Possible Pre-Clovis Sites

Possible Pre-Projectile Point/Pre-Clovis Sites in Western North America

Michael K. Faught, Florida State University

From Faught, Michael K., and Andrea K. L. Freeman. 1998. Paleoindian Complexes of the Terminal Wisconsin and Early Holocene. In Paleoindian and Archaic Sites in Arizona, by J. B. Mabry, pp. 33–52. Arizona State Historic Preservation Office, Phoenix.


These sites have been asserted to be older than the Clovis culture, which appeared in the archaeological record about 11,600 radiocarbon years b.p. (uncalibrated). Several are thought to be more than 40,000 years old, and a few are argued to be hundreds of thousands of years old. These age estimates are based on one or more site characteristics, including the crudeness of flaked stone artifacts; the thickness of desert varnish covering them; the age of their geological context; and radiocarbon dates and other types of chronometric dates on materials judged to be in association with them. However, many archaeologists reject these sites because of doubts about identifications of artifacts and interpretations of contexts; circular logic or circumstantial evidence used to estimate age; or the use of still-experimental dating techniques.