3500 YEARS BEFORE CLOVIS people left their distinctive artifacts, there were intrepid explorers who made it into the Americas. A trove of artifacts recently unearthed in NW Idaho indicate that people arrived there about 16,500 years ago, long before the ice-free corridor opened. The artifacts feature stemmed points very similar to points found in Hokkaido, Japan that date to 16,000 years ago. The Idaho artifacts are the OLDEST THUS FAR FOUND IN NORTH AMERICA, and they add some weight to the idea that the first Americans used the coastal “Kelp Highway” to get past the huge glacial accumulations south of Beringia.
It also makes it likely that these people suffered mightily from the periodic floods that happened when Lake Missoula breached her ice dam. A massive flood occurred about 15,000 years ago, and an even bigger flood, one of the largest in the history of the world, happened about 13,000 years ago (see my May 11 post). Some researchers estimate that there have been as many as 400 floods in the area over time. This may be why floods are such an important part of the folklore of many Native American cultures.