New artifacts suggest people arrived in North America earlier than previously thought Date: August 30, 2019 Source: Oregon State University Summary: Stone tools and other artifacts unearthed from an archeological dig at the Cooper's Ferry site in western Idaho suggest that people lived in the area 16,000 years ago, more than a thousand years earlier than scientists previously thought. " Stone tools and other artifacts unearthed from an archeological dig at the Cooper's Ferry site in western Idaho suggest that people lived in the area 16,000 years ago, more than a thousand years earlier than scientists previously thought. The artifacts would be considered among the earliest evidence of people in North America. The findings, published today in Science, add weight to the hypothesis that initial human migration to the Americas followed a Pacific coastal route rather than through the opening of an inland ice-free corridor, said Loren Davis, a professor of anthropology at Oregon State University and the study's lead author. "The Cooper's Ferry site is located along the Salmon River, which is a tributary of the larger Columbia River basin. Early peoples moving south along the Pacific coast would have encountered the Columbia River as the first place below the glaciers where they could easily walk and paddle in to North America," Davis said. "Essentially, the Columbia River corridor was the first off-ramp of a Pacific coast migration route. "The timing and position of the Cooper's Ferry site is consistent with and most easily explained as the result of an early Pacific coastal migration." " Continues at site.