The work could be used to refine estimates of the ages of organic material by hundreds of years. Archaeologists, for example, may be able to further specify the timing of the extinction of Neandertals or the spread of modern humans into Europe. And climate scientists may better understand the chains of events that led to the advance and retreat of the ice sheets during the last glacial period. New findings from the Paisley Caves in Oregon suggest that a stone tool technology known as Western Stemmed projectile points overlapped with—rather than followed—the technology of the Clovis culture. The Clovis culture, defined by its distinctive broad, fluted projectile points, is believed to have arrived in North American about 13, years ago. Many researchers had believed that Western Stemmed projectile points evolved directly from Clovis technology. Search Search. You are here Home Disciplines Research methods Radiometric dating.
Ancient stone tools hint at settlers’ epic trek to North America
They found some of these people were genetically linked to people of the Clovis culture, one of the earliest archaeological cultures to extend.
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Controversial Spearpoints Could Rewrite the Story of the First Americans
At sites scattered across western North America, long, fluted stone projectile points mark the presence of ancient people from a culture archaeologists now call Clovis. But more recent data has shown that people arrived in North America several thousand years before the oldest known Clovis projectile points were made. But Clovis appears to be the first widespread culture, and it still represents a key chapter in the story of how people spread across two continents.
In fact, a lone infant skeleton may be the only known representative of the Clovis culture. Due to some discrepancies in radiocarbon dating, however, archaeologists still aren’t sure whether the child’s remains are Clovis. Now, a new study adds some evidence to that debate.
Stone tools dating to years ago were found at the Gault the first occupants of the Americas — referred to as the Clovis culture.
The findings raise new questions about the settlement of early peoples on the continent. The team found the numerous weapons — about inches long — while digging at what has been termed the Debra L. Friedkin site, named for the family who owns the land about 40 miles northwest of Austin in Central Texas. The site has undergone extensive archaeological work for the past 12 years.
Spear points made of chert and other tools were discovered under several feet of sediment that dating revealed to be 15, years old, and pre-date Clovis, who for decades were believed to be the first people to enter the Americas. These points were found under a layer with Clovis and Folsom projectile points. Clovis is dated to 13, to 12, years ago and Folsom after that. The dream has always been to find diagnostic artifacts — such as projectile points — that can be recognized as older than Clovis and this is what we have at the Friedkin site.
Clovis is the name given to the distinctive tools made by people starting around 13, years ago. The Clovis people invented the “Clovis point,” a spear-shaped weapon made of stone that is found in Texas and parts of the United States and northern Mexico and the weapons were made to hunt animals, including mammoths and mastodons, from 13, to 12, years ago. Now we are starting to see this complexity mirrored in the archaeological record.
Original written by Keith Randall. Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Science News.
The Story of the Clovis People
The Clovis culture is a prehistoric Paleoamerican culture, named for distinct stone tools found in close association with Pleistocene fauna at Blackwater Locality No. It appears around 11,—11, uncalibrated RCYBP  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, to 12, calendar years ago.
including distinct fluted arrowheads attributed to the ‘Clovis culture’, estimate of its age through advanced radiocarbon dating techniques.
The term Clovis refers to the earliest widespread archaeological culture to have occupied North and Central America, ca. Since the discovery of the first Clovis artifacts in the s, debate has raged over such fundamental issues as whether people who left behind Clovis materials were, in fact, the first Americans; where in the Old World Clovis ancestors originated; and whether Clovis people disproportionately killed megafauna such as mammoths and mastodons and avoided smaller game. In Regis College geology professor Father Conrad Bilgery began excavating the Dent site located just south of Greeley , recovering numerous mammoth bones and a large fluted projectile point.
About five years before, Figgins had overseen paradigm-shifting field research at the ancient Folsom site in northeastern New Mexico, where he discovered small, thin, fluted projectile points amidst the bones of now extinct giant bison. This work resolved a debate that had flummoxed archaeologists and the public since the mids: whether humans had lived in the Americas during the Ice Age. They clearly had, and they hunted mammals.
The Dent spearpoints reminded Figgins of Folsom projectiles writ large. This interpretation changed some years later, however, after excavations at the Blackwater Draw site in east-central New Mexico exposed mammoth bones and Dent-like spearpoints below Ice Age bison bones and Folsom points. This indicated that the more robust fluted points were older than finely flaked Folsom and should be distinguished as such with distinct terminology.
Had Figgins recovered evidence for the greater antiquity of the large spearpoints observed at Dent, he would doubtless have named the new artifact type accordingly, and what have been known for eight decades as Clovis points would have been named for their Colorado site instead. But Clovis it was, and the debates raged on. As of this writing, most archaeologists agree that humans occupied at least parts of the Americas no less than a thousand years or so before Clovis time; Clovis ancestors occupied northeast Asia prior to immigrating to the New World; Clovis technology developed in the New World rather than having been transported from the Old World ; and Clovis people ate more than just mammoths.
Although the distinctive Clovis projectile point is the most commonly recovered and best-known component of the Clovis tool kit, Clovis hunter-gatherers manufactured a wide variety of implements. These include other chipped stone artifacts, such as massive bifaces and other more specialized stone tools e.
