Biface, Lanceolate, and ForeshaftPhoto by Stockton WhiteDoug's new book, In the Shadow of the Sabertooth, was in large part borne of his experience re-excavating the Anzick Clovis Site in Montana with his dear friend and mentor, the late archeologist Mark Papworth. What follows is an excerpt from the resulting article, The Voices of Bones, in Outside magazine:

"One morning in June 1968, two local construction workers drove a front-loader and a dump truck out to the base of the elephant-head bluff. Mel Anzick had given the men permission to dig up fill for the local high school, and after Ben Hargis filled a dump truck, Calvin Sarver drove the first load into town.

"Hargis continued working. He began punching into the scree at the base of the cliff with the bucket of the front-loader, and as he backed away with a full load, something fell down into the bucket, catching his eye. Bright red powder cascaded down the cliff from the place the object had fallen. Sarver returned to find Hargis excited: He'd found a very old and impressive-looking flaked tool.

"That evening after work, Sarver and Hargis returned with their wives to explore the cliffside. They began digging with their hands, and almost immediately a huge chert blade, stained red, fell out. It was flaked on both sides, the sort of tool called a biface. Then another, and another—one made of yellow chalcedony, the next of red jasper. Dozens of big bifaces and spearheads spilled down the slope. Mixed in with the artifacts were fragments of a small human skeleton covered with red ocher; all the stone implements and bone tools were stained with it too. 'We were up to our armpits in that red stuff,' Sarver recalled recently. Faye Hargis remembers that they took the tools home and tried to scrub them clean—a task that left the kitchen sink stained red for a week.

"Lahren, then a graduate student at Montana State University, in Bozeman, heard about the find and asked to see the points, expecting to see weapons from a buffalo kill site, the sort that are common in these parts. He got his first look at the collection in Sarver's kitchen. There was some small talk, Lahren said, and then Sarver and Hargis went out and returned carrying ten five-gallon buckets full of artifacts into the house.

"'I was speechless,' Lahren told me. 'I thought I was going to have a heart attack.' He realized the two men may have found important evidence that could help solve the mystery of the identity of the first Americans."


Read the rest of the story here: 

The Voices of Bones, Outside, February 2000The Voices of Bones
by Doug Peacock, Outside, February 2000
Download a pdf (25.67mb) or read online

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