The clovis landscape

Vance T. Holliday, D. Shane Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

25 Scopus citations


Clovis is the most geographically extensive occupation of any time in the archaeological record of the Americas. One aspect of this geographic diversity is the remarkable mobility and adaptability of Clovis people. Understanding adaptability requires, in part, understanding the environmental conditions at the time and the rate and direction of environmental change. Another aspect of adaptability, and one more germane to archaeological research, is that of land use. Where were Clovis people on the landscape, and can we tell how they used the local environment? This chapter addresses issues of climate and landscape conditions that Clovis populations had to contend with. The Clovis landscape, both in terms of geomorphology and vegetation, was undergoing significant changes before, during, and after the Clovis occupation. Continental ice sheets were retreating, and sea level, though 40 to 50 m lower than today, was rising, rapidly inundating the Gulf and Atlantic coastal plains. Stream systems were undergoing changes in discharge, sedimentology, and flow regime whether or not they had glaciated headwaters. Discharges generally were declining, but remained higher or variable compared with today. Paleo-lakes were changing dramatically, but also must have provided a wide array of resources to the early foragers. Proglacial lakes evolved as a function of changes in ice-margin position and drainage direction, and as a result of isostatic rebound. In the Great Basin and Southwest, some paleo-lakes and pluvial lakes were low or completely dry in the late LGM and then came up just before or during the YDC, while others were high before the YDC and then declined just before or during the YDC. Nonetheless many basins had either standing water or wetlands, and, therefore, an array of resources for humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPaleoamerican Odyssey
PublisherTexas A and M University
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781623492335
ISBN (Print)9781623491925
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


  • Clovis
  • Geomorphology
  • Landscape
  • Younger dryas

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


Dive into the research topics of 'The clovis landscape'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this