Clovis culture

The Clovis culture is a prehistoric Paleo-Indian culture, named for distinct stone tools found in close association with Pleistocene fauna at Blackwater Locality No. 1 near Clovis, New Mexico, in the 1920s and 1930s. It appears around 11,500–11,000 uncalibrated radiocarbon years before present[1] at the end of the last glacial period, and is characterized by the manufacture of "Clovis points" and distinctive bone and ivory tools. Archaeologists' most precise determinations at present suggest this radiocarbon age is equal to roughly 13,200 to 12,900 calendar years ago. Clovis people are considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas.[2][3][4]

The only human burial that has been directly associated with tools from the Clovis culture included the remains of an infant boy researchers named Anzick-1.[5][6] Paleogenetic analyses of Anzick-1's ancient nuclear, mitochondrial, and Y-chromosome DNA [7] reveal that Anzick-1 is closely related to modern Native American populations, which lends support to the Beringia hypothesis for the settlement of the Americas.[8]

The Clovis culture was replaced by several more localized regional societies from the Younger Dryas cold-climate period onward. Post-Clovis cultures include the Folsom tradition, Gainey, Suwannee-Simpson, Plainview-Goshen, Cumberland, and Redstone. Each of these is thought to derive directly from Clovis, in some cases apparently differing only in the length of the fluting on their projectile points. Although this is generally held to be the result of normal cultural change through time,[9] numerous other reasons have been suggested as driving forces to explain changes in the archaeological record, such as the Younger Dryas postglacial climate change which exhibited numerous faunal extinctions.

After the discovery of several Clovis sites in eastern North America in the 1930s, the Clovis people came to be regarded as the first human inhabitants who created a widespread culture in the New World. However, this theory has been challenged, in the opinion of many archaeologists, by several archaeological discoveries, including sites such as Cactus Hill in Virginia, Paisley Caves in the Summer Lake Basin of Oregon, the Topper site in Allendale County, South Carolina, Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, the Friedkin[10] site in Texas, Cueva Fell in Chile, and especially, Monte Verde, also in Chile.[11] The oldest claimed human archaeological site in the Americas is the Pedra Furada hearths, a site in Brazil that precedes the Clovis culture and the other sites already mentioned by 19,000 to 30,000 years. This claim has become an issue of contention between North American archaeologists and their South American and European counterparts, who disagree on whether it is conclusively proven to be an older human site.[12][13][14]

Clovis Point
A Clovis projectile point created using bifacial percussion flaking (that is, each face is flaked on both edges alternately with a percussor)

Description

Clovis Rummells Maske
Clovis points from the Rummells-Maske Cache Site, Iowa

A hallmark of the toolkit associated with the Clovis culture is the distinctively shaped, fluted-stone spear point, known as the Clovis point. The Clovis point is bifacial and typically fluted on both sides. Archaeologists do not agree on whether the widespread presence of these artifacts indicates the proliferation of a single people, or the adoption of a superior technology by diverse population groups.[15]

The culture is named after artifacts found between 1932 and 1936 at Blackwater Locality No. 1, an archaeological site between the towns of Clovis and Portales, New Mexico. These finds were deemed especially important due to their direct association with mammoth species and the extinct Bison antiquus. The in situ finds of 1936 and 1937 included most of four stone Clovis points, two long bone points with impact damage, stone blades, a portion of a Clovis blade core, and several cutting tools made on stone flakes.[15] Clovis sites have since been identified throughout much of the contiguous United States, as well as Mexico and Central America, and even into northern South America.[16]

Clovis people are generally accepted to have hunted mammoths, as well as extinct bison, mastodon, gomphotheres, sloths, tapir, camelops, horse, and other smaller animals. More than 125 species of plants and animals are known to have been used by Clovis people in the portion of the Western Hemisphere they inhabited.[17][18]

The oldest Clovis site in North America is believed to be El Fin del Mundo in northwestern Sonora, Mexico, discovered during a 2007 survey. It features occupation dating around 13,390 calibrated years BP.[19] In 2011, remains of gomphotheres were found; the evidence suggests that humans did, in fact, kill two of them there. Also, the Aubrey site in Denton County, Texas, produced an almost identical radiocarbon date.[20]

Disappearance of Clovis

The most commonly held perspective on the end of the Clovis culture is that a decline in the availability of megafauna, combined with an overall increase in a less mobile population, led to local differentiation of lithic and cultural traditions across the Americas.[9][21] After this time, Clovis-style fluted points were replaced by other fluted-point traditions (such as the Folsom culture) with an essentially uninterrupted sequence across North and Central America. An effectively continuous cultural adaptation proceeds from the Clovis period through the ensuing Middle and Late Paleoindian periods.[22]

Whether the Clovis culture drove the mammoth, and other species, to extinction via overhunting – the so-called Pleistocene overkill hypothesis – is still an open, and controversial, question.[23] It has also been hypothesized that the Clovis culture had its decline in the wake of the Younger Dryas cold phase.[24] This 'cold shock', lasting roughly 1500 years, affected many parts of the world, including North America. This appears to have been triggered by a vast amount of meltwater – possibly from Lake Agassiz – emptying into the North Atlantic, disrupting the thermohaline circulation.[25]

The Younger Dryas impact hypothesis, or Clovis comet hypothesis, originally proposed that a large air burst or earth impact of a comet or comets from outer space initiated the Younger Dryas cold period about 12,900 BP calibrated (10,900 14C uncalibrated) years ago.[26][27][28] The hypothesis has been largely contradicted by research showing that most of the findings cannot be repeated by other scientists, and criticized because of misinterpretation of data and the lack of confirmatory evidence.[29][30][31][32]

