A team of researchers led by a Texas A & M University professor believes spearheads they unearthed in Central Texas…
A team of researchers led by a Texas A & M University professor believes spearheads they unearthed in Central Texas may be the oldest discovered so far in North America, according to a report published this week in Science Advances .
The spear points were found in 2015, about 40 miles northwest of Austin at the Debra L. Friedkin site, which is named for the property owner. Michael Waters, Texas A & M distinguished professor of anthropology and director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans, said the discovery could change the understanding of when and how the earliest people explored and settled in North America.
Based on dating or the sediment in which they were found, the researchers estimate the spear points to be between 1
3,500 and 15,500 years old. That would pre-date the Clovis culture, which Waters said had long been considered the earliest people to come to the Americas. The Clovis timeframe was around 12,700 to 13,000 years ago. Waters said the discovery of the points is significant because while stone tools have been found at almost all pre-Clovis sites, whole spear heads have yet to be found.
At the Friedkin site, the new spear points were found beneath a layer that held Clovis artifacts. Finding such artifacts in deposits directly below Clovis artifacts is what Waters describes as “the gold standard.” The projectile points, which were probably used for hunting, had two previously unknown styles that pre-date Clovis. Waters believes the discovery means that the earlier point style pre-dates the Clovis style, which has implications for migration and how people reached the Americas during the end of the last ice age.
Other researchers on the project were from Baylor University and the University of Texas. Their findings were published Oct. 24 in the journal Science Advances .