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Since the Clovis people hunted so often, they needed highly effective, light weight, and portable weapons, such as arrow heads and points.The most used weapon was The Clovis Point, a thinly shaped and mounted rock designed to break off upon impact.“The flaking patterns are also completely different,” he said.“These were not made using Clovis technology.” But the fact that these artifacts were different from, and deeper than, the Clovis points didn’t necessarily prove that they were older.
In addition to being some of the oldest yet found in the American West, the artifacts are rare traces of a culture that predated the culture known as Clovis, whose distinctively shaped stone tools found across North America have consistently been dated to about 13,000 years ago.
It was those finds that Wernecke and his colleagues went to investigate further, when they began working at the Gault site in 2002.
“At the time, we were interested in Clovis, and we had no idea of anything earlier there,” he said.
(Photo courtesy The Gault School of Archaeological Research) The team kept digging, and about 1 meter below the pavement and the Clovis tools, they found nine more flakes of shaped stone, along with a scattering of animal bones.
Assuming that material found below the Clovis pavement must be older than Clovis, the researchers were intrigued. “In Area 12, you have the pavement, lithics and bone, and not much else,” Wernecke said.
However, within this same, deep, older-than-Clovis layer of sediment, the researchers unearthed yet another compelling find — more than 90 stone tools, fashioned in a style that clearly wasn’t Clovis.