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NOVA; Mystery Of The First Americans


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Mystery Of The First Americans
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Series Description

Premiered March 1974 NOVA is a general-interest documentary series that addresses a single science issue each week. Billed as "science adventures for curious grown-ups" when it first aired in March, 1974, NOVA continues to offer an informative and entertaining approach to a challenging subject. 1996 marked NOVA's 23rd season, which makes it the longest-running science program on national television. It is also one of television's most acclaimed series, having won every major television award, most of them many times over. Series release date: 3/3/1974

Program Description

In 1996, near Kennewick, Washington, a suspected murder victim was identified by forensic anthropologists as Caucasian -- but turned out to be almost 10,000 years old. For 50 years our picture of prehistoric America has rested on the premise that the earliest inhabitants of the Americas were east Asians of mongoloid stock, the ancestors of today's Native Americans. But the discovery of the Kennewick Man, along with several other startling finds in recent years, has thrown that once widely accepted idea into question and revolutionized the science of paleo-anthropology. It has also embroiled scientists in a bitter conflict with Native American groups who want the scientific study of early Americans halted. Who and what do Kennewick Man and others represent? NOVA is following the efforts of paleo- anthropologists working to decode the story in the bones of people who died 10,000 years ago.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Chicago: “NOVA; Mystery Of The First Americans,” 01/20/2000, GBH Archives, accessed December 7, 2023,
MLA: “NOVA; Mystery Of The First Americans.” 01/20/2000. GBH Archives. Web. December 7, 2023. <>.
APA: NOVA; Mystery Of The First Americans. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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