Dating ancient remains called

Over a century ago archaeologists from the Smithsonian Institute found enigmatic cemeteries filled with beehive-shaped stone tombs in Caldwell County, North Carolina, Sullivan County, Tennessee and Licking County, Ohio.Curiously, although broken pottery was found at these locations, human remains were not.For more than 20 years anthropologists have debated whether the first Americans arrived in the New World by walking over a land bridge across the Bering Strait, as millions of schoolchildren have been taught, or by sea from southwest Europe, perhaps in animal-skin kayaks.A new analysis challenges the out-of-Europe hypothesis, which has figured in a political debate over the rights of present-day Native American tribes.The enormous monolithic lintel of the doorway weighs 120 tons and is 29.5 feet (9 meters) long, 16.5 feet (5 meters) deep, and 3 feet (0.9 meter) high.It is surmounted by a relieving triangle decorated with relief plaques.

Today's Native Americans are "direct descendants of the people who made and used Clovis tools and buried this child," the scientists wrote.

The idea that the first Americans arrived millennia earlier than long thought and from someplace other than Beringia - which spans easternmost Russia and western Alaska - has poisoned relationships between many Native Americans and anthropologists.

Some tribes fear that the theory that the continent's first arrivals originated in Europe might cast doubt on their origin stories and claims to ancient remains on ancestral lands.

"In fact, there is genetic evidence that only the Solutrean hypothesis explains."The partial skeleton of the 1-year-old boy, called Anzick-1, was discovered when a front-end loader hit it while scooping out fill in 1968.

The grave and its environs contained 125 artifacts including stone spear points and elk antlers centuries older than the bones, said anthropologist Michael Waters of Texas A&M University's Center for the Study of the First Americans, a co-author of the Nature study.

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