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Local Arrowheads Poke Holes in History of Man in the Americas

Some of the artifacts discovered at the Buttermilk Creek site.
Image Courtesy of Texas A&M University and Michael R. Waters
Some of the artifacts discovered at the Buttermilk Creek site.

It's a find that gives new meaning to the expression, "I'm not from Texas, but I got here as fast as I could."

Researchers have discovered artifacts that could push back the arrival of man in the Lone Star State by over 2,000 years.  The arrowheads, from the Buttermilk Creek excavation site 40 miles north of Austin, are different from the type associated with the Clovis people, once thought to be Texas' earliest human inhabitants.

According to the Texas A&M team that lead the excavation, the arrowheads serve as proof that man arrived in Texas up to 15,500 years ago.  Archeologists had long put that arrival closer to 13,000 years.

But the discovery does more than just push back the time of human colonization of the new world, says to this reportfrom the New York Times:

Archaeologists said this lent credence to a fairly new idea in the speculative mix: perhaps the people came to the then really new New World by a coastal route, trooping along the shore and sometimes hugging land in small boats. This might account for the relatively swift movement of the migrants all the way to Peru and Chile.

And why would Central Texas play home to such a treasure trove of artifacts?

Michael Waters, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M, told NPRthat the region was an ideal place for some newcomers to stop their travels.

You can go north to the Blackland Prairie, you can stay in the Edwards Plateau, you can go south and head out into the Gulf Coastal Plain, and there you have various animal and plant resources at your fingertips.

You can read the A&M team's full report in the journal Science, here.

Mose Buchele focuses on energy and environmental reporting at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mosebuchele.