clovis and later paleoindian traditions 10 000 8 000 b c n.
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Clovis and Later Paleoindian Traditions (10,000-8,000 B.C.). Technology, Subsistence, and Settlement. Paleoindian Chronology. Early Paleoindian (10000 B.C. to 9000 B.C.) The first subperiod, Early Paleoindian, is characterized by Clovis or Clovis-like large fluted stone points.

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clovis and later paleoindian traditions 10 000 8 000 b c

Clovis and Later Paleoindian Traditions(10,000-8,000 B.C.)

Technology, Subsistence, and Settlement

paleoindian chronology
Paleoindian Chronology
  • Early Paleoindian (10000 B.C. to 9000 B.C.)
    • The first subperiod, Early Paleoindian, is characterized by Clovis or Clovis-like large fluted stone points.
    • Great mobility of the Paleoindians of this subperiod is suggested by the finding of stone tools and debitage traded or transported by these small bands over hundreds of kilometers from their quarry source.
    • Megafauna of the Late Pleistocene was found in these three environmental zones.
middle paleoindian
Middle Paleoindian
  • 9000 B.C. to 8500 B.C.
  • The second subperiod, the Middle Paleoindian, is characterized by a number of fluted and unfluted points, both larger and smaller than Clovis points.
  • This subperiod is viewed as a time when the population was adapting to optimum environmental resource zones instead of randomly moving throughout the Americas.
  • Concentration on specific zones and resources may account for the variation in the stone points of this subperiod.
late paleoindian
Late Paleoindian
  • 8500 B.C. to 7900 B.C.
  • The last subperiod, the Late Paleoindian, is characterized by Dalton and other side-notched-style points.
  • The replacement of fluted point forms by nonfluted points is believed to reflect a change in the adaptive strategy, away from hunting Late Pleistocene megafauna toward a more generalized hunting of small, modern game, such as deer, and a collecting subsistence strategy within the southern pine forests as they replaced the boreal forests.
early paleoindian clovis nm
Early Paleoindian-Clovis, NM
  • The Clovis culture takes its name from the town in New Mexico, where the striking stone projectile point characteristic of the tradition was first found.
  • Similar Clovis points have been found in every region of North America south of the glaciers.
pleistocene mammals
Pleistocene Mammals

Clovis points are found in association with the bones of Ice Age animals in sites in many areas of North America and document both the importance of big game hunting and the effectiveness of early Paleo weaponry. The species exploited included mammoths, who grazed on the tundra grasses and mastodons who browsed on the spruce needles. Giant, long-horned bison provided a secondary food source.

humans caused extinction of large pleistocene mammal
Humans caused extinction of Large Pleistocene Mammal?
  • Martin Hypothesis
    • Humans came in, spread rapidly and were able to hunt down species easily. 32 species gone by end of Pleistocene.
  • Humans or Climate?
  • New study-Asteroid
clovis point
Clovis Point

The point pictured at the top of this page, was found in Pike County, Illinois. It is made from fine white chert which has minute, rust colored inclusions. It is fluted on both sides.

clovis points
Clovis Points
  • It's distinctive characteristics include a central groove, or flute, along both of its faces and finely worked edges.
  • The typical blade measures 10-13 cm in length by 4 cm in width and was produced by a combination of percussion and pressure flaking. The fluting allowed hafting to a wooden spear shaft to make a formidable weapon.
other clovis points
Other Clovis Points

Knife River Flint, western North Dakota. The rarity of points and absence of other artifacts or signs of settlement suggests the presence of small groups who made only infrequent visits to the province in the course of their movements.

kimmswick mastodon kill
Kimmswick Mastodon Kill

kimmswick site
Kimmswick Site
  • The Kimmswick site is located 20 miles south of St. Louis, Missouri and near the small historical town of Kimmswick. It's situated about 417 feet above sea level on a terrace abutting a 65 foot limestone bluff and occupies a small area at the confluence of Rock and Black creeks, approximately one mile from the Mississippi River.
  • The Kimmswick site has had a long history of excavation. Beginning in 1839 Dr. Albert Koch unearthed skeletal remains which were later identified as Mammutamericanum and later sold to the British Museum of Natural history in 1844 where they are still on display.
  • In 1897 C.W. Beehler rediscovered the site  and later built a small on-site museum in 1900 which housed hundreds of fossil bones. Several excavations followed Beehler but the most extensive were those of Robert McCormick Adams in the 1940's who left the most complete record of the site.
kimmswick clovis point
Kimmswick Clovis Point


