Jul 8, 2020   twilliams

Alan Slade Flake Scar Project

A significant part of my Clovis Flake Scar Pattern Project (CFSPP) up at the Texas Archaeological Research Laboratory (TARL) in Austin, is to carry out the data-collection and carry out a thorough analysis of the Clovis fluted points and late-phase fluted preforms, from certain assemblages that have been identified as being critical in my research. This part of my project has sadly been put on hold through the Covid-19 lockdown, but it has given me the opportunity to do the desk-based analysis on the material already obtained. It is hoped and expected that once we get back to ‘The New Normal’ more assemblages will be analyzed from collections that have already been selected prior to the lockdown.

In June 2019, my first visit was to Tucson Arizona, to carry out analysis on the Clovis point assemblages from several sites around the San Pedro Valley, Cochise County, AZ. The Clovis fluted points from three sites were made available by the staff at the Arizona State Museum (ASM) in Tucson. The mammoth kill and butchery site at Lehner, the lone mammoth kill site at Naco, and the kill / campsite location at Murray Springs were all looked at over a week-long analysis. It is hoped that more analysis will be carried out on these assemblages later in the year or early 2021, once the lockdown has eased.


The Arizona State Museum, Museum of Anthropology facility, Tucson, AZ.

I was particularly interested in the points from the Naco site, as this was one mammoth adult that had been punctured by at least eight spear points, had wandered off from the main kill area, and had died of its wounds a few miles away. The points were found inside the bone pile in the mid-1950 by the Emil Haury excavation team for ASM.


lovis points from the San Pedro Valley.

A few weeks later I found myself in Twin Falls, Idaho and was very fortunate to be given access to a remarkable collection of thirty or more Clovis artifacts. The Simon Clovis Cache represents some of the finest Clovis artifacts ever discovered. The cache is made up of bifaces in various stages of production, late-phase fluted preforms, and complete Clovis fluted points. There are over a dozen lithic raw materials present in the assemblage, but what is surprising is that no obsidian was used. Several theories have been put forward to explain the reasoning behind the burial of the cache. My personal favourite is that it was placed to appease the gods of an imminent volcano over 13,000 years ago. It apparently did not work, as there is geological evidence of an eruption that was contemporaneous with the cache.


The Simon Clovis Cache at the Herrett Center for Arts and Sciences, Twin Falls, ID.


Joey Heck and Alan M. Slade at the Herrett Center laboratory.

In October I visited Helena, Montana and was given access to some the Anzick Cache. Three families own the collection, and the artifacts are currently curated at the Montana Historical Society facility in Helena. On my visit, two of the collections were available for study. The assemblage is similar to that of Simon in that all stages of biface production was present; but unlike Simon, there were also other lithic artifacts present, as well as bone and ivory tools. The cache is also associated with some of the oldest human remains in the Americas and may represent an infant burial.


Part of the Anzick Clovis Cache that is in the Montana Historical Society museum, Helena, MT.

My final visit to date was in February 2020 to the Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas. I spent a week there looking at three separate Clovis caches. The Fenn Cache was discovered on the borders of Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho at some point in early 1900s. Mike Waters of the Centre for the Study of First Americans is currently curating the collection. I was also given access to the Hogeye Clovis Cache that was discovered in Bastrop County, Texasand the de Graffenried Cache that is believed to come from the Gault Site, Bell County, Texas.

The Fenn Cache is made up of a remarkable collection of Clovis fluted points in all phases of production, demonstrating a wide range of morphological and raw material variability. The Hogeye Cache is made up of just one toolstone type, a variety of Edwards Plateau chert, and represents a tool-blank / toolstone cache. The de Graffenried Cache is made up of one late-phase fluted point and four large ovate biface preforms. They are made on the same variety of Edwards chert that is found in the lower levels of the Gault site. On my last day at the facility, Mike Waters allowed me to carry out analysis on two Clovis fluted points from the Lehner mammoth kill site in Arizona. These two points make up the complete point assemblage from the site. These points, as well as the Leikem Clovis point, belong to the Naverette family, owners of the Lehner Ranch.


The Anthropology Building at Texas A&M, College Station, TX.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the staff from these facilities for their cooperation, support, and constructive input whilst I was carrying out my research. Special thanks to: Dr. Todd Pitezel, Associate Curator of the Archaeological Collections in Tucson, AZ.; Joey Heck, Exhibits and Collections Manager in Twin Falls, ID.; Amanda Streeter Trum, Curator of Collections in Helena, MT.; and Prof. Michael Waters, Director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans in College Station, TX.

Thank you all.

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