However, proponents of the hypothesis have responded, disputing the accusation of irreproducibility or replicating their findings.[33][34][35][36][37][38] In 2013, a group from Harvard reported finding a layer of increased platinum composition exactly at the Younger Dryas onset in a Greenland ice core, followed in 2017 by a report that the Pt spike had been replicated at 11 continental Younger Dryas sites.[39][40]

Discovery

A cowboy and former slave, George McJunkin, found an ancient bison (Bison antiquus, an extinct relative of the American bison) skeleton in 1908 after a flash flood.[41] The site was first excavated in 1926, near Folsom, New Mexico, under the direction of Harold Cook and Jesse Figgins. On August 29, 1927, they found the first in situ Folsom point with the extinct B. antiquus bones. This confirmation of a human presence in the Americas during the Pleistocene inspired many people to start looking for evidence of early humans.[42]

In 1929, 19-year-old Ridgely Whiteman, who had been closely following the excavations in nearby Folsom in the newspaper, discovered the Clovis site near the Blackwater Draw in eastern New Mexico. Despite several earlier Paleoindian discoveries, the best documented evidence of the Clovis complex was collected and excavated between 1932 and 1937 near Clovis, New Mexico, by a crew under the direction of Edgar Billings Howard until 1935 and later by John Cotter from the Academy of Natural Sciences/University of Pennsylvania. Howard's crew left their excavation in Burnet Cave, New Mexico, (the first truly professionally excavated Clovis site) in August, 1932, and visited Whiteman and his Blackwater Draw site. By November, Howard was back at Blackwater Draw to investigate additional finds from a construction project.[41]

The American Journal of Archaeology (January–March, 1932 V36 #1) in its "Archaeological Notes" mentions E. B. Howard's work in Burnet Cave, including the discovery of extinct fauna and a "Folsom type" point 4 ft below a Basketmaker burial. This brief mention of the Clovis point found in place antedates any work at the Dent Site in Colorado. Reference is made to a slightly earlier article on Burnet Cave in The University Museum Bulletin of November, 1931.

The first report of professional work at the Blackwater Draw Clovis site is in the November 25, 1932, issue of Science News. The publications on Burnet Cave and Blackwater Draw directly contradict statements by several authors (for example see Haynes 2002:56 The Early Settlement of North America) that Dent, Colorado was the first excavated Clovis site. The Dent Site, in Weld County, Colorado, was simply a fossil mammoth excavation in 1932. The first Dent Clovis point was found November 5, 1932, and the in situ point was found July 7, 1933. The in situ Clovis point from Burnet Cave was excavated in late August, 1931 (and reported early in 1932). E. B. Howard brought the Burnet Cave point to the 3rd Pecos Conference, September 1931, and showed it around to several archaeologists interested in early humans (see Woodbury 1983).

Also in 1968, in Montana, a Clovis burial site was found where the remains of a two-year-old child were studied. These remains have been named as Anzick-1 and recently, in 2014, have been used in scientific research.[7]

Clovis Paleo-Indians

Available genetic data show that the Clovis people are the direct ancestors of roughly 80% of all living Native American populations in North and South America, with the remainder descended from ancestors who entered in later waves of migration.[43][44] As reported in February 2014, DNA from the 12,600-year-old remains of Anzick boy, found in Montana, has affirmed this connection to the peoples of the Americas. In addition, this DNA analysis affirmed genetic connections back to ancestral peoples of northeast Asia. This adds weight to the theory that peoples migrated across a land bridge from Siberia to North America.[4]

Clovis First

Known as "Clovis First", the predominant hypothesis among archaeologists in the latter half of the 20th century had been that the people associated with the Clovis culture were the first inhabitants of the Americas. The primary support for this was that no solid evidence of pre-Clovis human habitation had been found. According to the standard accepted theory, the Clovis people crossed the Beringia land bridge over the Bering Strait from Siberia to Alaska during the period of lowered sea levels during the ice age, then made their way southward through an ice-free corridor east of the Rocky Mountains in present-day Western Canada as the glaciers retreated.[45]

This hypothesis came to be challenged by studies suggesting a pre-Clovis human occupation of the Americas.[46] In 2011, following the excavation of an occupation site at Buttermilk Creek, Texas, a prominent group of scientists claimed to have definitely established the existence "of an occupation older than Clovis."[47][48]

According to researchers Michael Waters and Thomas Stafford of Texas A&M University, new radiocarbon dates place Clovis remains from the continental United States in a shorter time window beginning 450 years later than the previously accepted threshold (13,200 to 12,900 BP).[2]

Recently, the scientific consensus has changed to acknowledge the presence of pre-Clovis cultures in the Americas, ending the "Clovis first" consensus.[49][50][51]

The results of a multiple-author study by Danish, Canadian, and American scientists published in Nature in February 2016 revealed that "the first Americans, whether Clovis or earlier groups in unglaciated North America before 12.6 cal. kyr BP", are "unlikely" to "have travelled to North America from Siberia via the Bering land bridge[52] "via a corridor that opened up between the melting ice sheets in what is now Alberta and B.C. about 13,000 years ago" as many anthropologists have argued for decades.[53] The lead author, Mikkel Pedersen – a PhD student from University of Copenhagen – explained, "The ice-free corridor was long considered the principal entry route for the first Americans ... Our results reveal that it simply opened up too late for that to have been possible."[53] The scientists argued that by 10,000 years ago, the ice-free corridor in what is now Alberta and B.C "was gradually taken over by a boreal forest dominated by spruce and pine trees" and that "Clovis people likely came from the south, not the north, perhaps following wild animals such as bison."[52][53]

Alternatives to Clovis First

Evidence of human habitation before Clovis

Archaeological sites that antedate Clovis that are well documented include:

Pre-clovis-sites-of-the-americas
Map of the Americas showing pre-Clovis sites

Predecessors of the Clovis people may have migrated south along the North American coastlines, although arguments exist for many migrations along several different routes.[77] Radiocarbon dating of the Monte Verde site in Chile places Clovis-like culture there as early as 18,500 to 14,500 years ago.[64] Remains found at the Channel Islands of California place coastal Paleoindians there 12,500 years ago. This suggests that the Paleoindian migration could have spread more quickly along the Pacific coastline, proceeding south, and that populations that settled along that route could have then begun migrations eastward into the continent.

