First Arizonans

It has been said that the “Clovis-First” model has caused some archeologists not to explore the pre-Clovis sediments. But what archeologist worth his or her salt would refrain from excavating below a Clovis level?

Clovis is a modern label for a Paleoindian culture that lasted about 500 years. A Clovis point ( a spear point uniquely grooved or fluted on both sides) is a technological signature for people who produced this artifact.

Sixty miles northeast of Prescott, an archeologist surveying east of the Juniper Mountains picked up a lithic remnant. A spear launched 13,000 years ago had missed, breaking the distinct point precisely at the lashing.

At Whitewater Draw (southeastern Arizona), 136 small milling stones rested atop the bones of mammoth, horse, bison, and dire wolf—a signal of change in life’s expectation. Archaic metates had basin-shaped grinding surfaces, and manos fitted into one hand. Gathered seeds and plants were ground into meal or pulp, and tough critters (like packrats and mice) were tenderized between the stones…..

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