Paleo-Indians of North America

16,700-Year-Old Tools Found in Texas Change Known History of North America

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Archaeologists in Texas have found a set of 16,700-year-old tools which are among the oldest discovered in the West. Until now, it was believed that the culture that represented the continent’s first inhabitants was the Clovis culture. However, the discovery of the ancient tools now challenges that theory, providing evidence that human occupation precedes the arrival of the Clovis people by thousands of years.

According to the Western Digs, archeologists discovered the tools about half an hour north of Austin in Texas, at the site called Gault. They were located a meter deep in water-logged silty clay. The site contained more than 90 stone tools and some human remains including fragments of teeth.

Excavations being carried out at the Gault site, Texas

Excavations being carried out at the Gault site, Texas. Credit: Archaeological Institute of America

The discovery changes everything people have been taught about the history of North America – that is, that the Clovis culture represented the first inhabitants of the continent. The results of the research were presented at the meeting of the Plains Anthropological Conference in 2015. 

A hallmark of the toolkit associated with the Clovis culture is the distinctively shaped, fluted stone spear point, known as the Clovis point. These Clovis points were from the Rummells-Maske Cache Site, Iowa

A hallmark of the toolkit associated with the Clovis culture is the distinctively shaped, fluted stone spear point, known as the Clovis point. These Clovis points were from the Rummells-Maske Cache Site, Iowa (public domain).

In the 1990s, at the same excavation site near Austin, archeologists unearthed tapered-oval spear heads dating back 13,000 years. Those times, they believed, belonged to the oldest widespread culture of the continent.  However, the most recent discovery proves that the pre-Clovis inhabitants came to North America at least three millennia earlier.

The Gault site was identified in the 1920s. However, researches didn't accomplish any significant discovery until the 1990s. In 2012, researchers were interested in finding new artifacts related to the Clovis culture. However, they found something even much more impressive – the enamel caps of four adjacent teeth from a young adult female. It allowed them to use the radiocarbon dating method. The results were surprising. They revealed that the tools and artifacts, found in the same layer as the teeth, which includes more than 160,000 stone flakes left over from the tool-making processs, are evidence of the oldest known inhabitants of America. To finally confirm how old the artifacts are, Dr. D. Clark Wernecke, director of the Gault School of Archaeological Research, and his colleagues submitted 18 of the artifacts to a lab for optically stimulated luminescence dating. It is a process of analyzing tiny grains in the soils to reveal when they were last exposed to sunlight. The results proved that the artifacts were up to 16,700 years old. The tools also showed different features to the Clovis tools, which are distinctively shaped.

The pre-Clovis artifacts include more than 90 stone tools, such as bifaces and blades, and more than 160,000 flakes left over from the point-making process.

The pre-Clovis artifacts include more than 90 stone tools, such as bifaces and blades, and more than 160,000 flakes left over from the point-making process. (Photo courtesy Gault School of Archaeological Research)

Many aspects of the technology of this mysterious tribe, like how they made biface blades, were very similar to the Clovis. It seems that the blade technology did not change a lot, the Clovis only improved it. It suggests a mysterious connection between the two cultures. The discovery brought a lot of important information, including the conclusion that the diversity of artifacts uncovered at the Gault site shows that the continent’s earliest peoples were not a static or monolithic group. Moreover, they shed light on the history of human migration. The discovery proved that the first peoples in the Americas were more similar to modern people, than we believed. According to Wrencke they were “intelligent, inventive, creative — and they found ways to adapt to a rapidly changing world.”

April Holloway from Ancient Origins reported in 2014 about different evidence of pre-Clovis inhabitants in America. She wrote:

''A fisherman inadvertently dragged up one of the most significant pieces of evidence for the existence of ancient inhabitants of North America prior to the Clovis people, who walked the land some 15,000 years ago. A small wooden scallop trawler was dredging the seafloor off the coastline of Chesapeake Bay, when he hit a snag. When he pulled up his net, he found a 22,000-year-old mastodon skull and a flaked blade made of a volcanic rock called rhyolite. A report in Live Science says that the combination of the finds may suggest that people lived in North America, and possibly butchered the mastodon, thousands of years before people from the Clovis culture, who are widely thought to be the first settlers of North America and the ancestors of all living Native Americans.

