PHOENIX -- An amateur archaeologist said he has made a discovery that could change the theory of how America was first settled, but the tough part may be getting someone to listen.
Ken Stanton can hardly control his enthusiasm as he shows off a site in north-central Phoenix that he says contains some ancient artifacts.
“You can see them all through here, that's an artifact there,” said Stanton, as he point them out.
And while to most people it may look like a pile of rocks, Stanton said this site could change everything we think about how the Americas were settled.
“This would be the first Acheulean stone tools, proof of it in the Americas period," Stanton said.
Acheulean tools are stone tools that date anywhere from 150,000 to 1.4 million years ago.
Stanton explains the name comes from where they were first identified.
”It has to do with [Saint] Acheu, France where they first found the hand axes," Stanton remarked.
When you examine pictures of those tools, they bear a striking resemblance to quartz artifacts Stanton found in the Valley.
“This one here alone you can see the sediment still stuck on it, but you can still see the deticulated edge. Deticulated means like teeth, all the way down the edge,” Stanton said. “And you can see the flake scarring coming all the ways down the sides.“
That style of tool, dating more than 100,000 years old, would be much older than previous finds in
America, which estimate man's arrival here at closer to 11,500 years ago.
Stanton says the so called Clovis First Theory has kept local archeologists from listening to him.
“They told me that I sound like all of the other whackos out there, and yeah we'll see your name up there in lights. They won't take any time," he explained.
But not everyone feels like that. Boston University professor Curtis Runnels has seen photos of the artifacts and told 3TV they are worth more investigation.
“He sent me these photographs of these stone tools that are strikingly like the ones I am familiar with that came out of my own research on the island of Crete," said Runnels.
And while he is not an expert on Southwest archeology, Runnels said Stanton's finds are not without precedence.
”There are some materials that are similar to those from Phoenix that Mr. Stanton has found have come from sites in southern California, still undated but clearly older than Clovis," Runnels added.
Runnels is not surprised archeologists are skeptical, because theories about earlier settlements in America are still relatively new. Stanton believes that is why no one has really noticed these sites before.
“You are never going to find something that you are not looking for,” Stanton said. "And if you believe it doesn't exist, you are not looking for it, you are not going to find it.”
But now Stanton has found them. Both he and professor Runnels hope someone will be willing to give this pile of rocks, and theories about American history, another look.
“I want to open up an archaeological research foundation for early man in the Americas,” said Stanton.
“I think it deserves very careful scrutiny. And I hope someone will follow up," Runnels added.
There are several new theories about how the Americas were settled, which would add strength to Stanton's case. He would like to start his own research foundation to continue the work.
To contact Mr. Stanton firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information on his finds http://archaeologynewfinds.blogspot.com/