Bluefish Caves is an archaeological site in Yukon, Canada, located 54 kilometres (34 mi) southwest of the Vuntut Gwichin community of Old Crow, from which a specimen of allegedly human-worked mammoth bone has been radiocarbon dated to 28,000 years before present (y.b.p.).
Bluefish Cave was initially known to the local First Nations, but was popularized by a fishing expedition in 1976, and later by researchers. The initial find of a mammoth bone spear point was made by archaeologist Jacques Cinq-Mars in 1978–79, but not radiocarbon dated and published until the early 1990s due to lack of funding. As the Clovis-First theory is revered by the archeological establishment, the research of Cinq-Mars that suggests a date of 28,000 y.b.p. was largely ignored, and he was unable to obtain funding for follow-up research until 2008. Findings at a site in Chile dated human existence there back to 12,500 years ago. With the Chile site findings being decreed valid by prominent archeologists, it gave renewed interest and possible validity in the Bluefish Cave sites.
Recently another team has discovered allegedly human-worked mammoth bone flakes in the Bluefish Caves area, radiocarbon dated to an even earlier period of 40,000 y.b.p.
Despite a growing acceptance in the scientific community of sites dated somewhat earlier than Clovis, such as Monte Verde in Chile at 14,500 y.b.p, evidence such as that from the Bluefish Caves area or the Topper site in South Carolina indicating much more ancient dates remains controversial and unaccepted by mainstream archaeology.
Three caves make up the site. The first cave contain various animal bones that appeared to have been dragged there by predators, but findings of tool marks and some tools themselves point to a human presence.
The Bluefish Caves in Beringian Prehistory by Jacques Cinq-Mars, Archaeological Survey of Canada
- Bluefish caves (Yukon, Canada) by George Weber