Clovis Spear Point/Knife

Image of Clovis point
Their lives depended on it

Ancient hunters chipped this point out of a glass-like stone and bound it with animal tendon to a long hardwood shaft. This weapon was the only thing they had to kill an enormous Mastodon or Mammoth or a quick caribou or deer. Twelve thousand years ago, Native American hunters, alone or in groups, sustained the lives of their families and communities by hunting with these spears.

This distinctive spear point is known as Clovis, so-named after the discovery of points among the remains of Ice Age animals near Clovis, New Mexico. A few hundred Clovis points have been found in Illinois, but archaeologists have found little else here about the daily lives of these early hunters. However, in 1979 and 1980 in nearby Missouri, Illinois State Museum paleontologists and archaeologists unearthed Mastodon remains near Kimmswick (Mastodon State Park). There they found two Clovis points among the remains, evidence of an ancient hunt.

The specimen illustrated here was found in Jersey County, Illinois, near an ancient stone quarry where spear points were made and repaired. It is about four inches long. The shallow groove, or flute, extending from the base of the point made it possible to more securely attach the point to a spear shaft. The point had to be secure. Their lives depended on it.

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