The Clovis age hand-dug well located within the South Bank area of the Blackwater site got an unexpected visit from its original excavator this summer. Shirley East, pictured above standing in the well, was a regular face around the Blackwater site between 1962 and 1969. Shirley was a crew member for many of the excavations at the site and actively involved with the Paleo-Indian Institute of Eastern New Mexico University.
Shirley and her husband visited the museum and site in early August while in town for business. Shirley’s last visit to the site was in 1993 when she was summoned to help locate the long-backfilled well as part of a mapping project with ENMU and the Smithsonian Institute. Shirley located the well in no time happily stating, “well its just right there!”.
Shirley shared many stories from those early days and even offered to share her knowledge of those excavations of yesteryear. The Blackwater site was certainly honored to receive the visit, and I am personally thankful for her extended hand of help.
As an added bonus, I learned that Shirley was the artist who painted the Pleistocene animals on display at the Blackwater museum and worked diligently to prepare displays for its Grand Opening in 1969. The Blackwater Draw Museum was first opened to the public primarily to display artifacts discovered at the Blackwater Locality.