Clovis Points

January 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin leads the cultural resource management firm that bears his name, R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., serving as CEO, President, and Director of Research. The company works extensively with clients engaged in building or reinforcing infrastructure projects to ensure compliance with laws and regulations addressing the preservation of significant cultural resources. Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin’s colleague and the director of the firm’s Lithic Useware Program, Dr. Charlotte Pevny, recently co-authored Clovis Lithic Technology, a book about the tool- and weapon-fabricating technology of the Clovis people, who lived in what is now the Southwest United States.

Archaeological explorations near the town of Clovis, New Mexico, in the 1930s uncovered evidence of a human settlement dating back to about 11,000 BC. The artifacts recovered included cutting tools and spear points. The stone points were shaped and sharpened by striking them with a hard object, chipping off small flakes. The distinctive shape of the points, as well as the way they were crafted, became associated with what is known as the Clovis culture. The Clovis people carefully crafted their points from both sides and often employed a technique called pressure flaking, akin to a wood carving technique called chip carving, to achieve very sharp edges.

Numerous so-called Clovis sites have been uncovered and identified through the recovery of the same type of point together with the remains of animals like mammoth, mastodon, bison, tapir, and sloth. The wide range of the Clovis points indicates either that the culture was very successful and proliferated across the continent, while others believe it was not the culture that spread, but that their superior technology was copied by other cultures.

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