An early Paleoindian bead from the Mockingbird Gap site, New Mexico

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8 Scopus citations


Beads are the only direct indicator of body adornment from Upper Paleolithic and Paleoindian contexts, although not common. Geoarchaeological coring at the Mockingbird Gap (Clovis) site, New Mexico, resulted in the recovery of a small tubular bead of Paleoindian age. The bead was found in alluvial sand 9.20 m below the surface of Chupadera Draw, an intermittent drainage that borders the site. The ornament is made of calcium carbonate and is the only known Paleoindian bead of this material in North America. All known tubular beads of this age are bone. Other beads are made of shell or teeth. The bead probably was made by using a rotary drill to modify a segment of a rhizolith, which is a cemented calcium carbonate cylinder representing root molds. Beads could easily be made from these cylinders although they would be relatively fragile, likely accounting for their rarity. The bead has a minimum age of ~10,550 14C years BP. This suggests a Folsom association. Scattered Folsom sites are known within 1 km of the site. The Clovis occupation is more extensive and intensive, however, and within 120 m of the findspot.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalCurrent Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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