the end of the Clovis time period which ranges from 13,000 to 12,700 years ago," explained Michael Walters, one of the scientists and the director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans.