Thursday, 5 March 2009

Guest post: Clovis tools found

What's In Your Backyard? A Cache Of Clovis Stone Tools! by Pitch313
A rare, undisturbed cache of Clovis stone tools maybe 13,000 years old was discovered in a Boulder, Colorado, backyard. Analysis reveals that some of the tools were used to butcher ancient camels and horses. The University of Colorado at Boulder web site offers an excellent account of the find and its archaeological context, including a striking set of images of the tools and the site.

Using a search engine for a phrase like Clovis tools Boulder CO brings up many other pages.

The location of the find is within the Boulder city limits. Bunches of stone tools being weighty, Clovis folk apparently did bury tool caches as they roamed their territories. A landscaper found this cache buried about 18 inches deep. In the past, the site formed part of a natural drainage. Nobody, apparently, had any clues about its presence.

What gets me about this find, really, is that it was right in somebody's backyard. Not out in the back of beyond. And it was, after erosion and human earth moving activities, not all that deep. Makes we wonder about other sorts of ancient artifacts and sites we might literally be living on top of and walking over every day.

As a Pagan, I find it interesting that this cache was hidden right in a city. Did Pagans and psychics and dowsers not pick up any traces or indicators? Does this suggest a magically or psychically "dead" cache. Was the cache magically hidden by the Clovis folk who buried it? Or do we take our backyards so much for granted that we never even think to look there. I certainly never looked for ancient finds in my little patch of Northern California backyard, even though it did hold a few unusual creatures and interesting old trash from previous occupants.

The Clovis people were early Paleoindian immigrants to North America. They ranged over the West. Materially, the hallmark of Clovis culture is beautifully knapped stone points, called Clovis points. In college, I had an opportunity to look at and handle a couple of them. As the University of Colorado at Boulder article points out, they do have a sort of touch magic that recalls something of the ancient days.

13,000-Year-Old Stone Tool Cache in Colorado Shows Evidence of Camel, Horse Butchering

The Mahaffy Cache consists of 83 stone implements ranging from salad plate-sized, elegantly crafted bifacial knives and a unique tool resembling a double-bitted axe to small blades and flint scraps. Discovered in May 2008 by Brant Turney -- head of a landscaping crew working on the Mahaffy property -- the cache was unearthed with a shovel under about 18 inches of soil and was packed tightly into a hole about the size of a large shoebox. It appeared to have been untouched for thousands of years, Bamforth said.

(Pitch313 has given permission for this article to appear on Pagans for Archaeology; it is copyright the author, Pitch313).

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