Could the Clovis have actually been scavengers?

It was in 1929 that an archaeologist made the first discovery of sharp stone point among mammoth fossils. From then on, the researchers focused their hypotheses on a group of hunters, nicknamed “the Clovis people”.

However, this reputation of mammoth killers was questioned by a new experimental study and archaeological. The experiment conducted by archaeologist Metin Eren recently demonstrated a completely different use for Clovis points.

Despite the evidence provided by Eren’s team, expert opinions are still mixed. Some archaeologists remain convinced that Clovis points were designed to serve as reliable hunting weapons.

Implausible scenarios?

The microscopic observation of Clovis spikes would not have demonstrated that little damage on these spears. Yet, upon performing a re-enactment, the group discovered that these giants had nearly impenetrable armor. The latter consisted of a thick layer of underfur, of skin, of fat as well asmassive bones.

“It is not certain that Clovis points attached to spears could have penetrated the skin of a mammoth. »

Metin Eren, Archaeologist at Kent State University in Ohio

The team thus concluded that they could have been used as knives to butcher huge beasts that are already dead. According to Eren and his team, vsSpikes were more often used to cut meat and tear skin than to kill. This discovery would therefore suggest that the Clovis people were more scavengers than hunters.

“The Clovis points discovered at the suspected kill sites could just as well have been used for butchering and then left behind. »

Vance Hollidays, Archaeologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson

A very controversial hypothesis

This scenario put forward by the Metin Eren team was greeted with skepticism by many archaeologists. On the one hand, the first points found on some archaeological sites would have already revealed clear evidence of Clovis activity. On the other hand, skeletal damage presumably caused by these spikes has been found among mammoth bones. These finds at 11 North American sites would thus confirm the hunting of these big game animals by humans in the past.

“We have an instrument, the Clovis point, which keeps appearing in direct association with mammoth corpses…”

David Kilby, Texas State University archaeologist

According to Mr. Kilby, the Clovis were effective hunters, well aware of the challenge represented by such a large game. Therefore, it is likely that the spears were deliberately driven into poorly protected areas. This would justify the lack of impact on the spikes, mentioned by the Metin Eren team. Even if the animal did not die instantly, the Clovis hunters only had to follow the prey until she succumbed to her injuries.


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