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The Clovis

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Tiny Pink Utah Arrowhead Believed 11,000 Years Old


By James Donahue

November 2005


Identified as a Clovis point by archaeologists, the small pink colored carved arrowhead, or spear point, has caused some excitement among historical researchers because it is the oldest artifact yet found at Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.


Archaeologists believe the point may have been crafted between 10,000 and 11,000 years ago by an ancient people identified by the name Clovis. The name comes from similar artifacts found in the early 1930s near Clovis, N.M.


Instead of flint, the point is made of a stone that is not indigenous to the area, said local archaeologist Matthew Zweifel. It has fluted edges that gradually smooth out where the point attaches to the shaft. A point of this type is considered extremely rare.


At question is how a Clovis point wound up where it was found. The major Clovis finds have been on the Great Plains where points and bone tools and campsites have been uncovered among the remains of extinct animals, including mammoths.


Some Clovis artifacts also were found in New Mexico and Arizona, but few in the Rocky Mountain region, archaeologists say.


The Clovis people are believed to be among the first North Americans. They were skilled hunters of large animals, including Ice Age mammoths and mastodons. They were skilled in the use of plants for food and equipment. And they possessed a keen ability to seek out the best sources of flint for their finely crafted points and tools. They also found ochre that they used as a red pigment.


One writer described the Clovis as “pragmatic, realistic and able to live effectively – through their own ingenuity – in previously unknown territories. Clovis people were creative enough to make their technology work for many generations, so we should not be surprised if they did not always behave as we believe they should have.”


The Clovis stone and bone method of manufacturing tools is uniquely recognized by their fluted points.


They lived here roughly between 10,900 to 11,400 years ago.


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