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Archaeologist publishes first complete look at Clovis technology

By Ann Friou
University News Service
May 20, 2010

Clovis Technology

A new book on the stone and bone tool technologies of Clovis Culture (13,500 years ago), published by faculty at Texas State University-San Marcos, is the first complete examination of the tools themselves and how the Clovis culture used them and transmitted their production.

The book, Clovis Technology (International Monographs in Prehistory, Archaeological Series 17), covers the Clovis Culture’s making and use of stone blades, bi-faces and small tools as well as artifacts such as projectile points, rods, daggers, awls, needles, handles, hooks and ornaments made from bone, ivory, antler and teeth. It examines the tools used to make other tools, such as billets, wrenches, gravers and anvils, and explores how Clovis Culture acquired and transmitted stone tool production. The book is generously illustrated with drawings and photos.

Clovis Technology is co-authored by Texas State archaeologist Michael B. Collins, who also directs the renowned Gault archaeological site in Central Texas, the world’s largest Clovis excavation. Co-authors include Bruce A. Bradley, director of the Experimental Archaeology Master’s Programme at the University of Exeter, and C. Andrew Hemmings, Mercyhurst College. Contributors include Jon C. Lohse, director of Texas State’s Center for Archaeological Studies, and Marilyn Shoberg, Texas Archeological Research Laboratory.

It is estimated that more than 60 percent of known Clovis artifacts have come from the Gault site near Florence. Until recently, Clovis technology was believed to represent the Americas’ earliest human inhabitants, having arrived in the hemisphere from Asia by walking across the Bering Land Bridge between 11,000 B.C. and 8,000 B.C. However, recent discoveries at Gault and elsewhere, of stone and bone artifacts predating Clovis, have convinced most archaeologists that a culture existed in the Americas at least 500 to 1,000 years before Clovis, possibly arriving by boat and on foot.

“Our book, the first thorough examination of Clovis technology, is a step towards determining what came before Clovis,” said Clark Wernecke, executive director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research. “By starting with what we know, we can look for indications of what came before.”