The mastodon and stone tool finding further supports the perspective that there were other inhabitants of America that preceded the Clovis.  The ancient fossil and tool were first hauled off the seafloor in 1974, and were donated to Gwynn's Island Museum in Virginia, where they sat unnoticed for four decades. However, scientists have now realised the significance of the items after Dennis Stanford, an archaeologist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., carried out radiocarbon dating on the mastodon tusk and found it was more than 22,000 years old.  While the stone tool cannot be dated, the characteristics of the artifact suggest it is also of the same age.''

Top image: Paleo-Indians of North America. Source: North Wind Picture Archives

By Natalia Klimzcak


can we finally get over the nonsense of Afro-centrism, and acknowledge that modern man began in Americas & migrated to Asia via Bering straits & Europe from North America?

I wouldn't go that far as to say modern man began in just the "Americas." What I would say is that the "Out of Africa" theory is wrong. Humanity started on every continent and those people moved around hundreds of thousands of years before the "out of Africa" theory. Humanity is everywhere. We just didn't start out in "Africa" and suddenly became Asian, Hispanic or Fair skinned people from one group of people. Archeology is wrong based on preconceived notions and flawed academics. The history of this planet is older than those lame stream archeologist's will have you believe. They all have their own agendas in order to get more money to perpetuate the myths of humanity. History of the Middle-East is wrong by tens of thousands of years. Egypt is older than the current time frames we are given. The Sphinx for one is about 10,000 years older than it's stated dates. As is the Pyramids. When science removes it's blinders and stop with the AD/BC crap and go with Before Common Era and Common Era, times will change.

The Bosnian Pyramids have fossilized organic material found in between the layers of their coatings carbon dated to about 30,000 years ago. And "Adams Calendar" in South Africa is said to be about 350,000 years old, and still accurate today. And a giant 4 foot tall human footprint, embedded in a verticle piece of fossilized mud, is said to be 4 million years old. And the "Apollo 20 Mona Lisa" is said to be 5 million years old. Go figure, critters have been galavanting all over creation since only God knows when.

At one time the continents were one land mass. Over the eons the land mass have separated into the current separate continents. It is possible that each land was populated with multiple groups of people. Using GPS we can know how much the continents are moving each year.

Part of this comment is based on solid archaeology. The land masses according to a widely-accepted theory that land once formed a single continent called Pangea. Over millions of years it split apart as you've described.

The rest of your comments are not based on any widely-accepted theories. Modern humans cannot be old enough as a species to have populated pangea. The timeline just does not work. Current theories have humans evolving into our present form about 200,000 to 175,000 years ago. This is evolution. So the change would be gradual (and is still occurring). The continents broke apart much earlier at 175 million years ago. No possibility that a human would have walked around on the supercontinent.

@Jason...well said...

Surely you don't believe that silliness? Surely you aren't disputing the settled science of a mass migration across the Bering land bridge over thousands of years. If you believe that twaddle then you probably believe the sun orbits the earth also. You and Copernicus would have had a problem.

It would seem that you have decided to believe the "settled science of a mass migration". That is your right. But others disagree on this "settled" theory. It is still just a theory. Period. No proof really. Just ideas etc. A theory is a theory a working theory. Theories can be changed at any time with 'new' evidence or a 'new theory. Twaddle dee, twaddle do.

NNOOOOO I do not mention mass migration. I said --- that as the land mass broke apart the people who were there moved with the break up of Patagonia. Man's curiosity to move about. -- 'what is on the other side of the mountain' is evident in migrations. The DNA, culture, habits that mingle change is on going. Ccuriosity, famine, war, etc., motives people to move, while some stay depending on a list of circumstances

ivorybow's picture

Exactly. How can any scientist, or follower of science research, fail to learn from history the error of adopting a dogmatic, closed mind? At any point is history, back to and before the sun revolving around the earth belief ridiculed, pundits have always arrogantly stated they had it all figured out. But they didn't, hence neither do we. Continual research and discovery proves that we must continually drop old ideas, and learn new ones. I have a degree in anthropology, and the theory of mass migration was NOT taught as a "settled science." As an aside, Zen Buddhism posits the state of "not knowing" as the highest level of consciousness, because it is only from there, new thoughts can be experienced.

