12 thousand - 11.7 thousand years ago
Early Paleo-Indian cultures left behind many clues to their daily life through the tools that they used. These early people produced projectile tips that would later be called Clovis points, named for Clovis, New Mexico, where they were first identified. This spear or dart tip would have been formed by percussion flaking the general shape and then the outer edges were sometimes pressure flaked to sharpen it.
This Clovis point, discovered in 1979 by Dr. Russell Graham outside of Kimmswick, Missouri, was the first solid evidence of the coexistence of humans and Mastodons. The Clovis point was found among disarticulated foot bones of an adult Mastodon. Additional Clovis points were discovered at the site in 1980 and 1984. These projectile tips were used for hunting. Dr. Graham uncovered Clovis points among teeth of an adult and juvenile Mastodon. He hypothesized the Paleo-Indians killed the animals. The Mastodons’ legs were missing, presumed carried away.
Mastodons and other now-extinct animals roamed the Midwest 35,000 to 10,000 years ago. Early Paleo-Indians reached present-day Missouri as early as 12,000 years ago. The Kimmswick Bone Bed, now Mastodon State Historic Site, was the first site in eastern North America where archeological findings definitively proved a connection between Mastodons and Paleo-Indians. The discovery of Mastodon and other fossils in Kimmswick were initially reported in the early 1800s. In 1980, the Kimmswick Bone Bed was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Date: 12 thousand - 11.7 thousand years ago
Subject: Kimmswick Bone Bed; Mastodons; Paleo-Indians
Contributing Institution: Missouri State Parks - Mastodon State Historic Site
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Region: St. Louis Metro