The tip of a bone point fragment found embedded in a mastodon rib from an archaeological site in Washington state shows that hunters were present in North America at least 800 years before Clovis.
Dr. Michael Waters explains in the clip below.
The site is the Manis site in Washington State. The bone was radiocarbon dated to 13,800 years ago. That is 800 years earlier than was previously believed. The discovery was published this week in Science.
“The Manis site is an early kill site,” Waters says. “The evidence from the Manis site shows that people were hunting mastodons with bone weapons before the Clovis stone spear point.”
The Manis site was excavated in the late 1970s. No stone tools were discovered at the mastodon kill site. A bone point was found sticking out of one of the ribs, however. At that time there was no way to date the bone point. Waters contacted the original excavator and gained permission to test the rib and the bone point. They returned the 13,800 year old date. The bone point is also from a mastodon.
It is commonly thought that it took the stone spear points of the Clovis culture to take down the megafauna of the time. This proves that they could be taken down by other means and that the Clovis weren't the only culture to hunt mastodon, and likely other megafauna, in this area.
Written in Sparks, Nevada
2008 The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology (iPad App), Oxford University Press, 2nd ed. Developed by Handmark, Inc.
Megafauna Extinction All over the world the early Holocene period saw the decline and extinction of megafauna. The causes of this are a matter of some debate. Changing environmental and climatic conditions must have played a part, but so too did the activities of hunter-gatherer populations. With reference to North America, where 32 genera of mammals became extinct, Paul Martin has argued that the Clovis Culture big-game hunters were responsible for the megafauna extinction because of wasteful hunting methods.