Transport around 16,000 BC

The Globe




Southwest Asia




Indus Valley






South America



On the other side of the world, in ancient Mexico, figurines of dogs have been found dating from about 8,000 years ago; fossilized dog remains have been discovered in several excavations; and, in a fascinating and intriguing combination, artifacts have been found in Mesoamerican burial sites that depict dogs on wheeled objects. These are either full-bodied dog figures mounted on four disk wheels attached to wooden axles or dogs whose bodies become sleds of sorts. The mystery of these objects stems from the belief that the ancient civilizations of the Americas did not have knowledge of the wheel. At one time it was thought that these dogs-on-wheels were children's toys, but scholars have since realized that their inclusion in burial sites marks a more serious significance. To ancient Mesoamericans the wheel symbolized the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Like gold, neither it nor representations of it were used for utilitarian purposes. The dog also had symbolic significance. In Mexico it was a symbol of the night sun, making the dog a valuable companion to the deceased, who, according to Mexican cosmology, had to journey into the nine underworlds in the afterlife. Though the origin of "man's best friend" is steeped in mystery, it seems fitting that in ancient times he was revered for accompanying and guiding humans in the hereafter. (The Genesis Race)

North America

An even more contentious aspect of peopling the Americas relates to tracing the origins of the technology that produced the Clovis points and their successors. The distinctive, beautifully crafted, bifacial fluted flint spearheads are clearly a feature of the people who moved into North America. There is, however, virtually no evidence of similar artefacts in Siberia. By way of contrast, an almost identical form of technology existed in southwestern France between 21 and 17 kya, associated with the people known as Solutreans. This coincidence has led a proposal that maybe these people, fleeing from the full rigours of the LGM, somehow crossed the Atlantic and became among the earliest settlers in North America. (Climate Change in Prehistory)