This is the oldest known point type found in North America. This
spear point is named after Clovis, New Mexico, where it was found with
extinct mammoth bones at Locality 1 of the Blackwater Draw site. Clovis
points have also been found in association with mammoths at several
sites on the Plains, providing the basis for characterizing
Paleo-Indians as big fame hunters.
Other Possible Names or Related Points: Fluted point,
Folsomoid. Goshen points may represent unfluted Clovis points on the
basis of having been found beneath Folsom points at the Hell Gap site in
Age: 11,300 to 10,900 B.P.
Distribution: Clovis points are reported from nearly every
state south of Canada, suggesting rapid colonization of North America.
This type has been found with extinct mammoths and mastodons at several
locations in the western and midwestern United States, including the
Kimmswick site in Missouri and perhaps the Boaz Mastodon site in
Richland County, Wisconsin. A set, or cache, of twenty Clovis-like
points was excavated at the Rummells-Maske site in east-central Iowa.
Clovis or related fluted points have been found in northern Minnesota
and northern Wisconsin, but not above Lake Superior. Those reported from
the Upper Mississippi Valley are primarily surface finds from
agricultural fields. Goshen points are reported from the northern
Description: Clovis points are medium to large lanceolate
spear-knife points. Their sides are parallel to convex and exhibit
careful pressure flaking along the blade edge. The broadest area is near
the midsection or toward the base. Bases are distinctly concave with a
characteristic flute or channel flake removed from one or, more
commonly, both surfaces of the blade. Flutes range from one-quarter to
one-half the length of the blade. The lower edges of the blade and base
are usually ground to dull edges for hafting. Shorter Clovis points are
those that have been resharpened until the blade was substantially
reduced, and some of these were probably discarded during retooling.
Clovis points are distinguished from Folsom points by the relative
length of the fluting. Where Clovis points are larger and the channel
flake scar typically extends less than halfway up the blade, often
terminating in a step fracture, Folsom points are shorter and the flute
often runs nearly the entire length of the blade. Clovis points also
tend to be thicker than the typically thin Folsom points. Gainey points
are longer than Folsom, but also have flutes that extend more than half
the blade length. However, some fully fluted points that may be
classified as Folsom or Gainey could be resharpened and expended Clovis
Length: 4–20 cm/1.5–8 in. Width: 2.5–5 cm/1–2 in.
Material: In the Upper Mississippi Valley, these points were
often made of high-grade and colorful materials such as fine quality
Hixton silicified sandstone or glossy Cochrane chert. Some were made of
Moline chert (originating from the lower Rock River in Illinois), jasper
taconite (from the Thunder Bay area of western Lake Superior), and local
Galena and Prairie du Chien cherts. Some Prairie du Chien chert fluted
points appear to have been heat-treated.
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