The Pedra Furada sites in Brazil include a collection of rock shelters, which were used for thousands of years by diverse human populations. The first excavations yielded artifacts with carbon-14 dates of 48,000 to 32,000 years BP. Repeated analyses have confirmed this dating, carrying the range of dates up to 60,000 BP.[78] The best-analyzed archaeological levels are dated between 32,160 ± 1000 years BP and 17,000 ± 400 BP.

In 2004, worked stone tools were found at Topper in South Carolina that have been dated by radiocarbon techniques possibly to 50,000 years ago.[79] But, there is significant scholarly dispute regarding these dates.[80] Scholars agree that evidence of humans at the Topper Site date back to 22,900 cal yr BP.[81]

A more substantiated claim is that of Paisley Caves, Oregon, where rigorous carbon-14 and genetic testing appear to indicate that humans related to modern Native Americans were present in the caves over 1000 14C years before the earliest evidence of Clovis.[82] Traces and tools made by another people, the "Western Stemmed" tradition, were documented.[83]

A study published in Science presents strong evidence that humans occupied sites in Monte Verde, Chile, at the tip of South America, as early as 13,000 years ago.[84] If this is true, then humans must have entered North America long before the Clovis culture – perhaps 16,000 years ago.

The Tlapacoya site in Mexico is located along the base of a volcanic (remnant) hill on the shore of the former Lake Chalco. Seventeen excavations along the base of Tlapacoya Hill between 1956 and 1973 uncovered piles of disarticulated bones of bear and deer that appeared to have been butchered, plus 2,500 flakes and blades presumably from the butchering activities, plus one unfluted spear point. All were found in the same stratum containing three circular hearths filled with charcoal and ash. Bones of many other animal species were also present, including horses and migratory waterfowl. Two uncalibrated radiocarbon dates on carbon from the hearths came in around 24,000 and 22,000 years ago.[85] At another location, a prismatic microblade of obsidian was found in association with a tree trunk radiocarbon dated (uncalibrated) at roughly 24,000 years ago. This obsidian blade has recently been hydration dated by Joaquín García-Bárcena to 22,000 years ago. The hydration results were published in a seminal article that deals with the evidence for pre-Clovis habitation of Mexico.[86]

Coastal migration route

Studies of the mitochondrial DNA of First Nations/Native Americans published in 2007 suggest that the people of the New World may have diverged genetically from Siberians as early as 20,000 years ago, far earlier than the standard theory suggests.[46] According to one alternative theory, the Pacific coast of North America may have been free of ice, allowing the first peoples in North America to come down this route prior to the formation of the ice-free corridor in the continental interior.[87] No evidence has yet been found to support this hypothesis except that genetic analysis of coastal marine life indicates diverse fauna persisting in refugia throughout the Pleistocene ice ages along the coasts of Alaska and British Columbia; these refugia include common food sources of coastal aboriginal peoples, suggesting that a migration along the coastline was feasible at the time.[88] Some early sites on the coast, for example Namu, British Columbia, exhibit maritime focus on foods from an early point with substantial cultural continuity.[89]

In February 2014, researchers reported on their DNA analysis of the remains of Anzick boy (referred to as Anzick-1) of Montana, the oldest skeleton found in the Americas and dated to 12,600 years ago. They found the mtDNA to be D4h3a, "one of the rare lineages associated with Native Americans."[7] This was the same as the mtDNA associated with current coastal populations in North and South America. The study team suggest that finding this genetic evidence so far inland shows that "current distribution of genetic markers are not necessarily indicative of the movement or distribution of peoples in the past."[7] The Y haplotype was found to be Q-L54*(xM3). Further testing found that Anzick-1 was most closely related to Native American populations (see below).[7]

Solutrean hypothesis

The controversial Solutrean hypothesis proposed in 1999 by Smithsonian archaeologist Dennis Stanford and colleague Bruce Bradley (Stanford and Bradley 2002), suggests that the Clovis people could have inherited technology from the Solutrean people who lived in southern Europe 21,000–15,000 years ago, and who created the first Stone Age artwork in present-day southern France.[90] The link is suggested by the similarity in technology between the projectile points of the Solutreans and those found at Clovis (and pre-Clovis) sites. Its proponents point to tools found at various pre-Clovis sites in eastern North America (particularly in the Chesapeake Bay region) as progenitors of Clovis-style tools.[91] The model envisions these people making the crossing in small watercraft via the edge of the pack ice in the North Atlantic Ocean that then extended to the Atlantic coast of France, using skills similar to those of the modern Inuit people, making landfall somewhere around the then-exposed Grand Banks of the North American continental shelf.

