Segments in this Video

Eva: The First American (02:39)


Over 13,000 years ago, a woman is buried by her clan in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Her bones are the oldest remains found in the Americas.

Ice Age: Yucatan Peninsula (02:07)

Human bones found under water indicate they were left when caves were dry. Gonzalez has recovered eight skeletons at one site in North America. Eva is the oldest.

Ritual Burial in North America (03:17)

Radiocarbon-dating reveals Eva died over 13,000 years ago. Gonzales simulates ancient shaman communication using psychotropic drugs.

Southern Route to North America (03:11)

Eva was in the Yucatan centuries before anyone was thought to be in North America. Evidence in Alberta, Canada shows an alternate passageway.

Clovis People (04:14)

Evidence that mammoths were hunted by early Americans was discovered in the 1930s in the southwest U.S. Metin Erin heads an excavation in the Ozarks.

Early Hunters in North America (03:44)

Hear from Apache Indian and survival expert Bob Stevens. Evidence puts Eva in the area hundreds of years before the Clovis people.

Sporormiella (02:22)

Jacquelyn Gill explains how fungal spores found in dung prove that people arrived in North America 13,500 years ago, before Clovis people.

Centuries Before Clovis People (02:25)

A CT scan of a mastodon rib bone discovered on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington reveals a basic spearhead. This animal was killed by humans 13,800 years ago.

Coastal Route (03:06)

John Erlandson thinks the first Americans came by boat 16,000 years ago when the Pacific Northwest was ice free. Traveling the kelp highway would have been faster and easier than land.

Kennewick Man: Early Coastal Migrant (02:58)

People traveling the coastal route would have explored rivers and colonized North America. One of the most complete prehistoric skeletons is kept in the Burke Museum.

Reburial Ceremony (01:33)

Native Americans have a federal right of return on ancient remains if they can prove an ancestral link. Kennewick Man has not been repatriated. His bones were studied by Doug Owsley.

Definitive Examination Summary (02:58)

Forensic anthropologist Doug Owsley describes what he found by studying Kennewick Man's bones.

Isotope Signal Revelation (03:15)

Owsley's analysis of Kennewick Man's bones shows that he ate marine mammals. He did not go inland until later in life. Native Americans believe he was one of them.

No Link to Modern Native Americans (03:40)

Federal authorities covered the grave site of Kennewick Man to prevent further excavations. Tribal groups claim he is their ancestor. Inu are traditional hunter gatherers.

Ancient Genomics (03:57)

Eske Willerslev has extracted usable DNA from Kennewick Man's bones. He shows Minthorn the process. They end with a prayer.

Results for the Ancient One (03:06)

The DNA of Kennewick Man is more closely related to modern Native Americans than any other people. Eva and Clovis people are from the same gene pool.

Explorer Genes (03:33)

John Hawks believes that human responsiveness to changes in lifestyle is responsible for changing skull shapes.

Credits: First Peoples: Americas (00:36)

Credits: First Peoples: Americas

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Episode 1: Americas (First Peoples)

Part of the Series : First Peoples
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



As early humans spread out across the world, their toughest challenge was colonizing the Americas — because a huge ice sheet blocked the route. It has long been thought that the pioneers, known as Clovis people, arrived about 13,000 years ago, but an underwater discovery in Mexico suggests people arrived earlier than previously thought — and by boat, not on foot. How closely related were these First Americans to today’s Native Americans? It’s a controversial matter, focused on Kennewick Man. Few other skeletons engender such strong feelings.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL129844

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

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