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Beyond Monte Verde A review of current pre-Clovis candidates "Beyond Clovis," review of E.WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A chicken bone found in Chile provides solid evidence to settle a debate over whether Polynesians traveling on rafts visited South America thousands of years ago -- or vice versa, researchers said on Monday.Dillehay and his colleagues have set the standards to be expected when documenting a site which purports to chronicle early settlement.Not only have they left no stone unturned to document their findings; they have published them in full with commendable promptness and carried out both field and laboratory research with a thoughtful, long-term perspective." Before the volume appeared Fagan had been skeptical of Monte Verde's antiquity, it was, he said, "so unexpected that some archaeologists, this reviewer among them, wondered if the site really was an undisturbed cultural layer. Dillehay has proved Monte Verde is a settlement, probably at the threshold of colonization of the Americas." If Fiedel is correct and the site is thrown into doubt as pre-Clovis, where does that leave us?Until 1997 no site was widely accepted as pre-dating the Clovis culture (11,000 to 11,500 radiocarbon years before present).That year, a blue-ribbon commission of Paleoindian specialists visited Monte Verde, a site in Chile with dates averaging 12,500, and declared it to be valid.
Excavation at wet sites is slow and tedious, often requiring immediate chemical treatment of such perishable remains as wooden tools, cordage, and other organic remains.
Obviously, once the cordage was contaminated by chemicals, it could not be dated by radiocarbon means.
The answers to this and many other questions raised by Fiedel are in volume two of the site report." (See Dillehay  for additional comments.) Brian Fagan, then a contributing editor to ARCHAEOLOGY, reviewed volume 2 of the Monte Verde monograph in glowing terms, saying it "does far more than record and authenticate an archaeological site of international significance.
According to Stuart Fiedel (1999), an archaeologist with John Milner Associates, close scrutiny of the various reports on Monte Verde--especially the 1,100-page final monograph--raises "troubling doubts." Ambiguities, inconsistences, and missing information, he says, make it impossible to demonstrate that artifacts at the site are associated with the plant and animal remains that were dated.
Monte Verde, he concludes, is not proof that people were in South America before the advent of Clovis (11,500).Additional early sites include Taima-Taima, Pedra Pintada, Santa Barbara in the Channel Islands, Quebrada Tacahuay, and Quebrada Jaguay.