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Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture Hardcover – February 28, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520227832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520227835
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,432 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Stanford and Bradley weave a fascinating narrative. . . . [The authors] deftly illustrate their expertise.”
(Christopher R. Moore, University of South Carolina Southeastern Archaeology 2013-01-22)

“This scientific treatise . . . shines between the lines.”
(Philip Kopper The Washington Times 2012-04-27)

“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 2013-02-16)

"This book is an important should absolutely be on the shelf of any conscientious archaeologist."
(PaleoAnthropology 2014-10-14)

From the Inside Flap

"Across Atlantic Ice is brilliant and ground-breaking. As fascinating as it is controversial, this book brings together decades of research from diverse areas into a single volume that is well argued, factually rich, elegantly written--and absolutely riveting. I could not put it down." —Douglas Preston, author of Cities of Gold, Thunderhead, and former archaeology correspondent for The New Yorker magazine

“In their well-written and well-reasoned exploration of the first inhabitants of the Americas, Dennis Stanford and Bruce Bradley have provided a viable alternative scenario. I am not a trained professional, but I have been reading the archeological literature for thirty-five years. Their argument is logical and should be given an open-minded hearing.” —Jean M. Auel, author of The Land of Painted Caves and The Clan of the Cave Bear

“This carefully crafted, well-researched book aims to change our thinking of who the first Americans were and where they came from. Stanford and Bradley have produced an ambitious, interdisciplinary study of a neglected route of early entry into the Americas that will affect the way the larger narrative of the first chapter of human history in the New World is written.” —Tom D. Dillehay, author of The Settlement of the Americas: A New Prehistory

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Customer Reviews

I'll be back to let you know how much I loved the book.
Jaye Lewis
The challenge in this book, well met, it to help us (me) understand why styles of tool building are strong evidence of culture.
Brian Button
Would recommend this book to anyone interested in Clovis origins.
Thomas R. Green

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 149 people found the following review helpful By Richard White on February 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.
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73 of 78 people found the following review helpful By A. Foulks on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By James B. Bryant on March 7, 2012
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.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Bull on February 4, 2013
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.
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