Archaeological excavations carried out in Texas have served to discover a very peculiar tool: a spearhead whose approximate age has been dated to about 15,500 years, which makes it the oldest weapon ever found in North America.
Published in the Journal Science Advances, scientists from Texas A&M University have presented evidence of a culture that predates the Clovis.
Clovis is the name scientists have given to distinctive tools made by people in America starting some 13,000 years ago.
This prehistoric Paleo-Indian culture is considered to be the ancestor of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas.
This new discovery raises new questions about the settlement of early peoples on the continent.
The spearpoints were found at the archeological site of Debra L. Friedkin, and could point to the existence of two separate migrations into North America, one earlier than previously thought, explain researchers.
“There is no doubt these weapons were used for hunting game in the area at that time,” explained professor Michael Waters, head of anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M.
“The discovery is significant because almost all pre-Clovis sites have stone tools, but spear points have yet to be found. These points were found under a layer with Clovis and Folsom projectile points.”
“Clovis is dated to 13,000 to 12,700 years ago and Folsom after that. The dream has always been to find diagnostic artifacts – such as projectile points – that can be recognized as older than Clovis and this is what we have at the Friedkin site.”
Speaking to Gizmodo, Professor Waters said that “Given the age of the Debra L. Friedkin site—early people carrying stemmed points likely arrived by entering the Americas along the Pacific coast.”
“Later lanceolate point forms like Clovis may have developed from the stemmed point forms or a second migration of people carried some sort of lanceolate point, like the triangular lanceolate form we found at the Friedkin site, and this developed into Clovis, he added.