Guide to the Pre-Clovis Culture
For many years, scientists have thought that the first Americans came here from Asia 13, years ago, during the last ice age, probably by way of the Bering Strait. They were known as the Clovis people, after the town in New Mexico where their finely wrought spear points were first discovered in But in more recent years, archaeologists have found more and more traces of even earlier people with a less refined technology inhabiting North America and spreading as far south as Chile.
And now clinching evidence in the mystery of the early peopling of America — Clovis or pre-Clovis?
In fact, a lone infant skeleton may be the only known representative of the Clovis culture. Due to some discrepancies in radiocarbon dating.
Newly discovered prehistoric Native American artifacts found in the dirt near Florence date back 16, years which makes them the oldest man-fashioned tools ever found in North America. Nancy Velchoff Williams, co-principal investigator for the Gault School of Archeological Research GSAR , which oversees the remote archaeological dig site in Williamson County, said the new discovery shows the site was occupied far longer than the 10, to 12, years experts initially believed.
She said people have been living throughout Central Texas, especially along rivers and waterways, for much longer than archaeologists first thought. Gault bears evidence of continuous human occupation beginning at least 16, years ago, and now perhaps earlier, which makes it one of a few but growing number of archaeological sites in the Americas where scientists have discovered evidence of human occupation dating to centuries before the appearance of the Clovis culture at the end of the last ice age about 13, years ago.
Michael B. Collins, GSAR chairman, said a paper published this month in the journal Science Advances, reports the discovery of some , artifacts from the specific site, including 10 projectile points. Investigators also have found four human teeth associated with the site, but no bones or burials have been located there, Collins said. For decades archaeologists have subscribed to the “land bridge” theory when considering how man got to this continent.
But what GSAR and others now suggest is this part of the world was populated far earlier than first thought and those who were here back then probably got here by boat, not land bridge. Most who study the issue believe Clovis technology spread through the indigenous population as those “Clovis” people moved across the land, but Collins now believes “Within a wider context, this evidence suggests that Clovis technology spread across an already regionalized, indigenous population,” he wrote.
Collins says evidence at Gault shows “cultural manifestations at least two thousand years before the appearance of Clovis. The latest discoveries come from excavations in Area 15 at the Gault Site. The report goes on to say the sites dates to “at least 16, years,” but points out other evidence being evaluated may push that date one to two thousand years earlier.
Their results mean that archaeologists are able to confirm that the earliest known humans in the Americas were from a pre-Clovis culture, dating back more than 12, years. Although previous radiocarbon dating of the coprolites found at Paisley Caves showed that people lived there 12, years before the present, and used stone tools that were very different to the Clovis culture, there has remained much debate about DNA data from these coprolites.
Ancient DNA, especially from humans, has become a popular technique to look at early populations. This has led to debate about the DNA found at Paisley Caves, since it is known that water was moving through the caves periodically. As humans and animals produce different types of lipids – fats such as cholesterol in their gut, the research team, which also involved scientists and archaeologists from the universities of Bristol, UK, and Oregon, USA, analysed traces of lipids to identify whether they came from humans, dogs, or other animals.
Their results mean that archaeologists are able to confirm that the earliest known humans in the Americas were from a pre-Clovis culture, dating.
A team led by Newcastle University, UK, used analysis of ancient coprolites—fossilized excrement—to identify that samples from one of the most famous “pre-Clovis” sites at Paisley Caves, in Oregon, north America, contained human fecal biomarkers. Their results mean that archeologists are able to confirm that the earliest known humans in the Americas were from a pre-Clovis culture, dating back more than 12, years. For most of the 20th century it was thought that the earliest inhabitants in the Americas belonged to a single group known as “Clovis,” who left distinctive large stone tools in the archeological record.
While it is now largely accepted that there were several groups present on the continent before the Clovis culture, the dating of these “pre-Clovis” sites has been difficult as the stone tools are not often found with material that can be radiocarbon dated. Although previous radiocarbon dating of the coprolites found at Paisley Caves showed that people lived there 12, years before the present, and used stone tools that were very different to the Clovis culture, there has remained much debate about DNA data from these coprolites.
Ancient DNA, especially from humans, has become a popular technique to look at early populations. However ancient DNA found in sediments and coprolites is still considered by some to be an unreliable way to identify whether people were living in a particular location, as scientists don’t have a good understanding of how well it is preserved and how it moves within sediments. This has led to debate about the DNA found at Paisley Caves, since it is known that water was moving through the caves periodically.
As humans and animals produce different types of lipids—fats such as cholesterol in their gut, the research team, which also involved scientists and archeologists from the universities of Bristol, UK, and Oregon, U. Lisa-Marie Shillito, Senior Lecturer, Newcastle University, said: “The question of when and how people first settled the Americas has been a subject of intense debate. By using a different approach, we have been able to demonstrate that there were pre-Clovis populations present in the area of the Great Basin and resolve this debate once and for all.
The biomarkers in one of the samples revealed that there was mixed dog and human lipids and DNA present, suggesting that dogs were consuming human feces. This, and the fact that the coprolites were found alongside well-preserved material that was used to make baskets is helping researchers to better understand these early settlers and their way of life.