Researchers discovered more than 20 tools and hundreds of manufacturing debris from the Clovis Culture. Credit: Daryl Marshke/Michigan Photography

13,000-Year-Old Find Rewrites History of Human Migration in America–10 Things You Need to Know

Apparently, the discovered site was a short-term seasonal camp of a small group of hunter-gatherers that split from the main tribe.

American archaeologists have discovered the oldest site of hunter-gatherers who inhabited the area of the Great Lakes about 13,000 years ago. They managed to find spearheads and evidence of the manufacture of tools that belong to the archaeological Clovis culture. Previously, it was believed that this area was inaccessible to people during this period because of the glacier located here.


Everything you need to know about the Clovis culture and the new unexpected discoveries

The Clovis Culture

The Clovis culture existed in North and Central America about 13.5-10.8 thousand years ago. It got its name due to the discovery of a small number of tools near the city of the same name in the state of New Mexico in 1936-1937.

Representatives of the culture

Representatives of this culture, who are the genetic ancestors of all Indian tribes, were nomadic hunter-gatherers who specialized in hunting big game – mammoths, mastodons, and gomphotaria.

Earliest evidence

The earliest evidence of a group of such hunters, dating from around 11,550 BC, is found in the southwestern part of North America at the Sonora archaeological site.

Clovis culture point from around 13,000 years ago, discovered in 1962. Credit: British Museum
Clovis culture point from around 13,000 years ago, discovered in 1962. Credit: British Museum

Tools

The Clovis culture is characterized by its typical spearheads or darts, which are lanceolate, chiseled stone tools with a longitudinal groove on each side and a concave base. Finds of such objects are often found side by side with scrapers, choppers, and engraving points.

The Great Lakes

Independent researcher Thomas Talbot, together with scientists from the University of Michigan, discovered the oldest archaeological site of the Clovis culture in the Great Lakes region, 13 thousand years old, thereby rewriting the history of the settlement of the region. During this period, the territory of Michigan was covered with glaciers, which was believed to stop the earliest populations of people from staying here.

Occupancy

According to scientists, the site was occupied by a small group of people for six to seven years. It is located close to a river in southwest Michigan, making it the most northwestern home of the Clovis culture. Researchers believe that as the glaciers retreated, an environment was created into which fauna penetrated, attracting ancient hunters.

Hunter-gatherers

They noted that the Paleo-Indians moved in large groups, not staying anywhere for long. Ancient people were engaged in both hunting and collecting carrions, driving away other predators of the Ice Age from their prey. Apparently, the discovered site was a short-term seasonal camp of a small group that split from the main tribe.

Clovis points from a site in Iowa. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The new site

The discovered site was named Belson and is an area of ​​25 × 15 meters. At a depth of about 1.5 meters, archaeologists have found an untouched horizon containing a large number of tools, as well as fragments of stones, indicating that the inhabitants of the camp were making tools on the spot.

Discoveries

In total, scientists managed to find more than 20 stone tools, as well as hundreds of fragments that appeared during their manufacture. The arrowheads found are similar to the previously known ancient finds, designated as Gainey. They are characterized by a groove in the center of the spearhead.

Methods of the Clovis Culture

However, the new finds also demonstrate features characteristic of the Clovis culture technology, where the tools were made by the flaking method.


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Sources:

Ciaccia, C. (2021, August 26). Camp site of Clovis people, which mysteriously disappeared 11,000 years ago, found in Michigan. Daily Mail Online.
University of Michigan News. (2021, August 26). Farm field Find REWRITES archaeological history in Michigan.

Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. My experience as a freelance writer began in 2018 but I have been part of the Curiosmos family since mid-2020. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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