|Figure One - Wide range of High Plains Folsom Points from Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota. |
Could you identify these projectile points as Folsom? Longest point is 1.9 inches long. John Branney Collection.
|Figure Two - The finale and third book in the SHADOWS ON THE TRAIL TRILOGY|
|Figure Three - The first book in the TRILOGY. |
CLICK THIS LINK TO OWN BOOK
Ever since the discovery of the now famous Folsom, Clovis, and Plainview sites in the earlier part of the 20th Century, there has been an ongoing effort to identify and categorize different Paleoindian projectile points into specific projectile point types. Before the discovery of these sites, archaeologists and collectors lumped most Paleoindian projectile points into a broad category called Yuma, named after the town in Colorado where collectors were finding these artifacts.
One Paleoindian projectile point type that had a very broad geographic distribution is Clovis. Collectors and archaeologists have found Clovis-like points in forty eight states and Canada. Clovis projectile points are normally fluted, just like Folsom, but Clovis projectile points exhibit a lot more variation than Folsom, as far as dimensions, shape, and manufacturing processes.
There are several reasons that explain this variation within the Clovis projectile point type. Clovis People did not work from blueprint diagrams or have specifications when they knapped a fluted projectile point. Additionally, all prehistoric flint knappers were not created equal. The creation of Clovis projectile points came from people with different levels of skill, experience, and creativity, ranging from novice to expert. Thirdly, these Paleoindian flint knappers had to deal with a broad range of raw materials. Some raw material was just better for creating projectile points than other materials, this resulted in varying quality between one projectile points. The bottom line is that we should expect variability in quality, dimensions, and sizes in Clovis projectile points.
If these Clovis-like fluted projectile points came from the Clovis culture, one way to explain it is through a process called ‘drift’ where we see a changing of the standard through time within groups of people who share a same cultural ancestry. Drift can occur in any given culture and can happen for various reasons, including isolated populations, innovation, or evolving needs in a changing environment. As an example, when mammoths and mastodons became hard to find, Clovis people adapted their weaponry to new food sources, therefore, we would expect a change in the dimensions of the projectile points they used.
|Figure Four - Clovis - like regional variants from eastern U.S. (Haynes 2002) Were these made by the same|
Clovis culture discovered in the west or different cultures who copied fluting technology?
|Figure Six - Clovis-like points from Nova Scotia, New York, and Main. |
(Haynes 2002) Boy, they sure look like my Colorado Clovis
above (fifth point).
Bottom line is that there are a variety of reasons that a single point type such as Clovis shows variation between different projectile points. This does not mean that these regional variants are not Clovis projectile points represented by a Clovis culture.
Now, I am going to say goodbye for now with this food for thought. Let's return to WINDS OF EDEN to see what happened between the elder and the children. School is back in session.
|Figure Seven - GHOSTS OF THE HEART, the third book in the TRILOGY.|
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