The story of the Crain Clovis

The holy grail of arrowhead hunting is finding a Clovis point. Even a broken example is regarded as a find of a lifetime by many, myself included.

On Aug 26, 2006 my friend Clayton Vandergriff and I made one of many return trips to the eroding site where he and Mike Walker had found several Scottsbluff points recently. Not just Scottsbluff points, but incredible well made masterpieces of prehistoric art taking the Scottsbluff form. All washing out within a few feet of each other in the same undisclosed location within the Houston city limits! Hardly any of Houston's two million residents would ever suspect that parts of the largest city in Texas is sitting just inches above such archaeological treasures!

As soon as we arrived a big thunderstorm broke and the rain began to fall. After traveling a hundred miles to this spot I really didn't want to get rained out! As the water began to slowly rise, we began retrieving flint artifacts that were mixed in with the sand, mud, sticks and modern trash which had became lodged within some concrete "rocks" that had been strategically placed to slow soil erosion. The chunks of concrete seem to have been doing their job to some extent, at least they were catching some of what was washing past them.

We had each found two or three arrowpoints and some other fairly common artifacts, were talking and looking, when this showed up:

This is the first photo taken of the Clovis, just hours after being seen for the first time in over 12,000 years!

I saw the base first, the tip was covered by sand and mud. I think I stopped talking in the middle of a word, I was literally speechless. I was also afraid to look and see if the tip was there, so many broken pieces come with a lifetime of arrowhead hunting. I almost shut my eyes while I let Clayton pull it from the muck. I am sure I didn't breath. When we saw it was whole I almost fainted. After our whooping and hollaring episode I sat it in a safe spot. Throughout the day I had to go back and look at it several times in disbelief. Was I just dreaming?

These photos show both sides. The base is lightly ground over half way up, stopping at the widest part of the point.

Clovis is the oldest flint point type that has been recognized in North America. The Clovis culture is approximately 12,500 years old. Clovis points have even been found with Mammoth bones, including such a find at the Miami site in the Texas Panhandle. A a point like this is definitely a find of a lifetime!

It is amazing to have made this connection with the past. Imagine how different things were here in Clovis times. Today we worry about global warming, but the Clovis people were worried about coping with the Ice Age! What would the Clovis person who made this point have looked like? Surely he or she would have been wearing a heavy layer of fur clothing. I imagine a quite wooly appearance resulting from efforts to cope with the cold. And yet, as cold as it would have been here, Texas would have been quite warm compared to many locations further north where people were living in the open areas between the glaciers. There is more and more evidence that the Clovis people were decended from much earlier sea faring people, who originally travelled the shorelines far offshore of what is our present day surfline. But at the time this point was made the nearest ocean could have been almost 100 miles further out than Texas present day coastline.

The Clovis person who made this point might have been dieting on roasted Mammoth or other megafauna, but judging by the Clovis research at the Gault site in nearby Central Texas, he would have been just as likely to be eating turtle soup, or at least eating out of a turtle shell bowl!

The day's finds. Catahoula Clayton's on the left, mine on the right. The numerous arrowpoints found closely associated with the Clovis emphasises the dislocated nature of these finds.

We named this one the "Clovis Perdiz" as it was found right with the Clovis.
Everything we've recovered here has been washed out by recent floodwaters.

We ended up with a whole handful of arrowpoints that day.

As you can imagine, I had to return and see what was left behind just as soon as the creek level dropped. Clayton couldn't miss school, so Melody and Travis helped me check. Sure enough, a couple of small San Patrice related Paleo pieces did show up but we hadn't missed much.

We may have been looking for paleo but I was happy to add a nice Bonham point and the "Clovis" Perdiz to my arrow point frame.

Clayton always seems to manage finding a killer Catahoula! A classic East Texas arrow point.

One more shot of my Texas Clovis point. Found again after being lost by a Clovis hunter over 12,000 years ago!

When I first saw this Clovis I immediately thought about the Eastern Hazel variety Clovis point type. After looking through the descriptions in all the reference material I could find, I now think it is a Ross County Clovis. Ross County is a Clovis variety that is reported over more than the Eastern Half of North America. As noted by Greg Perino in his Ross County description, Dr. Hester reported on a similar form of Clovis point found all the way down in Central America.

I always dreamed about finding something like this but never really expected to. Clayton has been saying for years that the creek was going to give me a good paleo, but I guarantee this wasn't exactly what he was expecting!

I thank God for blessing me with the opportunity and ability to make my find of lifetime. I am thankful to the Big Chief for allowing us all of these finds. Also, we are all very thankful to the undisclosed landowner who has granted us permission to salvage these artifacts and study and record this previously untold story!

References Cited:

Turner & Hester

Gregory Perino

Timothy K Perttula

City Of Houston

"Dr." Clayton Vandergriff
Arrowhead Hunting Buddy Extraordinaire!

Photos & Text (c)2006-2007 David Crain /

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