The Clovis pictured with this article is a type known as the Hazel Clovis, or sometimes as
the Ross County Clovis variety. After I acquired this point, I was later fortunate enough to have the opportunity
to talk with the individual who found it. Most often, when a point is purchased, it is not even possible to locate
or speak to the finder, so I was very happy to be able to obtain valuable information about this point.
This Clovis was found
in a plowed field during the late 1980s by Alan Woodring of Winchester, Kentucky. Like myself, Alan had been actively
hunting plowed fields for artifacts for many years. He informed me that this was an isolated find. It was not associated
with any other indications of habitation such as scrapers, knives, chips, tool fragments, blade cores, or any other
related artifacts. This is not unusual for a Clovis find. They are often isolated finds. Alan told me that he considers
himself lucky because in over twenty years of field hunting, this was not his only Clovis find, for he had found
one other as well. But in his words, each was found "many years and many miles apart."
The point pictured was found four miles northwest of Winchester, Kentucky, on higher ground that lies between
Johnson Creek and Strodes Creek. These two very small streams empty into the Licking River watershed. The Licking
River then flows north for about seventy- five miles, where it joins the Ohio River. Having lived in Kentucky,
1 am familiar with this region. It consists of gently rolling hills and almost flat terrain at the upper headwater
of the Licking River drainage. The land is crossed by small streams and dotted by small ponds. In ancient times
it may have been well suited to hunt herd animals such as elk, musk ox and caribou. It was probably an excellent
For the record, the
Hazel or Ross County Clovis type was manufactured at or before 9,500 BC. It is identified by its gently recurved
blade shape and by the broad and flat percussion flake scars across the face of the blade. It is also characterized
by relatively short flutes compared to other Clovis types.
It is possible that
the thin cross section, narrow base, and short flutes would have combined to result in a point much less sturdy
than other Clovis types. It is thought that Clovis points served as a combination hunting and butchering tool.
Most Clovis point types have a lenticular cross-section, a wider base, and longer flutes. It is interesting to
speculate that the narrow base, thinner cross-section, and shorter fluting of the Hazel variety may have an intentional
design for hunting purposes. It may have resulted in a point more effective for thrusting and for penetration during
the hunt rather than for knife use in heavier tasks of cutting and butchering. This design may have been especially
practical for the hunting of herd animals smaller than the mammoth or mastodon, such as elk and caribou. Hunting
these relatively smaller animals, a sturdier form of the more common Clovis type may not have been as essential.
Another possibility is that the difference between the Hazel variety and the more common Clovis types is related
to differing time periods. The style of the Hazel type is similar in shape to some later point types like the Cumberland
and Beaver Lake points. However, these points have a lenticular cross- section. Also, they do not share the same
style of work, consisting of broad removal percussion flakes without secondary flaking intruding onto the blade
face. The Hazel variety may not be a later occurring type than other Clovis points. It is interesting to speculate
if there may have been a functional reason for this differences in Clovis styles.
The recovery of such an ancient and beautifully made artifact is extremely rare. Many broken or less impressive
points are found by those of us who actively search plowed fields. Still, we can only dream of finding a point
like the one pictured—perhaps once in fifteen years, if at all. If Alan had not found this Clovis, it almost certainly
would have been destroyed by the plow during the next one or two planting seasons. I feel fortunate to be the caretaker
of this point. We all benefit from the efforts of people like Alan. Such an effort can only result in an artifact
like this one being saved undamaged, and they also can result in information about the find and recording it. No
one could ask for more.