A spot along the San Pedro River where the earliest known humans in the New World butchered bison and mammoths has been named one of the "five great places to see evidence of first Americans" by Smithsonian Magazine.
The Murray Springs Clovis site, now part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, was first excavated in 1966 by C. Vance Haynes Jr. and Peter Mehringer of the Arizona State Museum.
The two archaeologists had participated in earlier digs along the San Pedro that had uncovered evidence of mammoth hunting by the Paleo-Indians known as Clovis, named for the site near Clovis, N.M. where the evidence of their existence - fluted spear points - was first found.
At a San Pedro tributary named Curry Draw, Haynes and Mehringer unearthed the bones of a mammoth, along with bison and early relatives of the horse and camel.
They also uncovered a mother lode of Clovis artifacts - spear points, hearths, stone tools and flakes that indicated a group of Clovis had camped there, hunted and butchered their kills, and sharpened their spear points before moving on.
The site, just east of Sierra Vista, is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. It has an interpretive trail with exhibits explaining the site and what is known about the Clovis people and the megafauna they hunted at the end of the last ice age, some 13,000 years ago.
Last year it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
The four other "great places" named by the magazine are the original New Mexico Clovis site, now called Blackwater Draw National Historic Landmark; the Mastodon State Historic Site, Imperial, Mo.; Lubbock Lake, Landmark, Texas, and Meadowcroft Rock Shelter, Avella, Pa.
Read the magazine article at: