The Testimony of Hands

Clovis Point

Location of Belen, N.M.
68.94.5, Clovis point of chert
Clovis culture (11,500–11,000 B.C.)
Found near Belen, New Mexico
Gift of Pat Mills
Photograph by C. Baudoin

Archaeologists continue to argue about when humans first arrived in North America, but most agree that the first Americans were Ice Age hunters from northeast Asia. From the Alaska area the new immigrants probably spread throughout the New World in perhaps a thousand years. If this seems rapid, remember that one millenium represents at least fifty generations. Members of the founding populations of the New World are known as Paleoindians.

The first undoubted archaeological complex in North America, the Clovis complex, includes atlatl points with basal "flutes" (channels). The example shown here is 7.5 centimeters (3 inches) long, but the size can vary greatly. To see other Clovis points, as well as a contemporary point style from the eastern U.S., click on the thumbnails below.

65-3-1 2011.14.1 36.42.157

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All content copyright © Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, University of New Mexico. High-resolution versions of photographs may be ordered from the photo archives. Please make note of the catalogue numbers. For more information please visit the photo archives web page

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