Geoarchaeology of the mockingbird gap (clovis) site, Jornada del Muerto, New Mexico

Vance T. Holliday, Bruce B. Huckell, Robert H. Weber, Marcus J. Hamilton, William T. Reitze, James H. Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The Mockingbird Gap site is one of the largest Clovis sites in the western United States, yet it remains poorly known after it was tested in 1966-1968. Surface collecting and mapping of the site revealed a dense accumulation of Clovis lithic debris stretching along Chupadera Draw, which drains into the Jornada del Muerto basin. We conducted archaeological testing and geoarchaeological coring to assess the stratigraphic integrity of the site and gain clues to the paleoenvironmental conditions during the Clovis occupation. The 1966-1968 excavations were in stratified Holocene eolian sand and thus that assemblage was from a disturbed content. An intact Clovis occupation was found elsewhere in the site, embedded in the upper few centimeters of a well-developed buried Bt horizon formed in eolian sand, representing the regional Clovis landscape. Coring in Chupadera Draw revealed ~11 m of fill spanning the past ~11,000 14C years. The stratified deposits provide evidence of flowing and standing water on the floor of the draw during Clovis times, a likely inducement to settlement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)348-370
Number of pages23
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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