Clovis crafted distinctive tools around 13,000 years ago, inventing the "Clovis point", a spear-shaped weapon made of stone largely indigenous to Texas and northern New Mexico, although it is also found in other areas of the United States.
Through excavation of the Debra L. Friedkin site northwest of Austin, Texas, a team of archaeologists has identified a particular style of projectile point dated between 13,500 and 15,500 years ago - this is earlier than typical Clovis-style technologies dated to 13,000 years ago.
The discovery of stone spear points at a site outside of Salado that may be the oldest weapons ever found in North America could challenge accepted theories about when the first humans arrived.
The team found more than 100,000 artifacts, including 328 tools and 12 complete and fragmented projectile points (about 3-4 inches, or 7.6-10.2 cm, long), excavated from the Buttermilk Creek Complex horizon of the Debra L. Friedkin site. Clovis is dated to 13,000 to 12,700 years ago and Folsom after that.
Additional coauthors are from Texas A&M, Baylor University, and the University of Texas. The Debra L. Friedkin site has been an archaeological site for 12 years.
"This is the kind of research that's going to push the peopling of the New World story forward", says Todd Braje, an archaeologist at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco who was not involved in the work. But archaeological evidence suggests that people made it all the way to Monte Verde, Chile, at least 14,500 years ago, and there are other, more controversial sites in the Americas that suggest they were peopled even earlier. For decades, the Clovis population was considered the first people to enter the North American continent, according to Science Daily.
Archeologists found the ancient spear points in Texas under several feet of sediment they believe to be roughly 15,500 years old.
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