Contributions of Radiocarbon Dating to the Geochronology of the Peopling of the New World

  • C. Vance HaynesJr.


Before radiocarbon dating, early man sites were dated geologically, either by association of artifacts with remains of extinct animals or with geologic deposits that could be related to glacial events (Oakley 1964: 51–57). This primitive geochronology began in the first half of the 19th century with the recognition by Boucher de Perthes of handaxes in terrace deposits of the Somme River near Abbeville in northern France. This was during the formative years of geology and Darwinian evolution, so he can be excused for attributing the terrace deposits to the biblical flood, thus dating the handaxes as antediluvial. It was English geologist, Hugh Falconer, who in 1858 correctly read the terraces as derived from glacial-age rivers, thus assigning the Abbevillean artifacts to the Pleistocene Epoch (Macgowan & Hester 1962: 63–64).


Humic Acid Radiocarbon Date Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Terrace Deposit American Archaeology 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

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  • C. Vance HaynesJr.

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