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Bluefish Caves
Bluefish Caves
Bluefish Caves
Location in Canada
Location near the Vuntut Gwichin community, Old Crow
Region Yukon, Canada
Coordinates 67°09′N 140°35′W / 67.150°N 140.583°W / 67.150; -140.583
History
Founded 24,000 BP

Bluefish Caves is an archaeological site in Yukon, Canada, located 54 km (34 mi) southwest of the Vuntut Gwichin community of Old Crow, from which a human-worked jaw bone of a Yukon horse has been radiocarbon dated to 24,000 years before present (BP), earlier than the generally accepted age for habitation of the New World. There are 3 small caves in the area.

Context

Bluefish Cave was initially known to the local First Nations, but was popularized by a fishing expedition in 1976, and later by researchers. This site is made up of three small caves, ranging from 10 to 30 m3 (350 to 1,060 cu ft). The first cave contains various animal bones that appear to have been dragged there by predators, but findings of tool marks and some tools themselves point to a human presence.

The Old Crow Flats, another important area with early human presence, are located about 75 km northeast of the Bluefish Caves.

Dating

The site was excavated by archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars between 1977–87, and the initial radiocarbon dating suggested an age of 24,000 before present (BP). This was considered controversial as it was in contrast to the Clovis-First theory, widely accepted by academics at the time, which considered the earliest settlement date of North America to be around 13,000 BP. A review of the site in 2017 found it to be 24,000 years old, lending support to the "Beringian standstill" hypothesis — that the ancestors of Native Americans spent considerable time isolated in a Beringian refuge during the Last Glacial Maximum before populating the Americas.

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