East Wenatchee Cache, Washington in 1987. The site is located in an apple orchard near the Columbia River in central Washington. The initial find was made by workers who were digging a ditch for an irrigation pipe line.

other clovis sites
Other Clovis Sites
middle paleoindian folsom traditions 9 000 8 000 bc
Middle Paleoindian-Folsom Traditions 9,000 - 8,000 BC
  • The course of the Paleo Period was marked by a gradual warming trend and the retreat of the glaciers and eventually of the large bodies of water, such as Lake Agassiz, formed by their meltwaters.
  • Environmental changes led to the extinction the mammoth and other megafauna and encouragedchanges in hunting strategy, technology and social organization of hunting groups.
  • About 11,000 years ago (9000 B.C.), the Folsom culture, also known as the Lindenmeier culture, replaced previous Clovis ways of life.
environmental conditions
Environmental Conditions
  • The warming trend had a major effect on vegetation and the herd animals that depended upon it.
  • On the land, the grasslands which were supported by dry, warm conditions, expanded northwards, replacing the spruce forest habitat of the mammoth with one more suitable to bison herds.
  • The species of that time, Bison antiquus, was larger than the modern Bison bison and had longer horns.
bison antiquus
Bison antiquus

folsom technology
Folsom Technology
  • During the brief thousand year period of Folsom occupation, Native peoples were able to quickly adapt to a changing environment through modifications in resource use, weaponry and hunting strategy.
  • They effectively exploited the giant bison which then roamed the grasslands in large numbers.
folsom points
The Folsom tool kit maintained many of the characteristics of the previous Clovis tradition.

The new projectile points had thinner blades and were smaller, possibly in response to the efficiencies of bison hunting or to facilitated hafting to a spear point.

Folsom Points
atlatl technology
Atlatl Technology
  • Folsom points may also have been a response to the advent of a new weapon.
  • Although direct evidence is lacking, some archaeologists believe that the atlatl or spear thrower was introduced at this time.
  • This hunting accessory served to increase the length and leverage of the hunter's arm, causing the spear to be thrown further and with increased velocity.
folsom subsistence and settlement
Folsom Subsistence and Settlement
  • While archaeologists are not certain how bison were hunted 10,000 years ago, historical accounts of bison hunting by Natives on the Plains can be interpreted through ethnographic analogy to suggest techniques which may have been employed.
  • For example, the Jones-Miller site in Colorado is a 10,000 year old bison kill site where remains of about 300 animals were found in an arroyo.
  • The animals were mainly cows with nursing calves suggesting a late fall kill site. Later historical accounts relate that bison were driven into snow filled arroyos where they became mired, so that they could be more easily dispatched by the hunters.
bonfire shelter texas
Bonfire Shelter, Texas

mile canyon downstream from bonfire shelter
Mile Canyon, downstream from Bonfire Shelter

bonfire bison
Bonfire Bison

This almost complete skeleton of a yearling bison calf was found in the lower part of Bone Bed 3. Apparently it was buried beneath other fallen bison carcasses and was never butchered.

late paleoindian 8500 7900 b c
Late Paleoindian 8500-7900 B.C.
  • Changing climate-end of Ice Age
  • More land opening due to reduction in ice sheets, but less land due to sea level rise.
  • Pleistocene mammals extinct by 8000 B.C.
history of subsistence studies at dust cave
History of Subsistence Studies at Dust Cave
  • Vertebrate Faunal Remains
  • Invertebrate Faunal Remains
  • Plant Remains
vertebrate faunal remains
Vertebrate Faunal Remains
  • Majority of remains in Late Paleoindian (LP) are Avifauna (with emphasis on ducks and geese) & this lessens but continues in Early Side-Notched (ESN).
  • Habitats exploited in LP & ESN were likely wetlands & dry uplands.
  • Very few large mammals (white-tailed deer) represented in both LP & ESN.

