Skip to comments.Clovis Man Turns 75, Plus 13,000
Posted on 02/12/2004 12:54:45 PM PST by blam
Clovis Man turns 75, plus 13,000
By MICHELLE SEEBER
Clovis News Journal
CLOVIS, N.M. He lived among saber-toothed cats, hunted giant mammoths and bison and was smart enough to dig water wells.
Other than that, even thousands of years later, we still don't know much about the people known collectively as Clovis Man.
Last week marked 75 years since a local amateur archaeologist discovered Clovis Man at Blackwater Draw, about 14 miles southwest of Clovis in eastern New Mexico.
Clovis people lived between 11,500 and 13,000 years ago. Since Clovis Man's discovery, evidence has surfaced that prehistoric man's first North American appearance may have been on the East Coast, but many researchers still favor Clovis Man as the oldest.
In the time of Clovis Man, Columbian mammoths and giant bison roamed the Plains with saber-toothed cats, dire wolves, giant horses, camels, giant ground sloths and big turtles.
"The Columbian mammoth stood almost 14 feet at the shoulder, weighing 8 to 10 tons," said Matt Hillsman, curator of the Blackwater Draw Museum north of Portales. "One mammoth consumed about 700 pounds of vegetation a day."
If Clovis Man hunted these mammoths, many companions may have helped haul the prey home.
Maybe Clovis Man scavenged the mammoths, some have speculated.
"We don't know," Hillsman said. "We don't know specifically what the Clovis Man ate. We don't know what he wore. We don't know what he looked like. We've never found any skeletal evidence of these people, but we know they were here" because they found arrow points made of flint in the skeletal remains of mammoths and bison.
Radiocarbon dating of these arrow points and bones show Clovis Man is certainly the earliest known human occupant of this region, if not in North America.
The earliest recorded finding of the arrow points and mammoth bones was on Feb. 5, 1929, by a 19-year-old man named Ridgley Whiteman.
Whiteman, who died last summer in Clovis, knew the value of his find, said Anthony T. Boldurian, professor of anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh in Greensburg, Pa. He said Whiteman "immersed himself in native lore and became an avid student of Native American legends and myths."
"During summer vacations from grade school (Whiteman and his uncle, T.M. Caldwell) trekked across the Southwest, visiting parks, museums and other educational spots," Boldurian said.
Included in their jaunts were the Colorado Museum of Natural History in Denver, where Whiteman first saw a dinosaur skeleton. They also visited Exposition Park in California, where they saw exquisitely preserved bones and lifelike recreations of Ice Age animals, Boldurian said.
Also, as a teenager, Whiteman mastered the "lost art" of making arrow points, Boldurian said.
Whiteman wrote three letters, the first on Feb. 5, 1929, to the Smithsonian Institution, urging researchers to look at the site where he found mammoth bones, Boldurian said.
Several years later, researchers learned Clovis Man used carved mammoth bone to create shafts attached to arrow points.
They also learned from bones in Blackwater Draw that Clovis Man was surrounded not only by mammoths, but tapirs, four-pronged antelopes, tampulama, llamas, deer, short-faced bears, shovel-toothed amebeledons, beavers, armadillos and peccary.
Scientists believe Clovis Man also created the earliest water control system in the New World. Wells dug by Clovis Man have been found at Blackwater Draw that indicate climate fluctuations and variable water tables in one of the most stable spring-fed lakes of the past.
Layers of sand that can be dated indicate Clovis Man dug these wells.
Hillsman said the Clovis people could have eaten mammoth, but the importance of the find is that "Clovis man is the oldest well-documented evidence of early occupation" in North America.
I was born in Clovis. My dad was born and raised there. I spent many summers in Clovis with my grandparents. I've got lots of fond memories from those times. I haven't been back since my aunt died in 1987. Clovis is about 10 miles from the Texas state line. We used to go to rooster fights down in Lubbock. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. :) Btw, I didn't know the Clovis man. I just feel that old. lol..
Hmmm. Ideal candidates for President.?
It's a bit like some of the academics who still insist Marxism is the wave of the future:they said so,and they published reams of papers,and staked their reputations on the premise,therefore,they cannot be wrong !
As to the "Solutrian Solution"....very few take it seriously-tempting as it might be.
And not surprisingly, Clovis Man is a registered Democrat that has voted in the last 12 presidential elections!
I was especially taken with the recitation of all the currently extinct, animals that existed only 13,000 years ago. Some of the "sky is falling" ecologists, the "endangered species" charlatans and especially the "kill your SUV" climatologists should take note of this and (if it's not asking too much) learn from it.
From the article:
saber-toothed tigers, dire wolves, giant Columbian mammoths (14 feet at the shoulder, weighing 8 to 10 tons), giant horses, camels, giant ground sloths and big turtles.
Were these extinctions caused by...
Natural climate fluctuations?
Their "time" had just come and gone?
Over hunting by the indigenous peoples of America, who we are told did not selfishly ravage the environment and were more in tune with nature?
And about climate...
Wells dug by Clovis Man have been found at Blackwater Draw that indicate climate fluctuations and variable water tables in one of the most stable spring-fed lakes of the past.
Imagine that, climate can (and does) change all on its own without any help from man! Will wonders never cease?
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Close but, I think Buddy was in Lubbock. "Maybe Baby"
I can recall some Mammoth bones which had these beautiful spear points embeded in the bone. The bones were from a dig in the San Pedro Valley. These Clovis points and mammoth bones were on display for many years at the Arizona State Museum at the University of Arizona. That would seem strong evidence that these people were quite skillful hunters.