To date, no consistent pre-Clovis cultural patterns have been established; the accuracy of these claims has been disputed, though that dispute is tipping in favor of the pre-Clovis occupation of the New World.In 2004, Albert Goodyear of the University of South Carolina announced that carbonized plant remains, found as a dark stain in the light soil at the lowest excavated level at the Topper Site, had been radiocarbon dated to approximately 50,000 years ago, or approximately 37,000 years before the Clovis people.
Other archaeologists also have challenged the radiocarbon dating of the carbonized remains at Topper, arguing that 1) the stain represented the result of a natural fire, and 2) 50,000 years is the theoretical upper limit of effective radiocarbon dating, meaning that the stratum is radiocarbon dead, rather than dating to that time period.
Goodyear discovered the objects by digging 4 meters deeper than the Clovis artifacts readily found at the site.
Before discovering the oldest lithics, he had discovered other objects which he claimed were tools dating around 16,000 years old, or about 3,000 years before Clovis.
This assertion of 3,000 years is a much more likely and plausible number than the upper limit of radiocarbon dating.
Topper is an archaeological site located along the Savannah River in Allendale County, South Carolina, United States.