Horse Toe Bones and 14,000 Year Old Human Shit


The oldest known evidence of human presence in North America is some pieces of shit excavated from Paisley Cave, Oregon.  Carbon-dating of this feces indicates humans crapped in the cave about 14,350 calendar years ago.  The contents of these turds consists of bison, dog, bird, fish, grass, and sunflower seeds.  One study found the amount of cholesterol and phosphate in the crap points to an animal with a vegetarian rather than an omnivorous diet, and the authors of this paper don’t believe it is human manure.  They suggest the human DNA extracted from the specimens are a result of contamination from people mishandling it.  However, the contents were mostly animal matter, so I don’t understand how the naysayers who authored this paper can come to this conclusion.  Other scientists note the presence of wolf or fox DNA in the crap.  The scientists who are convinced the turds are human believe…

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Happy International Museum Day!!

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Originally posted on the Virtual Curation Laboratory:
by Bernard K. Means This week I am doing research at the Museum of Himalayan Archaeology and Ethnography at HNB Garhwal University in Srinagar (Garhwal), Uttarakhand, India.  I’m not quite ready to discuss…

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End of a Chapter

I officially stepped down today as the Director and driving force of the Clovis Site and Museum (a.k.a. Blackwater Draw National Historic Landmark). It was with mixed feelings that I decided it was time to move on from what has really been my life’s work and the focus of my professional thought for most of twenty years.  I was thrilled and honored to officially open with our new exhibit focusing on the 85 years of work at the Clovis site as well as the broader material cultures of the Southern High Plains.

Happily, I was joined by former Director John Montgomery, Curator Jenna Domeischel, ENMU President Steve Gamble, and Jim Warnica (Jim has been affiliated with the Clovis site for 80 years!).

With over 160 people in attendance throughout the day, we were nearly run off our feet.  The local preschool thought it would be a great idea to “drop in” with 25 pre-Kindergarten-age kid’s while we were still opening up!  It was a litmus test for sure.

I would like to personally thank our student staff for the great help they provided today and during the months leading up to the opening: Tawnya Waggle, Rogun Hamm, Patricia Byers (not present today), Malikah Rashid, and Stacey Bennett, whose many concepts and designs are present in the new displays.

I hope my affiliation with the Clovis site does not end here but has created a new chapter in this vast resource with so much still to give.

~GT Crawford



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Visit Cahokia

This should be on the “bucket list” of anyone interested in America before the Europeans.  It is an enormous prehistoric city across the river from present-day St. Louis.  Even though much has been lost through carelessness, development, and the ravages of time, there is still much to see, do, and learn from this remarkable place.

Here’s an older video from the Interpretive Center that gives a nice overview.  I can’t wait to get back to Cahokia.  New mysteries are discovered every year.

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Student Research Posters, Part 2

This gallery contains 10 photos.

Originally posted on the Virtual Curation Laboratory:
This past Wednesday, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (VCU UROP) sponsored an undergraduate research poster symposium.  Among those presenting at the VCU UROP symposium were students in my Visualizing and Exhibiting…

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Student Research Posters, Part 1

Originally posted on the Virtual Curation Laboratory:
by Bernard K. Means This past Wednesday, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (VCU UROP) sponsored an undergraduate research poster symposium.  Among those presenting at the VCU UROP symposium were students in…

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Appreciate Your Museums While They’re Around

Here are a few facts on this fun graphic.  Print and share!


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Suzanne Eckert Lecture; Telling their story through clay

Upcoming lecture at ENMU.


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Bison antiquus… in 3D!

When Dr. Selden was scanning pottery and artifacts from the collections earlier this year he took time to record a few of the spectacular bones from our many kills at the Clovis site. Here is a movable 3D scan of a partial Bison antiquus skull found in Clovis context.  If that’s not interesting, I don’t know what interesting is.

Thanks to Robert “Zac” Selden for sharing this data with our blog.

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Near Fort Sumner, New Mexico Next Week? Why not visit the Bosque Redondo Memorial for some food and history?

It’s a remarkable and important place in American history. I would suggest it as a visit by anyone traveling in the West. This special event will give even more perspective.



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Can We expect to Find Ice-Age Artifacts in the Newly Melting Ice?

Our friends at Secrets of the Ice have some answers…

The melting of mountain ice in recent years has led to the recovery of artefacts dating back to the Stone Age. The finds appear to be getting older and older as the ice melts back. This begs the question: How old can the artefacts from the ice actually get? Is it possible that future melting could reveal finds that date back to the last Ice Age?


Head over to their website for more information in this ever-growing topic. There’s even a photo of our old field colleague Craig Lee with the damaged, but preserved Yellowstone dart that dates back to beyond 10,000 B.P.

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Pleistocene Pecans (Carya illinoinensis)

Thoughts about Pleistocene pecans.


The pecan tree is 1 of 17 species of hickory trees.  Hickories are native to North America and Asia and formerly occurred in Europe, but Ice Ages, beginning about 2.5 million years ago, wiped them out there.  European mountains have an east to west orientation, while American mountains are oriented north to south.  Hickories prefer temperate climates, and the east-west mountains blocked their retreat in Europe during glacial expansions.  This explains why hickories and so many other tree species survived Ice Ages in North America but not in Europe.

Evidence of fossil pollen grains suggests hickory trees grew alongside dinosaurs during the late Cretaceous, though the oldest fossil hickory nut dates to about 34 million years ago.  Most early hickory species had thin shells, but they evolved thicker shells about 38 million years ago in response to the evolution of tree squirrels.  Squirrels love the nutrient rich nuts, so hickories evolved…

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