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May 2003 — Archaeologists continue to excavate pre-Clovis artifacts above the terrace, as well as new, significant Clovis finds.
May 2004 — Using backhoe and hand excavations, Goodyear and his team dig deeper, down into the Pleistocene terrace, some 4 meters below the ground surface.
The absolute age is not known." The revelation of an even older date for Topper is expected to heighten speculation about when man got to the Western Hemisphere and add to the debate over other pre-Clovis sites in the Eastern United States such as Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Pa., and Cactus Hill, Va.
In October 2005, archaeologists will meet in Columbia for a conference on Clovis and the study of earliest Americans.
"Three radiocarbon dates were obtained from deep in the terrace at Topper with two dates of 50,300 and 51,700 on burnt plant remains."Topper is the oldest radiocarbon dated site in North America," Goodyear says."However, other early sites in Brazil and Chile, as well as a site in Oklahoma also suggest that humans were in the Western Hemisphere as early as 30,000 years ago to perhaps 60,000." In 1998, Goodyear, nationally known for his research on the ice age Paleo Indian cultures dug below the 13,000-year Clovis level at the Topper site and found unusual stone tools up to a meter deeper.The Topper excavation site is on the bank of the Savannah River on property owned by Clariant Corp., a chemical corporation headquartered near Basel, Switzerland.
He recovered numerous stone tool artifacts in soils that were later dated by an outside team of geologists to be 16,000 years old.The findings are significant because they suggest that humans inhabited North America well before the last ice age more than 20,000 years ago, a potentially explosive revelation in American archaeology.