David Meltzer is Professor of Prehistory at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, an archeologist who has conducted research throughout North America, and the author of over 200 scientific studies, and 10 books, including First Peoples In A New World.
His primary interest is the first peopling of the continent — a subject that, for whatever reason, has always captivated us. It’s not just the idea of Asiatic people venturing across Beringia and into an unpeopled world, which is interesting enough on its own, but it’s the world they entered into — an ice age landscape full of now extinct animals, like elephantine mammoths, deadly saber tooth cats, giant short faced bears, enormous ground sloths, and gargantuan primitive bison.
But what do we really know about these so called “paleo-indian” peoples and their migration here? And what role, if any, might they have played in the extinction of so much of the ice age megafauna they encountered — and in many cases, hunted?
Today we’ll get the big picture overview of what we know about the first peopling of North and South America and what the world was like just 15,000 years ago. It might sound like a long time, but in the scheme of human history, it’s really quite recent. So recent in fact, that conversations like this leave us feeling like that world is almost within reach. It’s exciting and energizing to imagine that world, in all its contrast to the modern one we find ourselves in today.
And while we’re now safer, more affluent, and less inclined to be eaten, there’s a feeling we can’t shake that there was also something essential about that time that’s now missing. Perhaps that’s naive nostalgia talking, but we're gonna indulge it, just for today.
View full show notes, including links to resources from this episode here: https://www.wild-fed.com/podcast/109
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