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May 21st, 2010
Texas State faculty publishes book on Clovis tools

STAFF REPORT

A new book published by faculty at Texas State is the first complete look at the stone and bone tool technologies of Clovis Culture, which flourished about 13,500 years ago and was long thought to include the first human inhabitants in the Americas.

The book, Clovis Technology (International Monographs in Prehistory, Archaeological Series 17), is co-authored by Texas State archaeologist Michael B. Collins, who also directs the Gault archaeological site in Central Texas, the world’s largest Clovis excavation.

Co-authors include Bruce A. Bradley, director of the Experimental Archaeology Master’s Programme at the University of Exeter, and C. Andrew Hemmings, Mercyhurst College. Contributors include Jon C. Lohse, Director of Texas State’s Center for Archaeological Studies, and Marilyn Shoberg of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory.

The book, illustrated with drawings and photos, covers the Clovis Culture’s making and use of stone blades, bi-faces and small tools, as well as artifacts such as projectile points, rods, daggers, awls, needles, handles, hooks and ornaments made from bone, ivory, antler and teeth. It examines the tools used to make other tools, such as billets, wrenches, gravers and anvils, and explores how Clovis Culture acquired and transmitted stone tool production.

It is estimated that more than 60 percent of known Clovis artifacts have come from the Gault site near Florence. The Clovis are believed to have arrived in the Western Hemisphere from Asia by walking across the Bering Land Bridge between 11,000 BC and 8,000 BC. Recent discoveries of stone and bone artifacts predating Clovis have convinced most archaeologists that a culture existed in the Americas at least 500 to 1,000 years before Clovis, possibly arriving by boat and on foot.

“Our book, the first thorough examination of Clovis technology, is a step towards determining what came before Clovis,” said Clark Wernecke, executive director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research. “By starting with what we know, we can look for indications of what came before.”

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