| 8 April 2009
Ancient artifacts found in Texas
When workers took a backhoe to a mound of earth in San Antonio (Texas, USA) a couple of months ago, out popped an archaic spearhead, turning what was supposed to be a construction site into an archaeological dig. Archaeologists swooped in and found 5,700-year-old stone tools from one of the oldest hunter-gatherer groups to live in the area, according to Jon Dowling, an archaeologist with University of Texas at San Antonio's Center for Archaeological Research. The find sheds more light on some of the first people drawn to the San Antonio River during the early archaic period.
San Antonio's oldest artifacts date between 8,000 and 11,000 years ago from the so-called Clovis culture and were found at digs in Northern San Antonio. The newly discovered site contained artifacts from different time periods, attesting to the spot's enduring popularity, Dowling said. The first spearhead is between 2,200 and 1,400 years old, and it marks the period just before the introduction of the bow and arrow. The dart point is around 5,700 years old and was likely affixed to the end of a bamboo spear and launched at prey with an atlatl. The Guadalupe tool is around 5,500 years old and was used for woodworking and scraping flesh, kind of like a primitive Swiss Army knife, Dowling said.
Archaeologists also found a bone from a small deer, a sign that early people set up camp there and butchered animals for food. It also marked a period after the climate cooled, killing off big animals such as mammoths and bison. People began to broaden their diet, eating more plants and hunting smaller animals such as deer, turkey and turtle, Dowling said. The park had fresh water, chert stone for tool making, raw materials and food sources. Not much different from today, Dowling said. "A good place to live now was a good place to live 6,000 years ago," he said.
Sources: My San Antonio News (7 April 2009), Associated Press (8 April 2009)
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