In a 2008 study of the relevant paleoceanographic data, Kieran Westley and Justin Dix concluded that "it is clear from the paleoceanographic and paleo-environmental data that the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) North Atlantic does not fit the descriptions provided by the proponents of the Solutrean Atlantic Hypothesis. Although ice use and sea mammal hunting may have been important in other contexts, in this instance, the conditions militate against an ice-edge-following, maritime-adapted European population reaching the Americas."[92]

University of New Mexico anthropologist Lawrence G. Straus, a primary critic of the Solutrean hypothesis, points to the theoretical difficulty of the ocean crossing, a lack of Solutrean-specific features in pre-Clovis artifacts, as well as the lack of art (such as that found at Lascaux in France) among the Clovis people, as major deficiencies in the Solutrean hypothesis. The 3,000 to 5,000 radiocarbon year gap between the Solutrean period of France and Spain and the Clovis of the New World also makes such a connection problematic.[93] In response, Bradley and Stanford contend that it was "a very specific subset of the Solutrean who formed the parent group that adapted to a maritime environment and eventually made it across the north Atlantic ice-front to colonize the east coast of the Americas" and that this group may not have shared all Solutrean cultural traits.[94]

Genetic evidence of east/west dichotomy

Mitochondrial DNA analysis in 2014 has found that members of some native North American tribes have a maternal ancestry (called haplogroup X) linked to the maternal ancestors of some present-day individuals in western Asia and Europe, albeit distantly. This has also provided some support for pre-Clovis models. More specifically, a variant of mitochondrial DNA called X2a found in many Native Americans has been traced to western Eurasia, while not being found in eastern Eurasia.[95]

Mitochondrial DNA analysis of Anzick-1 concluded that the boy belonged to what is known as haplogroup or lineage D4h3a. This finding is important because the D4h3a line is considered to be a lineage "founder", belonging to the first people to reach the Americas. Although rare in most of today's Native Americans in the US and Canada, D4h3a genes are more common among native peoples of South America, far from the site in Montana where Anzick-1 was buried. This suggests a greater genetic complexity among Native Americans than previously thought, including an early divergence in the genetic lineage 13,000 years ago. One theory suggests that after crossing into North America from Siberia, a group of the first Americans, with the lineage D4h3a, moved south along the Pacific coast and, over thousands of years, into Central and South America, while others may have moved inland, east of the Rocky Mountains.[7] The apparent early divergence between North American and Central plus South American populations may or may not be associated with post-divergence gene flow from a more basal population into North America; however, analysis of published DNA sequences for 19 Siberian populations does not favor the latter scenario.[7]

Spearheads and DNA found at the Paisley Caves site in Oregon suggest that North America was colonized by more than one culture, and that the Clovis culture was not the first. There is evidence to suggest an east/west dichotomy, with the Clovis culture located to the east.[96]

But in 2014, the autosomal DNA of a 12,500+-year-old infant from Montana was sequenced.[7][8][97][98] The DNA was taken from a skeleton referred to as Anzick-1, found in close association with several Clovis artifacts. Comparisons indicate strong affinities with DNA from Siberian sites, and virtually rule out close affinity with European sources (the "Solutrean hypothesis"). The DNA shows strong affinities with all existing Native American populations, which indicated that each of them derives from an ancient population that lived in or near Siberia, the Upper Palaeolithic Mal'ta population. Mal'ta belonged to Y-DNA haplogroup R and mitochrondrial macrohaplogroup U.[7][99]

The data indicate that Anzick-1 is from a population directly ancestral to present South American and Central American Native American populations. This rules out hypotheses which posit that invasions subsequent to the Clovis culture overwhelmed or assimilated previous migrants into the Americas. Anzick-1 is less closely related to present North American Native American populations (including a Yaqui genetic sample), suggesting that the North American populations are basal to Anzick-1 and Central and South American populations.[7] The apparent early divergence between North American and Central plus South American populations might be due to post-divergence gene flow from a more basal population into North America; however, analysis of published DNA sequences of 19 Siberian populations do not suggest this scenario.[7] Anzick-1 belonged to Y-haplogroup Q-L54(xM3),[7] which is by far the largest haplogroup among Native Americans.

Other sites

Hebior Mammoth Clean
Mammuthus primigenius "Hebior Mammoth specimen" bearing tool/butcher marks, cast skeleton produced and distributed by Triebold Paleontology Incorporated

In approximate reverse chronological order:

  • Pedra Furada, Serra da Capivara National Park, in the state of Piauí, Brazil. Site with evidence of non-Clovis human remains, a rock painting rupestre art drawings from at least 12,000–6,000 BP. Hearth samples C-14 dates of 48–32,000 BP were reported in a Nature article (Guidon and Delibrias 1986). New hearth samples with ABOX dates of 54,000 BP were reported in the Quaternary Science Reviews.[100] Paleoindian components found here, have been challenged by American researchers such as Meltzer, Adovasio, and Dillehay.
  • The Monte Verde site in Chile, was occupied from 14,800 years BP,[101] with bones and other finds dating on average 12,500 yrs BP.[102] The earliest finds at the site were from between 32,840 and 33,900 years BP, but are controversial.[102]
  • The Bluefish Caves site in Yukon, Canada, contains bones with evidence of human cut-marks which demonstrates a human presence as early as 24,000 yr BP. The Bluefish caves are currently the oldest archaeological site in North America and offers evidence regarding the Beringia Standstill hypothesis, which states a genetically isolated human population remained in the area during the last glacial maximum and then traveled within North America and South America after the glaciers receded.[103]
  • Lagoa Santa, Minas Gerais, Brazil, is erroneously asserted to be Clovis age or even possibly Pre-Clovis in age. The recent discussion of this site (specifically Lapa Vermelha IV) and the Luzia skull, reportedly 11,500 years old by Neves and Hubb, makes it clear that this date is a chronological date in years Before Present and not a raw radiocarbon date[104] in eastern Brazil. Clovis sites mostly date between 11,500 and 11,000 radiocarbon years which means 13,000 years before present at a minimum. "Luzia" is at least 1,000 years younger than Clovis and Lapa Vermelha IV should not be considered a Pre-Clovis site.
  • Cueva del Milodón, in Patagonian Chile[105] dates at least as early as 10,500 BP. This is a site found particularly early in the New World hunt for Early Man, circa 1896, and needs additional basic research, but 10,500 B.P. would be 1,500 years younger than Clovis, or if the dating is 10,500 RCYBP, it would still be roughly 500–700 years younger than Clovis. In either case this should not be considered a Pre-Clovis site.
  • Cueva Fell[106] and Pali Aike Crater sites in Patagonia, with hearths, stone tools and other elements of human habitation dating to at least as early as 11,000 BP.
  • The Big Eddy Site in southwestern Missouri contains several claimed pre-Clovis artifacts or geofacts. In situ artifacts have been found in this well-stratified site in association with charcoal. Five different samples have been AMS dated to between 11,300 and 12,675 BP (Before Present).
  • Taima Taima, Venezuela has cultural material very similar to Monte Verde II, dating to 12,000 years BP. Recovered artifacts of the El Jobo complex in direct association with the butchered remains of a juvenile mastodon. Radiocarbon dates on associated wood twigs indicate a minimum age of 13,000 years before the present for the mastodon kill, a dating significantly older than that of the Clovis complex in North America.[107]
  • The Page-Ladson site, on the Aucilla River in Florida has yielded evidence that a mastodon was butchered by people 15,550 calendar years BP.[108] A cut mastodon tusk dated to 12,300 years BP had previously been found near a few in situ artifacts of similar age.[109] A test pit in 1983 yielded elephant bones, bone tools, and chips from tool making. Radiocarbon dating of organic material from the pit yielded dates from 13,000 to 11,700 years BP.[110]
  • The Schaefer and Hebior mammoth sites in Kenosha County, Wisconsin indicate exploitation of this animal by humans. The Schaefer Mammoth site has over 13 highly purified collagen AMS dates and 17 dates on associated wood, dating it to 12,300–12,500 radiocarbon years before the present. Hebior has two AMS dates in the same range. Both animals show conclusive butchering marks and associated non-diagnostic tools.[111]
  • A site in Walker, Minnesota with stone tools, alleged to be from 13,000 to 15,000 years old based on surrounding geology, was discovered in 2006.[112] However, further examination suggests that the site does not represent a human occupation.[113]
  • In a 2011 article[10] in Science, Waters et al. 2011 describe an assemblage of 15,528 lithic artifacts from the Debra L. Friedkin site west of Salado, Texas. These artifacts (including 56 tools, 2,268 macrodebitage and 13,204 microdebitage) define the Buttermilk Creek Complex formation, which stratigraphically underlies a Clovis assemblage. While carbon dating could not be used to directly date the artifacts, 49 samples from the 20 cm Buttermilk floodplain sedimentary clay layer in which the artifacts were embedded were dated using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL). Eighteen OSL ages, ranging from 14,000 to 17,500 ka were obtained from this layer. The authors report "the most conservative estimate" of the age of the Buttermilk clays range from 13,200 to 15,500 ka, based on the minimum age represented by each of the 18 OSL ages.
  • Human coprolites have been found in Paisley Caves in Oregon, carbon dated at 14,300 years ago. Genetic analysis revealed that the coprolites contained mtDNA haplogroups A2 and B2, two of the five major Native American mtDNA haplogroups.[114][115]
  • The Mud Lake site, in Kenosha County, Wisconsin consists of the foreleg of a juvenile mammoth recovered in the 1930s. Over 100 stone tool butchering marks are found on the bones. Several purified collagen AMS dates show the animal to be 13,450 RCYBP with a range of plus or minus 1,500 RCYBP variance.[116]
  • Meadowcroft Rockshelter in southwestern Pennsylvania, excavated 1973–78, with evidence of occupancy dating back from 16,000 to 19,000 years ago.[117]
  • Cactus Hill in southern Virginia, with artifacts such as unfluted bifacial stone tools with dates ranging from c. 15,000 to 17,000 years ago.[118]
  • Sixty-eight stone and bone tools discovered in an orchard in East Wenatchee, Washington in 1987, excavated in 1988 and 1990. Five of the Clovis points are on display at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center.
  • Serpentine Hot Springs in the Seward Peninsula, Alaska, excavated 2010-2011, with evidence of what appears to have been a backflow in migration of Clovis people who may have moved north through the ice-free corridor to settle in Western Alaska on the Bering Sea. The spear points found were a modification of Clovis, either from a northward migration or of the adoption of the technology by indigenous inhabitants.[119]

See also

References

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  2. ^ a b Waters, Michael; et al. (2007). "Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the Peopling of the Americas". Science (315): 1122–1126. doi:10.1126/Science.1127166 (inactive 3 September 2018).
  3. ^ David R. Starbuck, The Archeology of New Hampshire: Exploring 10,000 Years in the Granite State, UPNE, 2006, p. 25.
  4. ^ a b Sharon Bigley, "Ancient native boy's genome reignites debate over first Americans" Archived 16 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Reuters, 12 February 2014
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  6. ^ New Rdiocarbon Dates for the Anzick Clovis Burial by Juliet E. Morrow and Stuart J.Fiedel. In Paleoindian Archaeology, edited by J.E.Morrow and C.G.Gnecco. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
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Further reading