R. Walker 1998

invertebrate faunal remains
Invertebrate Faunal Remains
  • Mussel species found in small creeks and tributaries comprised approximately 40% of assemblage.
  • Also species of mussels which could have been collected from the shoals area of the Tennessee River.

P. Parmalee 1994

plant remains
Plant Remains
  • Abundance of nutshell, particularly from hickory.
  • Also hackberry, grape, pokeweed black walnut, black gum and acorn.
  • Most plant resources probably collected from August to November.

P. Gardner 1994, K. Detwiler n.d.

refinement of subsistence with increased sample of faunal remains
Refinement of Subsistence with Increased Sample of Faunal Remains
  • Late Paleoindian
    • New sample collected from units to the East and West of the entrance trench.
    • Sample includes better defined stratigraphic zones (particularly U) and radiocarbon data.
  • Early Side-Notched
    • Sample from entrance trench.
    • Refined distribution based on recent stratigraphic and radiocarbon data.
dust cave
Dust Cave

View of the cave during early testing of the

site. The buckets mark the front of the opening.


View of the test trench excavated between

1990 and 1994, the supports were removed briefly to photograph the extent of the trench and then replaced.


View of test unit A showing microstratigraphic concentrations of anthropogenic sediments (left side and lower area of unit) and pit features (upper right side of unit).


The east side of the site, showing the

microstratigraphic layers. The white tags in the wall have the zone designations.

  • Burning-Dark Brown or Black
  • Calcined-Whitish or Gray
  • Cutmarks-Skinning, Disarticulating
  • Ingested-Worn and Pitted
  • Rodent Gnaw Marks-Long Parallel Striations
  • Carnivore Gnaw Marks-Punctures and U-shaped Grooves





0 10 20cm

  • Branta canadensis* (Canada Goose)
  • Humerus “cache”
  • Cutmarks on many specimens
  • N62W66 @ 405 cmbd
  • NISP=20
  • Located adjacent to Radiocarbon sample: 10,020 +/- 40 rcybp

*Data from Parmalee 2001 (p.c.)

subsistence transitions between late paleoindian and early side notched components
Subsistence Transitions between Late Paleoindian and Early Side-Notched Components

Late Paleoindian

  • High numbers of Avifauna, particularly Ducks and Geese.
  • Very High Richness, Diversity and Equitability Measurements.
  • More even distribution of aquatic and terrestrial habitat exploitation than previously suggested (i.e. Walker 1998).
  • Greater quantities of butchered bone, particularly Medium Mammal (i.e. Beaver) and Waterfowl.
subsistence transitions between late paleoindian and early side notched components1
Subsistence Transitions between Late Paleoindian and Early Side-Notched Components

Early Side-Notched

  • High quantities of Avifauna, but also numerous fish and mammals represented.
  • Richness moderate-high, diversity and equitability high, but less than Late Paleoindian.
  • Habitat Utilization extremely different from previous analysis: higher numbers of aquatic fauna than terrestrial, perhaps due to greater numbers of fish in this assemblage.
conclusions late paleoindian
Conclusions: Late Paleoindian
  • The new richness, diversity and equitability measurements suggest that a highly diversified economy was utilized.
  • While the new Late Paleoindian data suggest avifauna were important, there seems to be less of a reliance on aquatic habitats then previously suspected.
  • However, some specialization my have occurred as indicated by the “cache” of goose humeri.
conclusions early side notched
Conclusions: Early Side-Notched
  • Avifauna (of both aquatic and terrestrial species) continue to be important.
  • Richness, diversity and equitability data indicate moderate-high patterns of generalization, suggesting a trend towards greater specialization in resource selection.
  • New data suggest Aquatic habitats had greater significance than previously suspected.
were large mammals primary food source during the paleoindian period
Were Large Mammals Primary food source during the Paleoindian Period?
  • Large mammals common on Paleoindian Archaeological sites.
  • Mastodon kills-Kimmswick
  • Bison kills-Bonfire
  • Was this because they were the most common prey or most obvious on the landscape??