Skip to main content

An Idiot's Guide to the American Upper Paleolithic

Presented by Dr. D. Clark Wernecke

  • Executive Director of The Gault School of Archaeological Research
  • Project Director for the Prehistory Research Project at the University of Texas at Austin

More about the lecture

We are excited to welcome back special guest Dr. Clark Wernecke for another enlightening discussion on the peopling of the Americas! This time, you will learn more about some of the Paleolithic sites that have challenged the timing for the first migrations into the Americas.
Over the years, a number of researchers have publicly doubted the mainstream idea that the Clovis culture represented the first peoples in the New World. Excavations at Monte Verde, Chile in the 1970’s changed the nature and tenor of these arguments. For the first time. a large number of archaeologists agreed that a site showed definitive evidence of human occupation in the Western Hemisphere prior to Clovis. As more evidence surfaced and older sites were reexamined, scholars were forced to revise the story of the peopling of the Americas. Paradigm shifts are messy and there are still just as many questions as answers, but its clear that scholars need to test new hypotheses.
In this talk, Dr. Wernecke will review the history of Paleoindian archaeology and the evidence that debunks the “Clovis First” theory, and examine how this evidence is shifting the paradigm on how scholars perceive the early migrations into the Americas. Don’t miss this special presentation!

About the presenter

Clark Wernecke is the Project Director for the Prehistory Research Project at the University of Texas at Austin and Executive Director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research, a nonprofit dedicated to research and education regarding the earliest peoples in the Americas.
Dr. Wernecke started his academic career with a degree in history from SMU followed by an MBA from Northwestern University, an M.A. in Anthropology from Florida Atlantic, and finally his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. He came back to archaeology after a career in business and has worked in the Middle East, Mesoamerica, the American Southeast and Southwest, and Texas. Dr. Wernecke’s primary specialty is that of archaeological project management, but he has also written extensively on architecture and Paleoindian art.
✨ Watch Dr. Wernecke’s previous virtual lecture on our YouTube channel.

Free For Everyone

Our virtual lectures are a part of our Outreach and Education efforts. They are free to our Members and the General Public.  Recorded lectures are posted on YouTube and on the event page after the event occurs.

For questions about the event or how to register, please contact Susan Bowdoin ( or Sarah Webber (

This lecture series is sponsored by The Archaeological Conservancy and is made possible in part with grant support from the New Mexico Humanities Council.

*Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this (publication/program) do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Mexico Humanities Council.