Ziegler Public Archaeology Presentation

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Blackwater Draw Site:

Blackwater Draw Site By Casey Ziegler University of Maryland University College


Introduction There are several regions in the world that answer questions about our world history, migration and how we have evolved as humans. Blackwater Draw site, Locality 1 in Portales, New Mexico holds prehistoric evidence of the Clovis culture which is the oldest positively defined culture group in North America dating back approximately 13,500 B.P. This site holds records of human activity on the Southern High Plans from the end of the Ice Age through Modern Times. It has been one of the largest Paleo-Indian artifact-producing sites and was the first multi-cultural Paleo-Indian site found. In addition to the Paleo-Indian artifacts this site is also where the Clovis Point artifact was found, which is the oldest and widest distributed artifact in North America.

Introduction :

Introduction Additionally, the site is the largest producing site of all Llano mammoth kill sites in the world, with over 28 mammoth remains excavated from the site. The Blackwater Draw site was home to several different generations of Paleo-Indians. “The Stratigraphic records for this site are remarkable, with the Clovis culture at the lowest level followed by the Folsom level, the Portales Complex, and Archaic level” (ENMU, n.d). The culture, climate and resources available characterized the life of the Paleo-Indian during each time period. The Blackwater Draw site, Locality 1 was home to several generations of the Paleo-Indian because of its optimal climate and available resources.

Blackwater Draw Site & Museum Portales, NM :

Blackwater Draw Site & Museum Portales , NM Blackwater Draw site is located in Portales situated on a Southern High Desert Plane in Eastern New Mexico This site was home to four generations of Paleo-Indians; Clovis , Folsom, Portales, and Archaic The first Paleo-Indian to settle the site were the Clovis age over 13,000 B.P. The site was used as a hunting camp for large Ice-Age animals like the Llano Mammoth

Excavation :

Excavation The site was discovered in 1929 and was first excavated by Dr. E. B. Howard and Dr. John Cotter from the University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. Howard and Cotter excavated the site from 1932 to 1936, during which time it was called “The Clovis Site”. Later E.H. Sellards excavated the site from 1948 to 1956, and was able to provide documentation of the Clovis people, Folsom people as well as the Portales Complex” (ENMU, n.d).

Theories :

Theories Why Clovis People Settled at the Blackwater Draw Site As the world underwent huge climate shifts at the end of the Ice Age the Clovis people migrated using the Barring Strait during dry periods allowing travel from Alaska to Canada and into North America. The Clovis people were following herds of Bison, Mammoths and Horse. The site provided a significant water source, with an oval pond that was a few feet deep that was spring-fed. Herds of mammoth, bison and horse fed on the grasses and drank from the pond, which was also home to turtles and shellfish. There were several other smaller animals that fed off the site as well including muskrats, water birds, squirrels, foxes, rabbits, and mice.

Significant Artifacts :

Significant Artifacts Clovis age artifacts found: “one single, 2 cm long tubular bone bead, pointed bone tools that were ground from large mammal bones that was more than likely used as a spear point, six bone rods that were used for killing mammoths, along with twenty-eight mammoth carcasses, and one small ivory billet” (ENMU, n.d). One of the most interesting features was the evidence of stockpiling raw materials like Prismatic Blades. These blades were not produced at this site, however two confirmed cache pits were discovered containing the blades indicating long-range planning. Additionally , there were a small percentage of stone type tools including “crude, heavy lithic artifacts such as hammerstones, choppers and cores. The majority of tools recovered from the Clovis culture were constructed out of bone and ivory” (ENMU, n.d).

Significant Artifacts :

Significant Artifacts The Clovis Point A significant find at this site was the large Clovis Point that was found in the rib carriage of mammoth, which was the preferred target of the Clovis hunter. The Clovis point is the “oldest well-established point in the New World. The points were almost always fluted by removing a channel flake from one or both sides, facilitating hafting. These points were made from percussion flaking and ranged from one to five inches in length” (S. Smith, 1996).

Structures :

Structures Water Control System Lastly one of the significant features of the Blackwater Locality No. 1 is the “earliest water control system in the New World. Clovis age and Archaic age wells were found here, indicating climate fluctuations and variable water table in one of the most stable spring-fed lakes of the past, providing a much needed water source in times of drought. The Clovis age hand dug well is located on the east side of the south bank at the site” (ENMU, n.d).

Important Issues :

Important Issues During the early excavation of the site, it was done by armature archaeologists and as a result there are significant gaps in the sites records One of the main issues for the Blackwater Draw Site and museum is the seasonal spikes in its out reach program. During the winter months the site is closed, and the museum experiences a low number of supporters and visitors.

Volunteer & Education Opportunities :

Volunteer & Education Opportunities Eastern New Mexico University Archaeology department continues to excavate the site. “ A bright future exists today with our ability to conduct more in-depth and controlled studies of the site. The studies will provide much-needed information about campsites and other types of activities that occurred in this early time period. In addition, research of the upper levels may yet define more recent cultures and the sequence of events that occurred in the past. Many questions remain about more recent groups of people that visited this famous site, leaving their arrowheads and pottery” (ENMU, n.d. )

Volunteer & Education Opportunities :

Volunteer & Education Opportunities The site and museum staff keep education a top priority for neighboring counties and conduct classroom visits and facilitate tours for kindergarten through twelfth grade. The site also hosts the annual Atlatl Competition and Prehistory day to enhance education and volunteer opportunities.

Conclusion :

Conclusion The culture, climate and resources available characterized the life of the Paleo-Indian during each generation. The Blackwater Draw site, Locality 1 in Portales, New Mexico holds prehistoric evidence of the Clovis culture, which is the oldest positively, defined culture group in North America. The records of the site provide evidence on several generations of Paleo-Indian’s activity on High Plans from the end of the Ice Age through Modern Times. Many of the Paleo-Indian artifacts at the site provide insight to the lifestyle and culture of the Paleo-Indians. The stratigraphic records providing records far beyond the Clovis age people, solidifying how the climate and resources available impacted the culture and characterized the life of the Paleo-Indian.

Conclusion :

Conclusion There are still significant artifacts at the Blackwater Draw site that have yet to be excavated. The Archaeology Department of Eastern New Mexico University continually excavates the Blackwater Draw site along with the occasional assistance from other Institutions.

References :

References A. Boldurian, (2008) North american archaeologist: clovis type-site, blackwater draw, new mexico : a history, 1929-2009, Retrieved from https ://illiad-umuc-edu.ezproxy.umuc.edu/illiad/ illiad.dll A. Boldurian, (2013) Clovis revisited: new perspectives on paleoindian adaptations from blackwater draw, new mexico, Retrieved from https ://illiad-umuc- edu.ezproxy.umuc.edu/illiad/ illiad.dll Eastern New Mexico University “ENMU” (n.d), "The Clovis Site" - Blackwater Locality 1 NHL Retrieved from http://www.enmu.edu/services/museums/blackwater-draw/locality.shtml

References :

References J. Saunders, (November 1991) A mammoth-ivory burnisher-billet from the clovis level, blackwater locality no. 1, New Mexico. Retrieved from https ://illiad-umuc-edu.ezproxy.umuc.edu/illiad/ illiad.dll S. Smith, (August 1966) A comparison of whole and fragmentary paleo-indian points from blackwater draw, Retrieved from https:// illiad-umucedu.ezproxy.umuc.edu /illiad/ illiad.dll L. Stuart, (2007) Crossing the Great Divide, Retrieved from https ://illiad-umuc-edu.ezproxy.umuc.edu/illiad/illiad.dll

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