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Guest lecturer explores the origins of human life in America

Archaeology Speaker
Dr. Ashley Smallwood

On April 4, the University of North Georgia will host Dr. Ashley Smallwood, director of the Antonio J. Waring, Jr. Archaeological Laboratory at the University of West Georgia. Dr. Smallwood will present her lecture, “How Did People Get to America?” at 7 p.m. in Young Hall room 202 on the Dahlonega Campus.

Dr. Smallwood's talk will explore the origins of the indigenous civilizations of the Americas through an archeological study of southeastern Paleoindians. Traditional science teaches that humans must have come to America via a land bridge spanning the Bering Strait. Afterward, these early Americans would have dispersed southward from Alaska. However, more recent discoveries have given rise to two alternative theories.

Some findings suggest that the first Americans may have arrived by boat, traveling along the coasts from Russia or China and eventually landing in Chile. A third theory suggests that the first humans may have arrived in America during the last ice age, 15,000 to 20,000 years ago. Supporters of this theory believe the first Americans may have come from the French coast, paddling along the Atlantic ice sheets to reach New England.

Could the first Americans have been Russian, Chinese, or even French? Dr. Smallwood will explore all of these theories during her talk, which is free and open to students, faculty, staff, and the public. Dr. Smallwood’s visit is jointly sponsored by the UNG Department of History, Anthropology and Philosophy and the Blue Ridge Archaeology Guild.

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