  • Carlson, Roy L.; Luke, Dalla Bona, eds. (1996). Early Human Occupation in British Columbia. Vancouver: UBC Press. ISBN 978-0-7748-0536-0.
  • Dixon, E. James (1999). Bones, Boats and Bison: Archeology and the First Colonization of Western North America. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-2057-5. OCLC 42022335.
  • Kennett, D. J.; Kennett, J. P.; West, A.; Mercer, C.; Que Hee, S. S.; Bement, L.; Bunch, T. E.; Sellers, M.; Wolbach, W. S. (2009). "Nanodiamonds in the Younger Dryas Boundary Sediment Layer". Science. 323 (5910): 94. Bibcode:2009Sci...323...94K. doi:10.1126/science.1162819. PMID 19119227.
  • Madsen, David B. (2004). Entering America: northeast Asia and Beringia before the last glacial maximum. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. ISBN 978-0-87480-786-8.
  • Schurr, Theodore G. (2000). "Mitochondrial DNA and the Peopling of the New World". American Scientist. 88 (3): 246–253. Bibcode:2000AmSci..88..246S. doi:10.1511/2000.3.246. ISSN 0003-0996.
  • Stanford, Dennis; Bradley, Bruce (2002). "Chapter 9 - Ocean Trails and Prairie Paths? Thoughts About Clovis Origins". In Nina G. Jablonski (ed.). The First Americans: The Pleistocene Colonization of the New World. Edited proceedings of The Fourth Wattis Symposium, 2 October 1999. San Francisco, CA: California Academy of Sciences. pp. 255–71. ISBN 978-0-940228-49-8.
  • Stanford DJ, Bradley BA (2012). Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-22783-5.
  • Straus, Lawrence G. (April 2000). "Solutrean Settlement of North America? A Review of Reality". American Antiquity. 65 (2): 219–226. doi:10.2307/2694056. ISSN 0002-7316. JSTOR 2694056.

External links

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is a U.S. National Monument in the State of Texas. For thousands of years, people came to the red bluffs above the Canadian River for flint, vital to their existence. Demand for the high quality, rainbow-hued flint is reflected in the distribution of Alibates Flint through the Great Plains and beyond. Indians of the Ice Age Clovis Culture used Alibates flint for spear points to hunt the Imperial Mammoth before the Great Lakes were formed. The flint usually lies just below the surface at ridge level in a layer up to six feet thick. The quarry pits were not very large, between 5 and 25 feet wide and 4 to 7 feet deep. Many of these quarries were exploited by the Antelope Creek people, of the Panhandle culture, between 1200 and 1450. The stone-slabbed, multi-room houses built by the Antelope Creek people have long been of interest to the public and studied by archaeologists. Today this area is protected by the U.S. National Park Service and can only be viewed by ranger-led guided tours, which must be reserved in advance.

Alibates Flint Quarries was the only National Monument in the state of Texas until the Military Working Dog Teams National Monument was created in 2013, and is adjacent to and managed together with Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.

The monument was authorized as Alibates Flint Quarries and Texas Panhandle Pueblo Culture National Monument on August 31, 1965, but the designation was shortened to the current name on November 10, 1978.

Anzick-1

Anzick-1 is the name given to the remains of Paleo-Indian male infant found in south central Montana, U.S. in 1968 that date to 12,707–12,556 years BP. The child was found with more than 115 tools made of stone and antlers and dusted with red ocher, suggesting an honorary burial. Anzick-1 is the only human who has been discovered from the Clovis Complex, and is the first ancient Native American genome to be fully sequenced.Paleogenomic analysis of the remains revealed Siberian ancestry and a close genetic relationship to modern Native Americans, including those of Central and South America. These findings support the hypothesis that modern Native Americans are descended from Asian populations who crossed Beringia between 32,000 and 18,000 years ago.Anzick-1's discovery and subsequent analysis has been controversial. The remains were found on private land, so the researchers did not violate the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) in their study. But many Native American tribal members in Montana believed they should have been consulted before the researchers undertook analysis of the infant's skeleton and genome.Anzick-1 was reburied on June 28, 2014 in the Shields River Valley in an intertribal ceremony. The numerous Clovis artifacts associated with the first burial are archived at the Montana Historical Society in Helena, Montana.

Anzick Clovis burial

The Anzick Site (24PA506) in Park County, Montana, United States, is the only known Clovis burial site in the New World.

Buttermilk Creek Complex

Buttermilk Creek Complex refers to the remains of a paleolithic settlement along the shores of Buttermilk Creek in present-day Salado, Texas dated to approximately 15,500 years old. If confirmed, the site represents evidence of human settlement in the Americas that pre-dates the Clovis culture.

Clovis, New Mexico

Clovis is the county seat of Curry County, New Mexico, United States, with a population of 37,775 as of the 2010 census, and a 2014 estimated population of 39,860. Clovis is located in the New Mexico portion of the Llano Estacado, in the eastern part of the state.

A largely agricultural community, closely bordering Texas, it is noted for its role in early rock music history and for nearby Cannon Air Force Base. After the discovery of several "Clovis culture" sites in eastern North America in the 1930s, the Clovis people came to be regarded as the first human inhabitants who created a widespread culture in the New World. Clovis people are considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas. The Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railway system helped to establish Clovis over a hundred years ago, and for that railroad and its successor BNSF Railway continues to be a major hub of operations. Also notable is the Southwest Cheese Company, the largest cheddar cheese producer in North America.

It is the principal city of the Clovis Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Clovis-Portales CSA.

Clovis point

Clovis points are the characteristically-fluted projectile points associated with the New World Clovis culture. They are present in dense concentrations across much of North America; in South America, they are largely restricted to the north of that continent. Clovis points date to the Early Paleoindian period roughly 13,500 to 12,800 calendar years ago. Clovis fluted points are named after the city of Clovis, New Mexico, where examples were first found in 1929 by Ridgely Whiteman.A typical Clovis point is a medium to large lanceolate point. Sides are parallel to convex, and exhibit careful pressure flaking along the blade edge. The broadest area is near the midsection or toward the base. The base is distinctly concave with a characteristic flute or channel flake removed from one or, more commonly, both surfaces of the blade. The lower edges of the blade and base are ground to dull edges for hafting. Clovis points also tend to be thicker than the typically thin later-stage Folsom points. with length ranging from 4–20 centimetres (1.6–7.9 in) and width from 2.5–5 centimetres (0.98–1.97 in). Whether the points were knife blades or spear points is an open question.

