Mexican Archaeology

The Clovis People

Home | Origin of the Aztecs | Pre-Chichimecas | Aguascalientes | Mexican Mammoths | Mummies of Guanajuato | Acámbaro Masks | Acámbaro Man | Acámbaro Ornaments | Acámbaro Dinosaurs | Acámbaro Petroglyphs | Acámbaro Museums, Restaurants & Hotals | Acámbaro Prehistoric Birds | Clovis and Before | ARCHAEOLOGY DAY FIELD TRIPS

The first people to cross over into North America from Asia are referred to as the Clovis People.  Below, are sites in North America where their artifacts have been found.  The contents of this page are borrowed from "PBS.ORG" and from the NOVA program.

White areas are glaciers of the Ice Age

1.       Old Crow
Yukon Territory
25,000-40,000 years old
Large mammal bones, possibly flaked or cut.

2.      Blue Fish Cavesves
12,000-28,000 years old
Mammoth bone core and flakes, microblades, and debitage.

3.       Manis
14,000 years old
Antler point in mastodon rib. Mastodon bone cut and flaked.

4.       McMinnville
46,000 years old
Broken mammoth bones and bison tibia chopper.


5.       Fort Rock Cave
15,500 years old
Stemmed points found in early context.

6.     Wilson Butte Cave

17,500-18,500 years old
Modified bones and flakes.

7.       False Cougar Cave

12,500-17,500 years old
Stone artifacts and human hair.

8.     Pendejo Cave
New Mexico
14,000 years old
Human hair and prints in baked clay, and possible stone tools.

9.       Sand Creek

16,540 years old
Mammoth associated with a stone tool.

10.    Lamb Spring
13,500-15,000 years old
Flaked mammoth bones.

11.    Selby
14,000-17,000 years old
Flaked and polished extinct mammal bones.

12.    Dutton
14,000-17,000 years old
Flaked and polished extinct mammal bones.

13.    La Sena
17,000-22,000 years old
Human-flaked mammoth bone.

14.    Jensen
17,000-22,000 years old
Human-flaked mammoth bone.


15.    Shaffert
17,000-22,000 years old
Human-flaked mammoth bone.

16.    Burnham
22,000-40,000 years old
Flake tools associated with extinct fauna.

17.    Big Eddy
14,000-14,500 years old
Possible stone tools.

18.    Lovewell
22,000 years old
Modified mammoth bones.

19.    Mud Lake

15,000-16,500 years old
Mammoth bones with butchering marks.

20.    Hebior
15,000-16,500 years old
Stone tools and mammoth bones with butchering marks.

21.    Schaefer
15,000-16,500 years old
Stone tools and mammoth bones with butchering marks.

22.    Meadowcroft
13,500-17,500 years old
Lanceolate point, blade-like flakes, and charred basketry.

23.    Saltville
15,000-16,000 years old
Flaked stone, fractured and polished bone.

24.  Cactus Hill
17,000-19,000 years old
Lanceolate points, blades, and blade cores.

25.    Topper
South Carolina
15,000-16,000 years old
Possible stone tools found in dated deposits.

26.    Sloth Hole
14,400 years old
Stone tools and cut mastodon tusks.

27.    Page Ladson
14,400 years old
Stone tools and cut mastodon tusks.

28.    Little Salt Spring

14,000 years old
Shaped wooden stake embedded in extinct tortoise shell.

Not shown:
Monte Verde
14,500 years old

Many organic artifacts, stone tools, and house structures
  (see spear points here)


Even faced with evidence to the contrary, Clovis First supporters refused to accept that people could have arrived in America earlier than 13,500 years ago.

When Wallace and his team analyzed the mitochondrial DNA of Native Americans, they found four distinctive lineages that he labeled A, B, C and D. All four turned out to share common ancestors back in Siberia and northeast Asia.

So far, these findings were consistent with the Clovis First theory that the first Americans came from Asia. But when Wallace calculated how long ago the Asian and Native American DNA diverged, he was shocked. He repeated his work, as did other labs. The results were consistent. Three of the four main ancestral groups A, C and D, diverged from their Asian forbears at least 20,000 years ago. And even more striking, the first Americans didn't all come at once, but in at least three waves of migration.

Now consider the ,
The Clovis spear point is a single stone, bifacial, or shaped on both sides, with a flute, or groove, at its base. The spear points in Asia are made from lots of small razor-like flints called micro-blades embedded in a bone handle.

Now there was a real puzzle. The DNA says the earliest Americans are from Asia, yet the Clovis point, is nowhere to be found in Asia.

One day, while making a Clovis point, he had a moment of inspiration. He remembered a popular science book he had seen when he was a student. It showed pictures of ancient spearheads made by the Solutreans, people who lived in Ice Age France and Spain. Their spear points resembled Clovis points. It seemed unbelievable, but Stanford and Bradley posed the question, "Could the Clovis point and some of the earliest Americans be from Europe?"

Overshot flaking was an unusual technique that left behind a distinctive byproduct, big flakes, at ancient Clovis stone working sites. Bradley wondered if traces of this technique might show up in southwestern France, where the Solutreans had lived 20,000 years ago

NARRATOR: To connect the Solutreans and Clovis, he needed to find out if they produced their spearheads using the same big flake technique.

BRUCE BRADLEY: So what we do is we go back to the collections of the broken materials, which is probably 99 percent of what there is here, and in that we're seeing the various ways that the Solutreans were making the things, not just the finished objects. And so it's the pieces that are hidden away that are going to tell us the most.

NARRATOR: And there in the drawers were big flakes, a clear sign that the Solutreans had made their spearheads in an identical technique to that of Clovis.




My Additional Notes:
"Clovis"  was the name given to this era because it was around Clovis, New Mexico that artifacts of this era were first found.  The Clovis era dates approximately 13,500 years ago.  Clovis artifacts were found in "Cactus Hill" Virginia.  Excavating below this level, Pre-Clovis artifacts such as a number of arrow points, blades, scrappers, and tool were found.  This era is dated about 5,000 years before the Clovis era, or about 18,000 years ago. This site is now closed and filled in.   Other Pre-Clovis sites have been found in Meadowcroft Rockshelter, Pennsylvania, and other locations. 
  A newer theory is that the people crossing over into what is now North America, perhaps followed the western, warmer coastline in boats.