Dig of the Week Oldest Weapons in America

By Carla Charter

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Clovis points, once the oldest weapon points discovered in North America, dated to 13,000 years ago. A new discovery of weapon points made by Michael Waters Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Texas A&M and his team of graduate and undergraduate students though, have now found weapons dating back 15,000 years ago.

In 2015 we excavated a triangular projectile and deeper down we found a triangular projectile point. Prior to this discovery, the team were finding pieces of projectiles. “We then went back to the fragments we had found and were able to figure out how they fit together. In 2016 we found more projectile point fragments. I have had a lot of good moments in my archeological career this was one of them. It was a total surprise.”

These weapons would have been used for hunting mammoth, horse, camel, rabbits, deer, and raccoons. The area where these points were found and was environmentally rich. He explained that the area also had an outcropping with a very fine chert, a material which would have been used to create projectile points, knives, axes, tools.  With the excavation complete, “We are still trying to analyze what we have excavated.”

“The people would have been a hunter gatherer people in this particular location,” Waters continued. “These were the first peoples to come to America.  Genetics tell us the earliest people in the Americas gave rise to all of the native peoples alive today.

Although this dig is complete, Waters and his team continue their research, currently working on a site in a Central Texas cave where there is evidence of human occupation about 11,000 years ago. We are hoping to explore the question about the environment they lived in.