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Clovis Paleoecology and Lithic Technology in the Central Rio Grande Rift Region, New Mexico

  • Marcus J. Hamilton (a1), Briggs Buchanan (a2), Bruce B. Huckell (a3), Vance T. Holliday (a4), M. Steven Shackley (a5) and Matthew E. Hill (a6)...


Clovis sites occur throughout the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, but are poorly documented in the central Rio Grande rift region. Here, we present data from two relatively unknown Clovis projectile point assemblages from this region: the first is from the Mockingbird Gap Clovis site and the second is from a survey of the surrounding region. Our goals are to reconstruct general features of the paleoecological adaptation of Clovis populations in the region using raw material sourcing and then to compare the point technology in the region to other Clovis assemblages in the Southwest and across the continent. Our results show that both assemblages were manufactured from similar suites of raw materials that come almost exclusively from the central Rio Grande rift region and the adjacent mountains of New Mexico. Additionally, we show that Clovis projectile points in the study region are significantly smaller than the continental average. Our results suggest that Clovis populations in this region operated within a large, well-known, and relatively high-elevation territory encompassing much of northern and western New Mexico.


Sitios de la cultura Clovis ocurren por toda la región sudoeste de los Estados Unidos y el noroeste de México, pero no están bien documentados en la región del Rift de Río Grande. Presentamos datos de dos ensamblajes de puntas de proyectil relativãmente desconocidos de esta región: el primero es del sito Mockingbird Gap y el segundo es de una inspección del área al rededor de este sito. Nuestras metas eran reconstruir las características generales de la adaptación paleoecológica de la población Clovis en la región usando la identificación de la proveniencia de materias primas, y luego comparar la tecnología de puntas en la región a otros ensamblajes de la cultura Clovis. Nuestros resultados demuestran que ambos ensamblajes fueron creados con juegos de materias primas que provienen casi exclusivamente de la región del Rift de Río Grande y las montañas colindantes de Nuevo Mexico. Adicionalmente, demostramos que las puntas de proyectil Clovis en la región de estudio son significativamente mas pequeñas que el promedio en el continente. Nuestros resultados sugieren que las poblaciones Clovis en esta región operaban dentro de un territorio grande, bien conocido, y de elevación relativamente alta que cubría una gran parte del norte y el oeste de Nuevo Mexico.



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