Dennis Stanford

Dennis J. Stanford (born 13 May 1943 in Cherokee, Iowa, died 24 April 2019) was an archaeologist and Director of the Paleoindian/Paleoecology Program at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution.Along with Prof. Bruce Bradley, Stanford was known for investigating the Solutrean hypothesis, which contends that stone tool technology of the Solutrean culture in prehistoric northern Spain and Portugal may have influenced the development of later Clovis tool-making culture in the Americas by way of an earlier trans-atlantic maritime travel along a sea ice shelf to North America during the Last Glacial Maximum. In 2012, they published details concerning their hypothesis in Across Atlantic Ice: The Origin of America's Clovis Culture.

Dent Site

Dent Site is a Clovis culture (about 11,000 years before present) site located in Weld County, Colorado, near Milliken, Colorado. It provided evidence that man and mammoth co-existed in the Americas.

The site is located on an alluvial fan alongside the South Platte River.

El Fin del Mundo

El Fin del Mundo (Spanish: 'End of the World') is an ancient Pleistocene site in northwestern Sonora, Mexico. It features Clovis culture period occupation dating around 13,390 calibrated years BP. It was discovered during a 2007 survey.

This is the oldest Clovis site in North America. There's also the Aubrey site in Denton County, Texas, which produced a radiocarbon date that is almost identical.

Folsom tradition

The Folsom Complex is a name given by archaeologists to a specific Paleo-Indian archaeological culture that occupied much of central North America. The term was first used in 1927 by Jesse Dade Figgins, director of the Colorado Museum of Natural History.Numerous Paleoindian cultures occupied North America, with some restricted to the Great Plains and Great Lakes of the modern United States of America and Canada as well as adjacent areas to the west and south west. The Folsom Tradition was characterised by use of Folsom points as projectile tips and activities known from kill sites where slaughter and butchering of bison took place and Folsom tools were left behind.Some kill sites exhibit evidence of up to 50 bison being killed, although the Folsom diet apparently included mountain sheep, marmots, deer and cottontail rabbit as well.

A Folsom site at Hanson, Wyoming, also revealed areas of hardstanding, which indicate possible dwellings.

The type site is Folsom Site, near Folsom, New Mexico, in Colfax County (29CX1), a marsh-side kill site found in about 1908 by George McJunkin, a cowboy and former slave who had lived in Texas as a child. Archaeologists excavated the site in 1926.

The Folsom Complex dates to between 9000 BC and 8000 BC and is thought to have derived from the earlier Clovis culture.

The Lindenmeier Site in Colorado is a campsite that was used throughout a longer period, spanning this era.

Lehner Mammoth-Kill Site

The Lehner Mammoth-Kill Site is a location in southern Arizona that is significant for its association with evidence that mammoths were killed here by Paleo-Indians 9000 years BCE.

In 1952, Ed Lehner discovered extinct mammoth bone fragments on his ranch, at the locality now known as the Lehner Mammoth-Kill Site. He notified the Arizona State Museum, and a summer of heavy rains in 1955 exposed more bones. Excavations took place in 1955-56, and again in 1974-75. In the first season, two Clovis projectile points were found among the ribs of a young mammoth.Artifacts found during these excavations included thirteen fluted Clovis culture projectile points, butchering tools, chipped stone debris and fire hearth features.

Bones of a variety of game—twelve immature mammoths, one horse, one tapir, several bison, one camel, one bear, several rabbits, and a garter snake—were excavated at the Lehner site.

The Lehner Mammoth kill and camp site exhibited a number of firsts: It was the first site associated with the Clovis culture to have definable fire hearths. These hearths provided the first radiocarbon dates for the culture (9,000 BCE).

This site was also the first to have butchering tools in direct association with animal remains, and the first Clovis association with small animals, camel, and tapir.

In addition to the obvious artifact remains, an inter-disciplinary group of scientists including archaeologists, botanists, geochronologists, geologists, paleontologists, palynologists, and zoologists have studied and interpreted a wide range of data from the site.The Lehner Mammoth-Kill Site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1967.In 1988, Mr. and Mrs. Lehner donated the site to the Bureau of Land Management for the benefit and education of the public.

Lithic stage

In the sequence of cultural stages first proposed for the archaeology of the Americas by Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips in 1958, the Lithic stage was the earliest period of human occupation in the Americas, as post-glacial hunters and collectors spread through the Americas.

The stage derived its name from the first appearance of Lithic flaked stone tools. The term Paleo-Indian is an alternative, generally indicating much the same period.

This stage was conceived of as embracing two major categories of stone technology: (1) unspecialized and largely unformulated core and flake industries, with percussion the dominant and perhaps only technique employed, and (2) industries exhibiting more advanced "blade" techniques of stoneworking, with specialized fluted or unfluted lanceolate points the most characteristic artifact types. Throughout South America, there are stone tool traditions of the lithic stage, such as the "fluted fishtail" that reflect localized adaptations to the diverse habitats of the continent.

The indications and timing of the end of the Lithic stage vary between regions. The use of textiles, fired pottery and start of the gradual replacement of hunter gatherer lifestyles with the use of agriculture and domesticated animals would all be factors. End dates vary, but are around 5,000 to 3,000 BC in many areas. The Archaic stage is the most widely used term for the succeeding stage, but in the periodization of pre-Columbian Peru the Cotton Pre-Ceramic may be used, as in the Norte Chico civilization cultivated cotton seems to have been very important in economic and power relations, from around 3,200 BC.

One of the leading figures is Alex Krieger who has documented hundreds of sites that have yielded crude, percussion-flaked tools. The most convincing evidence for a lithic stage is based upon data recovered from sites in South America where such crude tools have been found and dated to more than 20,000 years ago.In North America, the time encompasses the Paleo-Indian period that subsequently is divided into more specific time terms such as Early Lithic stage or Early Paleo-Indians and Middle Paleo-Indians or Middle Lithic stage. Examples include the Clovis culture and Folsom tradition groups.

