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The Folsom (Paleoindian) Type Site: Past Investigations, Current Studies

  • David J. Meltzer (a1), Lawrence C. Todd (a2) and Vance T. Holliday (a3)

Abstract

Research on the Folsom Paleoindian type site, involving renewed field investigations and an analysis of extant collections from the 1920s excavations, was undertaken between 1997 and 2000. The preliminary results of that research show that all excavations to date have been in the kill area, which took place in a small and relatively shallow tributary to the Pleistocene paleovalley of Wild Horse Arroyo as well as in the paleovalley itself. Preliminary butchering of ∼32 Bison antiquus took place near where the animals were dropped. The kill area is dominated by low-utility bone elements and broken projectile points; high-utility bones and tools for processing meat and hides are rare or absent, and either occur in another, as-yet undiscovered area of the site, or altogether off-site. Faunal remains are generally in excellent condition. Those in the tributary are mostly in primary context, and underwent rapid burial beneath fine-grained (dominantly aeolian) sediments, which in turn were subsequently armored by a shingle shale; those in the paleovalley experienced postdepositional transport and redeposition. The small lithic assemblage is dominated by projectile points and comprised of material mostly from two sources in the Texas panhandle, several hundred kilometers southeast of the site. It also includes stone obtained from sources at comparable distances north and northwest of the site. A series of radiocarbon ages is available for the stratigraphic units, nearly all from charcoal of non-cultural origins; radiocarbon dates on bison bone put the age of the kill at 10,500 B.P.

Résumé

Entre 1997 y 2000 se llevó a cabo una nueva investigación en el sitio tipo paleoindio Folsom, que incluyó trabajos de campo y tin análisis de las colecciones existentes de las excavaciones de la década de 1920. Los resultados preliminares de esa investigación muestran que todas las excavaciones hasta el presente fueron en el área de matanza, que tuvo lugar en un tributario pequeño y angosto delpaleovalle del Arroyo Wild Horse, así como también en el paleovalle mismo. El descuartizamiento preliminar de aproximadamente 32 Bison antiquus se realizó cerca de donde los animates fueron lanzados. El área de matanza está dominada por elementos de hueso de haja utilidad y de puntas de pwyectil fracturadas, huesos de alta utilidad e instrumentos para procesar came y cueros son escasos o ausentes, es decir que se encuentran en otra area del sitio aún sin descubrir, o fuera del sitio. Los recursos faunísticos están en general en condiciones excelentes, los del arroyo están en gran parte en contexto primario, y fueron cubiertos rápidumente bajo sedimentos de granofino (predominantemente eólicos), los cuales a su vez fueron cubiertos por una gravilla de esquistos; aquellos encontrados en el paleovalle fueron transportados y redepositados. El pequeño conjunto lítico está compuesto predominantemente por puntas de pwyectil, incluye en gran parte materiales de dos recursos localizadas en el extremo oeste de Texas, a varios cientos de kilometros al sudeste del sitio. Tambien incluye piedra adquirida de recursos a cientos de kilómetros al noroeste y al norte del sitio. También incluye piedra adquirida de recursos a cientos de kilómetros al noroeste y al norte del sitio. Se encuentra disponible una serie de fechamientos radiocarbónicos sobre las unidades estratigráficas, prácticamente efectuados todos sobre carbón sin aparente origen cultural, los fechamientos radiocarbónicos sobre hueso de bisonte ubican a la matanza en los 10,500 años a.p.

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