A Clovis spearhead was discovered by a team of specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) during an archaeological survey in La Salada, north of the municipality of Fresnillo, in Zacatecas, where the installation of a photovoltaic plant is planned.
This lithic artifact is associated with the Paleo-American period, that is, with the first human groups that traveled to the north of the continent approximately 11,000 years ago..
It was on August 7, during a surface tour on the slopes of a hill near the La Salada paleo-lagoon, that the archaeologist Vladimir Huerta Arellano noticed a small tip of flint (an endemic chalcedony), barely 4.8 cm long by 2.6 cm wide and 0.76 cm thick, which lay on the ground as dragging material, a product of fluvial dynamics.
The coordinator of the archaeological salvage and researcher at the INAH Zacatecas Center, Carlos A. Torreblanca Padilla, comments that there were reports of mammoth remains in nearby communities, some even with cut tracks (analyzed in the 1980s by the biologist Óscar Polaco), but no artifacts had been recorded that alluded to former hunters who took advantage of the arrival of megafauna to this reservoir.
It stands out that the discovery of the Clovis point was given as part of an archaeological salvage, a supervision that by regulations is attended by the INAH Zacatecas Center in monitoring infrastructure works carried out in the state. In the supervision, between June and October 2021, archaeologists Vladimir Huerta Arellano, Felipe Castañeda Romero and Raquel L. Hernández Estrada collaborated.
The finding, which can be described as “finding a needle in a haystack”, since the survey covered a 242-hectare polygon, confirms that present-day Zacatecas was part of the continental route followed by the first American settlers between 12,000 and 11,000 years before the present, late Pleistocene and early Holocene.
“As a result of this isolated but very significant element, the presence of hunter-gatherer groups can be confirmed in the middle part of Zacatecas, in its transit from the north to the center of the American continent around 11000 BC
In this way, the Zacatecan territory is now part of studies on early population movements, ”says Carlos Torreblanca.
He refers that the connoisseur of the INAH Sonora Center, Guadalupe Sánchez Miranda, who has worked in the Fin del Mundo archaeological zone, in Sonora, collaborated in determining the characteristics that make it a Clovis spearhead: bifacial thinning, marginal bifacial retouch and the groove that covers two-thirds on both sides, which was used to insert it into a wooden or bone handle.
Considering that these points can exceed 15 cm in length, another aspect that makes the Clovis point found in La Salada peculiar is its wear, evidence that it was sharpened repeatedly. Likewise, alterations produced by rolling and exposure to various natural agents are observed: calcareous concretions, rounding of the edges of the cutting edge, partial obliteration in the ribs of the chip marks and cracking.
Carlos Torreblanca Padilla believes that the foregoing allows us to deduce that La Salada was a place where these ancient settlers sighted the major and minor fauna that was swamped on its shores, to hunt it. However, at the site no other testimonies of early human activity were found, such as concentrations of lithic carving, or combustion structures that could refer to bonfires.
Explain what this semi-desert area of Zacatecas had large wetlands in the Pleistocene, attended by mammoths, mastodons, gomphotheres, camelids, equines, bison and large birds, among other animal species.
These sea beds emerged thousands of years ago, between the Madre Occidental and Madre Oriental mountain ranges, would lead much later, between the 18th and 19th centuries, a great saline production in the area, hence its name.
The recently discovered Clovis point, inscribes Zacatecas in the future of the first settlers of America, and from Mexico. It is worth mentioning that these lanceolate tips receive their name from the Clovis locality, in New Mexico, United States, where they were found for the first time 90 years ago and since then they have been considered indicative of these early groups.
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