Saturday January 27, 2023 1:00 PM Hybrid Lecture Denver Public Library Eugene Field Branch & Zoom

Beringia and the Peopling of the Americas

Dr. John Hoffecker, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder

Cost: 10$


During the coldest intervals of the Ice Age, sea level fell by hundreds of feet, exposing large areas of continental shelf and creating a land bridge between Asia and North America. This land bridge, which was defined as “Beringia” during the 1930s, played a critical role in the peopling of the Americas, but one that is vociferously debated among archaeologists. A widely held view is that the First Peoples of the Americas were unable to cross Beringia until climates warmed at the end of the Ice Age. An alternative model is that people were living in Beringia many thousands of years before the end of the Ice Age, but access to most of the Western Hemisphere was blocked by massive ice sheets in Canada until after 15,000 years ago. New archaeological discoveries and recent research in biological anthropology have significantly altered our understanding of the role of Beringia in the peopling of the Americas during the past five years.


Dr Hoffecker is an emeritus fellow in the research faculty at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado Boulder. He earned his PhD at the University of Chicago with a focus on Paleolithic archaeology of Russia and Ukraine. His research has included work on the spread of modern humans in Europe and shedding light on the archaeological and anthropological debates surrounding Beringia and the dispersal of humans in the Americas.His research is further explored in his recent book, Modern Humans: Their African Origin and Global Dispersal, and a series of papers on Beringia.

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