Projectile Points from the Upper Magdalenian; expanding horizons beyond North America

Projectile insets and backed pieces from the Upper Magdalenian of La Madeleine (Tursac, Dordogne, France), new data from lithic technology

Alexis Taylor, in Paleo, Revue d’Archeologie Prehistorique


From a reconstruction, Magdalenian bladelettes in antler spear point.

I never lost interest in the Upper Paleolithic of Europe despite the fact I ended up living half a world away.  The Magdalenian is when things become especially interesting technologically (to me) in Europe.  Have a look at this article (in English even) for some insight into tools from La Madeleine and even some interesting information for the modern knapper who wishes to replicate this ancestral toolkit.  I think, in the rare cases where bone and antler preserve in the New World, we could benefit from looking at this technology as an analog for Clovis.


Stone tool fragments are not the end-all of Upper Paleolithic or Paleoindian technology but a small part of a much wider system for surviving in a complex world.  It is worth looking beyond our constructed borders to learn as much as we can without wearing self-imposed blinders.


Have a look at the rest of this short, but interesting article HERE.

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Pleistocene Megafauna Wallows and Southern Appalachian Bogs

George Crawford:

Interesting thoughts ahead, or jump to the associated paper here:

Originally posted on GeorgiaBeforePeople:

The wallowing, trampling, and foraging of Pleistocene megafauna probably maintained the open character of mountain bogs in the southern Appalachians during the Ice Ages.  Bogs were common natural environments during moist interstadials when cool temperatures reduced evapotranspiration rates and total precipitation increased.  Bogs occurred near the headwaters of mountains rivers and upper piedmont streams on flat poorly drained sites.  Boggy communities were “embedded” in mixed forests of pine, spruce, oak, and beech; and they provided a diverse array of habitats for wildlife.  Beavers created some bogs by damming streams.  The backwaters flooded depressions created by the wallowing activities of mastodons, horses, bison, peccaries, and possibly the extinct stag-moose (Cervalces scotti).  Scientists don’t know whether Cervalces scotti wallowed or not–some species of deer such as the present day moose wallow while other species do not.  Abandoned beaver ponds succeed to wet meadow communities consisting of herbs, grass, and sedge; thus…

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Failed in Production

Here’s a closer look at a Clovis point that appears to have failed in production.  It looks like it was carried around and used as a general cutting tool in it’s second life-cycle then dropped near a mammoth kill.  Beautiful material and we aren’t quite sure of the source.

DSC_0161This one would have been on the large side for a spear point in our area.  The long flute may hint at it’s demise.

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Large Pleistocene Carnivores Kept Megaherbivore Populations in Check

Originally posted on GeorgiaBeforePeople:

A brand new study suggests large packs of big carnivores kept populations of megaherbivores in check during the Pleistocene.  This finding seems like a no-brainer, but some paleoecologists believe megaherbivores suffered little mortality attributable to predation and were instead limited by the availability of plant resources.  The results of this study imply that large carnivore predation of megaherbivores was beneficial for the environment as a whole.  Lowering the overall population of megaherbivores prevented the landscape from being denuded and protected vegetated habitats for birds and other small animals.

The authors of this study compared tooth size and shoulder height between large Pleistocene carnivores and modern carnivores.  They determined that Pleistocene carnivores were on average 50%-100% larger than modern day carnivores.  This greater size gave them the ability to better prey on megaherbivores.  Even though these carnivores were larger, they likely needed to hunt in packs to take down such megaherbivores as…

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2015 Atlatl Day at Blackwater Draw

It’s been seven years since this fell on Halloween and it was great to see people dress in costume to come out; especially the little kids.

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Thanks to all who attended and supported the Mu Alpha Nu Atlatl Day again this year.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  A big thank you goes to Aaron, Lincoln, Trish, Laura, Becky, Mara, and the rest of the club whom I’m forgetting this morning, for picking up the slack and getting things together in a hurry.  Corey, as usual, handled the office and business end of things during the competition.  Overall, attendance was only slightly down due more to some specific conflicts of date rather than the late advertising.  We missed the enormous group that often comes from NMMI and a couple of the groups from the central valley that have participated in the past.  It is a very long drive.

