January 18, 2019

Oldest Weapons Ever Discovered in North America Pre-date Clovis

28 October 2018, 03:09 | Edward Lowe

Oldest Weapons Ever Discovered in North America Pre-date Clovis

A 15,000-year-old projectile of the stemmed point tradition

Researchers from Texas A&M, Baylor University, and the University of Texas have uncovered what they believe to be spear points that were used by human hunters as far back as 15,500 years ago.

Through excavation of the Debra L. Friedkin site northwest of Austin, Texas, a team of archaeologists has identified a particular style of projectile point dated between 13,500 and 15,500 years ago - this is earlier than typical Clovis-style technologies dated to 13,000 years ago. What's more, the uniquely shaped spear points lay buried beneath tools from the Clovis culture, dramatically demonstrating that the Clovis people were not the first to arrive in the Americas, as archaeologists long believed.

"There is no doubt these weapons were used for hunting game in the area at that time", Texas A&M University anthropologist Michael Waters, one of the lead researchers on the dig, said. Because it was created earlier, the researchers hypothesized that the newly discovered spear points in the archeological site in Texas might have influenced the creation of Clovis Point and other subsequent projectile weapons. Pre-Clovis projectile points at the Debra L. Friedkin site, Texas-Implications for the Late Pleistocene peopling of the Americas, Science Advances (2018). The Clovis culture is dated 13 000-12 700 years, and Folsom is the youngest.

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The Clovis people invented the "Clovis point", a spear-like weapon which has been discovered in portions of the US and Mexico.

"The findings expand our understanding of the earliest people to explore and settle North America", Professor Waters said. "Now we are starting to see this complexity mirrored in the archaeological record". This monument of archeology have been intensively studied over the last 12 years.

The article, "Oldest weapons ever discovered in North America pre-date Clovis." . Those weapons were made to hunt animals, including mammoths and mastodons, from 13,000 to 12,700 years ago. The North Star Archaeological Research Program and the Elfrieda Frank Foundation funded the work.

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Waters and colleagues suggest that once developed, the lanceolate fluted point technology (associated with Clovis) could have spread over much of North America into northern Mexico, or alternatively, the stemmed and lanceolate point traditions may be evidence of two separate human migrations into North America.

Clovis points are unlike other spear tips because of their "flutes", or vertical grooves chipped into each side of their bases.

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