The Lithic stage was followed by the Archaic stage.

Maine State Museum

The Maine State Museum is the official Maine government's museum and is located at 230 State Street, adjacent to the Maine State House, in Augusta. It collections focus on the state's pre-history, history, and natural science.

Permanent exhibits include dioramas of Maine's animals, birds and plants in different ecosystems; gems and minerals; displays about the state's natural resources and industries, including forestry, granite, fishing, and agriculture; Clovis culture and archaeological artifacts; and settlement and state history. There is also a working three-story water-powered woodworking mill, and craftsmen's work areas.

The current director of the Museum is Bernard Fishman.

Nenana Valley

Nenana Valley is an archaeological site in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area of Alaska.The site was first occupied around 11,000 years ago (early Holocene) and represents one of the earliest known sites in Arctic North America. The location of artifacts in the stratigraphic column suggests that, originally, the site was not occupied year-round, and that during the last glacial period people would have been travelling back and forth between North America and Russia, using this site as an outpost. Zooarchaeological evidence, such as mammoth and sheep bones, suggest that people were following these paths seasonally for hunting. As the ice age ended, the site would have become a more permanent residence. Points found here suggest that the culture is ancestral to that which created the Clovis points, of which variations can be found across the United States.

Pendejo Cave

Pendejo Cave is a geological feature and archaeological site located in southern New Mexico about 20 miles east of Orogrande. Archaeologist Richard S. MacNeish claimed that human occupation of the cave pre-dates by tens of thousands of years the Clovis Culture, traditionally believed to be one of the oldest if not the oldest culture in the Americas.

Solutrean hypothesis

The Solutrean hypothesis on the peopling of the Americas claims that the earliest human migration to the Americas took place from Europe, during the Last Glacial Maximum. This hypothesis contrasts with the mainstream view that the North American continent was first reached after the Last Glacial Maximum, by people from North Asia, either by the Bering land bridge (i.e. Beringia), or by maritime travel along the Pacific coast, or by both.

According to the Solutrean hypothesis, people of the Solutrean culture, 21,000 to 17,000 years ago migrated to North America by boat along the pack ice of the North Atlantic Ocean. They brought their methods of making stone tools with them and provided the basis for the later (c. 13,000 years ago) Clovis technology that spread throughout North America. The hypothesis is based on similarities between European Solutrean and Clovis lithic technologies. Supporters of the Solutrean hypothesis refer to recent archaeological finds such as those at Cactus Hill in Virginia, Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Pennsylvania, and Miles Point in Maryland as evidence of a transitional phase between Solutrean lithic technology and what later became Clovis technology.

Originally proposed in the 1970s, the theory has received some support in the 2010s, notably by Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institution and Bruce Bradley of the University of Exeter. However, according to David Meltzer, "Few if any archaeologists—or, for that matter, geneticists, linguists, or physical anthropologists—take seriously the idea of a Solutrean colonization of America." The evidence for the hypothesis is considered more consistent with other scenarios. In addition to an interval of thousands of years between the Clovis and Solutrean eras, the two technologies show only incidental similarities. There is no evidence for any Solutrean seafaring, far less for any technology that could take humans across the Atlantic in an ice age. Recent genetic evidence supports the idea of Asian, not European, origins for the peopling of the Americas.

Topper Site

Topper is an archaeological site located along the Savannah River in Allendale County, South Carolina, United States. It is noted as a location of artifacts which some archaeologists believe to indicate human habitation of the New World earlier than the Clovis culture. The latter were previously believed to be the first people in North America.

Artifacts at this site may predate Clovis by 3,000 years or more, but these conclusions are disputed. The primary excavation has gone down to a level that dates to at least 50,000 B.C., searching for evidence of cultural artifacts. Until increasing challenges in the first decade of the 21st century to the Clovis theory based on this site and others, it was unusual for archaeologists to dig deeper than the layer of the Clovis culture, as they then believed that no human artifacts would be found older than Clovis. Among the objects from the "pre-Clovis" stratum, dated to 16,000-20,000 years BP, is a large piece of rock nicknamed the "Topper Chopper." This apparent tool offers some of the most compelling evidence for human agency, including bifacial flaking of the edge.

Ventana Cave

Ventana Cave (O'odham: Nakaijegel) is an archaeological site in southern Arizona. It is located on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. The cave was excavated under the direction of Emil Haury by teams led by Julian Hayden in 1942, and in 1941 by a team led by Wilfrid C Bailey, one of Emil Haury's graduate students. The deepest artifacts from Ventana Cave were recovered from a layer of volcanic debris that also contained Pleistocene horse, Burden's pronghorn, tapir, sloth, and other extinct and modern species. A projectile point from the volcanic debris layer was compared to the Folsom Tradition and later to the Clovis culture, but the assemblage was peculiar enough to warrant a separate name – the Ventana Complex. Radiocarbon dates from the volcanic debris layer indicated an age of about 11,300 BP.Bruce Huckell and C. Vance Haynes restudied the Ventana Cave stratigraphy and artifact assemblage in 1992-1994. New radiocarbon dates and reanalysis of the artifacts indicates that the volcanic debris layer was laid down between 10,500-8,800 BP. Huckel & Haynes hypothesized that vertical turbation (postdepositional disturbance) is responsible for Haury's original interpretation that these extinct fauna were killed with stone tools. "This turbation may have led to the incorporation of bones of extinct fauna from an underlying conglomerate deposit rich in horse remains, creating the impression of their association with artifacts". Huckel & Haynes believe the Ventana Complex is post-Clovis, and not closely related.Ventana Cave was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.

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Archaeological
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