There were 76 people at the pavilion area at the beginning of the contest and a mid-day car count was 46.  We think (it’s hard to keep track) that we had about 150 total throughout the day.  Aaron counted a total of 35 competitors signed in with a LOT more small children than we have ever had in the past.  We may need to make a contingency course for them in future.

We owe a debt gratitude to Tommy Heflin again for providing some pretty exciting prizes in the form of signed replica Clovis points he made specifically for the event.  He and his wife, Joletha, decided to go forward with the annual pig and turkey roast at their amazing house, again at their own expense.  He is the only person who has attended every one of these since before they were even an official event back in the late 90s.

I sincerely hope that Mu Alpha Nu ATLATL DAY at BLACKWATER DRAW continues as a student led, club event.  It was a lot to handle this year but everything, down to the weather came out perfectly.  Thank you again to everyone who helped make this happen, against some mysterious and ridiculous resistance from unexpected quarters.  I believe it was a great time for everyone who participated and we received many personal “thanks” from community members.

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Another Clovis Point

A bit more from the photography sessions.

Resharpened Clovis point made from Edward's Plateau chert, ca. 4 cm long.

Resharpened Clovis point made from Edward’s Plateau chert, ca. 4 cm long.

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Spring Polished

DSC_0162 (3)This little beauty was found associated with the main spring head at the Clovis site back in the 1960s.  Like other lithic tools in that area, it exhibits a silky, slippery polish.  People have thought it was plastic at first sight.

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Clovis Point

This is not the most beautiful Clovis point in the world but hey, it came from a mammoth kill site and is still in one piece.

Excuse the raw nature of this lab photo.

Excuse the raw nature of this lab photo.

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Folsom Point

Just because it’s a beautiful piece of craftsmanship.

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The Art of Aaron Kuehn

For students of anatomy, here is an interesting Typogram to help in learning the names of bones on a human skeleton.

Here's the link to Aaron Kuehn's website:

Here’s the link to Aaron Kuehn’s website:

He has some other interesting art as well including a Typogram of human musculature:


Enjoy, and maybe throw a little business his way in appreciation.

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Here are a few wildlife photos from around the Landmark.  Being surrounded on three sides by industrial agriculture has created an island refuge on the property.  Having the most topography in the county creates some micro-climates and environments not found elsewhere.  In the past weeks we have spotted coyote, gray fox, eastern and western bluejays, barn owls, a slew of various hawks, kangaroo rats, mice, deer, rattle snakes, gopher snakes, coachwhip snakes, roadrunners, and probably a dozen other things I am forgetting.  Enjoy.

And yet another gopher snake. Some of these get remarkably large on a diet of wood rat, mice, and other rodents.

Another gopher snake. Some of these get remarkably large on a diet of wood rat, mice, and other rodents.

Coachwhip in the garden.

Coachwhip in the garden.

Roadrunner hatchling. I snatched this photo while the parents were away scooping up horned lizards to feed the little ones.

Roadrunner hatchling. I snatched this photo while the parents were away scooping up horned lizards to feed the little ones.

The ubiquitous gopher snake. It's a miricla more of them don't get run over as they haunt the parking lots throughout the day.

The ubiquitous gopher snake. It’s a miracle that more of them don’t get run over as they haunt the parking lots throughout the day.

And finally, one of the many mantises that arrive every fall to clean up the small insect population.

And finally, one of the many mantises that arrive every fall to clean up the small insect population.

Unfortunately, I don’t generally carry a camera so it’s just a lucky day when I have one handy.

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Survival of the Fittest and Dwarfism–A Paradox

George Crawford:

Interesting thoughts on the place of dwarfism in natural selection.

Originally posted on GeorgiaBeforePeople:

The concept of natural selection forms the basis for the Theory of Evolution.  Environmental forces select the fittest members of each population to pass on their genes.  Most people think survival of the fittest means selecting the biggest, fastest, and strongest; and that is often true.  However, insular evolution (the evolution of species on islands) shows that survival of the fittest can mean the opposite as well.  During the Pleistocene many species of megafauna became stranded on islands.  Islands are often devoid of large predators.  Megafauna evolved to a greater size in response to predation, so without the presence of predators, there was no longer selective pressure toward a larger size.  Smaller individuals were just as likely to survive.  Moreover, these smaller individuals had an advantage on islands where less food was available.  On continents megafauna could migrate to different regions when forage became scarce, but they didn’t have this…

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