I've heard that this dating method is fubar..
I had\n't heard about being able to tell how long sunlight has hit an abject.But what ever .
I think these methods should have a transparent test with false samples be identified for age .
Personally I don't trust scientist today ,they all have conflict of interest.They all need government funding to earn a living ..Seems to me they could easily be ask to give a certain date for cash.
Work for the CDC scientist ,it was able to make CDC whistle blower scientist commit science fraud .Ha then a sold out congress being handed the Proof and read into the congressional record ,still have not had hearings on it a year latter .don't believe me watch to documentary Vaxxed

I've heard that this dating method is fubar..
I had\n't heard about being able to tell how long sunlight has hit an abject.But what ever .
I think these methods should have a transparent test with false samples be identified for age .
Personally I don't trust scientist today ,they all have conflict of interest.They all need government funding to earn a living ..Seems to me they could easily be ask to give a certain date for cash.
Work for the CDC scientist ,it was able to make CDC whistle blower scientist commit science fraud .Ha then a sold out congress being handed the Proof and read into the congressional record ,still have not had hearings on it a year latter .don't believe me watch to documentary Vaxxed is YOU need to "read" more often. The "land bridge "theory" (an IDEA only) has been TOSSED, as PROOF was found that it was impossible.

Actually, I don't think the "landbridge theory" has been debunked, only the timing of its use. It certainly wasn't the initial way people started arriving here, because there is enough evidence that people were here before the passage between the ice sheets could be used. But from what I've seen, it seems the migration came from SE Asia, to Beringia, then down the coast to the farthest south, then northward from there (and at some point along the way, Clovis technology gets invented and eventually abandoned). I doubt these are separate distinct cultures. The earlier people are the same genetically (think Hoyo Negro's Naia) as people of Clovis cuture times (Anzick boy in Montana). They just go south to north before the ice sheets melt. And why would they be different just because of the technology they used? We are the same people here in America that use cell phones as the people that used horse and buggies. Just different points in time.

At some point after 13,000 years ago subsequent waves also start coming from Berengia via the ice-free corridor. Thanks to research on the ancient bison fossils, we now know that was the earliest time the corridor was open. But we still need to find evidence of actual boat use, not so easy since they were made of perishable material, and they would have landed in areas now under water.

if the "scientists" would listen to the ELDERS, and the stories of our Native Peoples, instead of "knowing all", they might perhaps learn something??

Hey nitwit, nothing about what you said precludes the idea of "afro-centrism". You need to better understand time scale, geochronology, etc. Plus, this other guy says, rather broadly, we need to heed those with white hair and/or a nursing home ID over people with PhDs. Okay, I get that academia often forces new discoveries into a box but, sheesh, you people are just too out there for others to take your claims or comments seriously.

@Brian, exactly WHO, are you calling "nitwit"? When it is obvious that you know nothing of each persons "Culture" or background?

Here we go again with a new "scientific" pronouncement made about time and the way things were. Dating methods are obviously as accurate as reading tea leaves. And to think that people from a certain time period or even area are going to shape their tools all exactly the same, seems limited. Individualism is a hallmark of human beings, and without a doubt, though the styles of tool creation were undoubtedly similar, there were either individuals or groups that got "creative" and did things differently. Of course, if you believe that past civilizations were retarded automatons that could do nothing but ape specific ways of life . . .

A friend of mine found a midden on Loggey Bayou. He sent off some charred bone and found that the substance was 20,000 years old. As the area is washing away, he contacted the local archeologist and they were aware of the area and the likely age. They don't publish as they want to advance their careers.

Just to clarify perhaps some confusion. Please understand that my comment was not, I repeat was not directed towards your comment. It was being directed towards WJ's comment.

Personally I agree with your idea. I have had the same thoughts over time. ie; similar or the same animals and plants found throughout the world on different continents. The fossil record shows the same thing. Why this could not be the same with
hominids and or our earliest ancesters WJ does not seem to see or at least entertain the potential possibility of, and perhaps others as well

My thoughts are as more and more sites are uncovered in North America we are going to have to push human occupation farther and farther back. Let us not forget Virginia Steen-MacIntyre who found evidence of human habitation in Mexico that was dated 220,000 years ago. Because she reported it it cost her a career in archaeology. Mainstream science is only looking for facts that fit into their neat little boxes. So sad.

