By K. Kris Hirst
The Time Team at Topper
Most of the excavation action by the Time Team America crew takes place in the sandy deposits of the Clovis site, including an attempt by team geophysicist Meg Watters to identify the Clovis deposit in unexcavated areas by using ground penetrating radar, which does eventually seem to be successful.
The program does a nice job of explaining the several ongoing current issues in Clovis and preclovis archaeology, including the "black mat theory" (aka "extraterrestrial impact theory") of how Clovis may have been ended by a cometary explosion over the Canadian ice shield (described by theory proponent Allen West) and three of the four prevailing theories about how the peopling of North America may have occurred (described by Time Team archaeologist Adrien Hannus). I'd have preferred that they spend more time on the more-likely theory of Pacific coastal migration and less time on the less-likely Solutrean connection; but that's just me.
Topper, South Carolina
The Topper site controversy:
New Evidence Puts Man In North America 50,000 Years Ago
"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.
Once again, the show didn't live up to the initial hype. The Time Team didn't uncover any evidence proving humans were at Topper before the Clovis era. The only conclusion offered was a weak "It's possible" and "We need to keep digging."
For more on the subject, see Fremont Indians in Time Team America and Fort Raleigh in Time Team America.
Below: "A 13,000 year old Clovis point found in the Time Team trench." (Photo: Meg Gaillard)