The folsom (paleoindian) type site: Past investigations, current studies

David J. Meltzer, Lawrence C. Todd, Vance T. Holliday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Research on the Folsom Paleoindian type site, involving renewed field investigations and an analysis of extant collections from the 1920s excavations, was undertaken between 1997 and 2000. The preliminary results of that research show that all excavations to date have been in the kill area, which took place in a small and relatively shallow tributary to the Pleistocene paleo-valley of Wild Horse Arroyo as well as in the paleovalley itself. Preliminary butchering of ∼32 Bison antiquus took place nearwhere the animals were dropped. The kill area is dominated by low-utility bone elements and broken projectile points; high- utility bones and tools for processing meat and hides are rare or absent, and either occur in another, as-yet undiscovered area of the site, or altogether off-site. Faunal remains are generally in excellent condition. Those in the tributary are mostly in primary context, and underwent rapid burial beneath fine-grained (dominantly aeolian) sediments, which in turn were subsequently armored by a shingle shale; those in the paleovalley experienced postdepositional transport and redeposition. The small lithic assemblage is dominated by projectile points and comprised of material mostly from two sources in the Texas panhandle, several hundred kilometers southeast of the site. It also includes stone obtained from sources at comparable distances north and northwest of the site. A series of radiocarbon ages is available for the stratigraphic units, nearly all from charcoal of non- cultural origins; radiocarbon dates on bison bone put the age of the kill at 10,500 B.P.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-36
Number of pages32
JournalAmerican Antiquity
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Archaeology
  • Museology


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