ENMU curates a large collection of cultural materials and fauna from the Blackwater pond area.  The artifacts represent a human presence in the area from the end of the Pleistocene through late-prehistory; in all over 12,000 years.  Faunal remains from the site extend back even further into the last ice age.  The most ubiquitous animals represented in the collections are bison, followed by mammoth, and a variety of other plains animals including deer, pronghorn, fox, and wolf.

As part of the site’s long-term goal, portions of the Archaic and Paleoindian-age bone beds have been left intact and preserved under a building. This project preserves the faunal remains in a display fashion for the public to view just as they were uncovered by the archaeologists.  Preservation of bone is generally good at Blackwater draw, as most of the bones were covered by sediments almost immediately after deposition.  Aggradation occurred in some cases by water deposition, and later by wind-blown silt and sand.  The photo below shows a portion of the late-Paleoindian kill-site.


The site, as well as the Clovis “culture” generally are associated with the distinctive projectile points identified here in the early 1930s.  Although known for showing little variation in morphology across most of North America, there is some real variation, within a ideological type at this site and elsewhere.



Click the image to see more points.

A range of Clovis types.

dsc_0162“Classic” Folsom

And rounding out the set…

ABA fine example of Agate Basin technology.

Its amazing to think that this, along with so many other early point types are consistent in form and technique over thousands of miles.  This specimen is made from Alibates flint, probably from the Canadian River area over 200 km away.

The tool we refer to as an endscraper in the Paleoindian tool-kit is much more than a tool fro scraping hides (if it was ever used for this at all).  There are projects underway currently looking at these interesting tools and attempting to understand their full range of functions.  Click the photo below to see more “endscrapers” from the collection:

Click the point above for more late Paleoindian tools.


8 Responses to Collections

  1. Mike says:

    I’m curious about the image that shows a range of Clovis types. I assume, perhaps incorrectly, that these are not all from the Blackwater Draw site/sites?


    • paleotool says:

      Those are all indeed from Blackwater Draw. I will look closer this week but I believe all of those are from the same area at the North Bank Kill Locality. There is a remarkable range of variation, re-working, and technique in this site; even in a single kill event.


  2. Mike says:

    Many thanks, George —

    Sorry for the delay; only just realized a message had been posted.

    Is there any resource to see additional images from Blackwater Draw? Or a specific text you’d recommend on the site?

    – all the best,

    • paleotool says:

      Unfortunately there is no single overview of the site after Hester’s 1972 “Blackwater Locality No. 1” which is somewhat limited by its age and hard to find. Holliday has a decent description of the site in “Geoarchaeology of the Southern High Plains” but most information about the site is in journal articles. See the Bibliography.

  3. Volker Lange says:

    Volker Lange
    Trollingerweg 1
    71554 Weissach im Tal

    Dear Sirs

    You show a bone-bed-closeup image on your page. Is it possible to get a bigger one in dimensions and / or a bigger image.

    Sincerely, Volker Lange from Germany.

  4. Pingback: Clovis Points from Blackwater

  5. Joe Donathan says:

    When I was a small tyke living between Portales & Clovis NM on a dryland farm my dad and older brother and I took a team of horses and wagon to Blackwater Draw to get sand and gravel to pour some cenent at our farm. I don’t recall a lot about our visit. I can remember the small little lake. At that time I’m sure that people didn’t realize the importants of the site. I recall that there was a porous rock we would toss in the lake and it would float for a few seconds. Which amazed us because we had never seen a rock float. I am not a archaeologist but I can only assume that the rocks was actually a bone of some sort. I am 76 years old and the visit was a long time ago and it is hard to recall all that we saw and did.

    Joe Donathan

    • Paleotool says:

      Thanks for the comment. I’m sure that was bone that floated! A lot of people didn’t really understand how important this site was and is. It is certainly unique. Come visit sometime.

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