Fact..there still is little actual evidence of a clearly identifiable known preclovis tool technology at either Gault or Buttermilk Creek. Tools pictured could very well be fragments of clovis tools as there is no specific traits setting the technology apart from clovis tech other than the deeper location where they were found. Like the evidence Stanford has recently used to promote his solutrean connection, there is little more than speculation based on "similarities" in technology but still no coherent set of artifacts to verify an earlier known technology. All of the afore mentioned researchers are aware of known middle paleo technology being found elsewhere in the USA in at least 8 different states. Clearly identifiable levallois technology is being found by amateurs and professionals alike. Such technology predates clovis tech by thousands of years, yet Gault researchers, Dennis Stanford, and the other "brighter lights" within the pre clovis mafia are willingly ignoring the rock solid evidence consisting of thousands of levallois lithic cores and tools which are clearly paralleled by the middle paleo tech found abroad. Ignoring such clearly identifiable artifact evidence can only be interpreted as supression at this point. The question is why? Mousterian technology in the USA changes everything and they know it. The current ooa migration theory is proven to be just that, theory. Levallois technology is very well known abroad and is never mistaken or confused with other technology because it is so well known having been found more than any other early man evidence, it is unmistakeable. Identification of levallois is obvious when the cores and points and other tools are present, regardless of their location. The technology is unique regardless of where it is found. For scholars such as Stanford, Collins, Adovosio, and the others to willingly ignore such evidence while capitalizing on speculative evidence such as Gault, Meadowcroft, and the others are producing is only testimony of agenda driven archaeological exploitation of the publics lack of information due to intentional supression of evidence which both challenges and disproves the current narrative of our history which is being promoted as truth. An abundance of pre clovis technology has already been found and can be proven, why are they not investigating?

Oh my Goddess... Next someone will start saying that we all walked with the dinosaurs again and that the earth is only Six thousand years old.

I'm an admitted archaeology dummy, but it seems implausible to me that artifacts that are over 16,000 years old can be found relatively undisturbed a mere one meter below the surface. They were clearly not pushed to just below the surface by a seismic event or otherwise. I've found tools and other items I have lost over the years, just 2 - 5 years later several inches to nearly 6 inches below the dirt as I do landscaping. I realize gravity will pull iron below the surface at rates an order of magnitude faster than stone tools, but 16,000 years is a long time relative to the shallow depths they were found.

It Depends on the Geological Environment. There are places in the Desert Southwest called "Desert Pavement" where the accumulation of Rocks on the surface can be half a million years old or older. I have found many interesting artifacts on the surface of this Desert Pavement but no one will even take a look at them because they were not found at the level of 26 feet and a 20,000 Dollar Grant that they only actually spend half of on the Project.

This BS is all about Grants and Funds. And if you don't think there are "Back Door" meetings I have news for you...

J.R. Thanks for your enlightenment. I guess I should've been able to figure that out - after I read your reply I remembered that meteroites are often found right on the surface in many areas, and not all of them impacted recently.

As to the backdoor meetings and grants etc. you're preaching to the choir. I know it all too well. I have never been involved in any such corruption or greed but know some who have and delight in graft and corruption. It's like politicians . . . most get it in with altruistic aims, but soon greed of money and power consume their human nature and they justify it by convincing themselves they must "play the game" to stay in power "to do any good for their constituents". I imagine the same mentality is prevalent among academia, researchers, explorers in the lab or in the field; they line their pockets and use their power to put stumbling blocks in front of others telling themselves unless they can continue in the game they cannot "make important discoveries for mankind" when their track record of important or meaningful discoveries may be non-existent, or limited at best.

Good to see you that you are hip to the Smokescreen. They have only two choices as a career. Become a Mystical Shaman reader and writer of Petroglyphs...or become a Clerical Conman and exploit the masses for Sustenance.

Both have a very long history of example over the last 500,000 years. Yet we still do not take the time to see that the Geese are pointing South...To "somewhere" as they fly away.

I think the farther we go back...the less Gullible Mankind was...

JR I bet you enjoyed Fingerprints of the Gods as much as I did. I realize some of Graham's conclusions he himself has since disproved but overall it changed the way I see the world and how I think about human history - and frankly it was the first step in my realization (at least for me) that the western idea of religion and all religion in general is BS. I went from Sunday school teacher to agnostic over about a 5 year period after having studied certain philosophies and read on ancient history and started thinking independnedt of my lifelong brainwashing from society and government. I don't sneer at nor look down on others but I know what I believe finally - and what I don't. I've only read a handful of similar books since because I have been caught up in the rat race, but been trying to simplify my life to get to a point where I can actually again . . . . brace yourself . . . READ BOOKS! Have any suggestions?

Sorry for the delay in reply...I was hand rolling some Taquitos . What I can share for sure is that the more I learn the l less I truly know. Anyone that says any different of their own selves is full of it... :)

You got that right. Hope the taquitos were good - we roll our own as well. :-D

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