Texas Almanac, 1992-1993 Page: 29
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ANCIENT TEXANS 29
This distinctive artifact (each side
shown) found across Texas is a
Clovis point. Both sides of the
point have been fluted to fit on the
end of a shaft. It could be used as
a projectile point or as a knife for
butchering game. This point,
found by Fern Rater Fry near
Prospect, Rains County, in 1926, is
new, showing no evidence of
sharpening. Photo courtesy of Lar-
From Page 27.
According to Dr. Ferring, the campsites are in pris-
tine condition, appearing to have been used only once
and for a short period of time, probably less than a sea-
son. The people came, harvested animals and possibly
wild nuts and berries and left, never to return. One thing
for certain, they left nothing of value, only the daily ref-
use of a Stone-Age society.
The stone used for making tools was imported from
the Alibates Quarry on the Canadian River and from
other places in West Texas. The Alibates flint was popu-
lar among prehistoric people, being found across Texas
and beyond. It is tough to chip and has to be fired to re-
move moisture and become malleable, a feature appar-
ently appreciated by early stone nappers.
Several different environmental studies have been
conducted on the site, which will probably give archae-
ologists the best picture yet of a period of prehistoric life
in North Central Texas.
Fewer than 10 Clovis sites have been excavated in
Texas. One site initially thought to be much younger was
re-evaluated as a Clovis site based on the presence of an-
other diagnostic artifact, the so-called Clovis blade (see
sketch on page 30). The blades were recognized as a Clo-
vis technology in 1963 by F.E. Green of Texas Tech Uni-
versity at the time. Though not as good a marker as the
projectile points, within the proper setting the blades are
useful in identifying Clovis sites.
Using these blades as a diagnostic tool, Dr. Michael
Collins, a research associate at the Texas Archeological
Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin, deter-
mined that the Kinkaid site in Uvalde County, excavated
in 1948 and 1953, was a Clovis site. It is a young one, how-
ever, dating only about 10,000 years old.
The site gave a broader view of the Clovis culture
than that of the typical nomadic hunter-gatherer. At Kin-
kaid, occupants had moved more than two tons of stone
into a rock shelter to fill a low spot and paved the floor to
provide additional living space. It was the oldest evi-
dence of "anything approaching architecture" in Texas,
Dr. Collins says.
Until this site was determined to be from the Clovis
culture, archaeologists had thought these hunters did not
use rock shelters. The site also laid aside another theory:
that the Clovis people hunted big game exclusively.
Bones of several small- and medium-sized animals were
found in the shelter, indicating the hunters took a wide
range of game. The Kincaid site also provided an inti-
mate view of the stone-working technology of the Clovis
culture, both points and blades.
Clovis blades also have been found in Navarro and
Taylor counties. In Navarro County, a bulldozer turned
up a cache of several blades. Since the surrounding
earth had been disturbed, no analysis could be made of
the site. But apparently the blades had been buried for
At the Yellow Hawk site in Taylor County, some
blades and points were found near an ancient quarry.
Most surprising of the locales where Clovis points
turn up is McFaddin Beach in Jefferson County where
more than 25 of the artifacts have been found in recent
years. Authorities, like Dr. Meltzer and Larry Banks, ar-
chaeologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Dal-
las, think the points are eroding out of sites now under
the Gulf and washing onto the beach. The artifacts are
not smooth and rounded as they would be expected to be
if they had been moved a great distance by water across
As interesting have been bone fragments that have
turned up in material dredged from the floor of the Gulf.
The pieces of bone show evidence of having been butch-
ered, indicating again that humans probably inhabited
the Gulf plain of Texas. In the Pleistocene Epoch at the
end of the last great Ice Age, these plains extended up to
100 miles farther south when the formation of huge gla-
ciers dropped sea levels nearly 400 feet.
The whole theory of Clovis man's appearance in the
New World fits together rather neatly and has been in
vogue for half a century. No evidence of Clovis has been
found south of Panama and very little below the Rio
Grande. But troubling sites keep turning up in Mexico
and South America, indicating the presence of man ear-
lier than the 11,500-year threshold embraced in the Clovis
Dates of most of the sites in Mexico and South Amer-
ica have been challenged for one reason or another and
are still subject to debate. Dr. Tom Dellihay of the Uni-
versity of Illinois (and a graduate of the University of
Texas at Austin) has excavated a site in southern Chile
known as Monte Verde. Radiocarbon reading from
material in an upper stratum at this site dates 13,000
years old, well older than the Clovis sites in North Ameri-
ca. Material from another lower stratum has radiocar-
bon dated to be more than 30,000 years old and doubtless
will be challenged by demanding critics. Still, the 13,000-
year dating of the upper stratum deflates the Clovis the-
Chances are that other sites in South America and
Mexico also may prove to be much older than normally
accepted. So the entire Clovis theory could be shaky.
Or is it? Banks thinks the evidence is accumulating
to support another hypothesis: Clovis was a secondary
culture. It developed when climatic changes at the end of
the last Ice Age raised sea levels and forced early hu-
mans to change their life styles.
The earliest immigrants in Banks' scenario would
have been a sea coast people who settled on the west
coasts of North and South America, moving southward
rapidly after first contact. The population would have
been supplemented by later migrations of people
across the Bering land bridge. That probably was be-
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Kingston, Mike. Texas Almanac, 1992-1993, book, 1991; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth279642/m1/33/: accessed June 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.