Geoarchaeology and geochronology of the miami (clovis) site, southern high plains of texas

Vance T. Holliday, C. Vance Haynes, Jack L. Hofman, David J. Meltzer

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65 Scopus citations


The Miami site, excavated in 1937, is in a small “playa” basin on the High Plains surface. The site is one of the earliest documented co-occurrences of Clovis points and mammoth. Reinvestigation of the site and related collections was undertaken to better understand the stratigraphy, geochronology, and archaeology. The basin, 23 m diameter × 1.6 m deep, filled with (1) dark gray silty clay, and (2) near the top of the section, a lens of well-sorted silt or loess. The basin started to fill ca. 13,700 yr B.P., the loess dates to ca. 11,400 yr B.P., and the bone bed probably dates to ca. 11,400-10,500 yr B.P. The loess may be the local manifestation of a “Clovis drought.” The partial remains of five mammoths (three adults and two juveniles) were recovered in 1937; no other animal remains are known. The bone is heavily weathered and there are no clear indications of human modification. Artifacts found at the site include three Clovis points and a scraper found among the bones and two flakes and a scraper found on the surface near the playa. The origins of the bone and stone assemblage are uncertain but four scenarios are offered: a successful mammoth kill, an unsuccessful kill with wounded animals dying at the watering hole, opportunistic scavenging following natural deaths, or a palimpsest of multiple deaths following both natural and human causes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-244
Number of pages11
JournalQuaternary Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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