Clovis and WST Point Sourcing Study

Recent research in the northern Great Basin suggests that Clovis and Western Stemmed Tradition (WST) points display very different source profiles when submitted for geochemical characterization.  Work by Dr. Patrick O'Grady (University of Oregon) and colleagues at the Dietz, Sheep Mountain, and Sage Hen Gap sites and Dr.'s Geoffrey Smith and Teresa Wriston (UNR) at sites in Warner Valley suggests that Clovis points are often made on nearby obsidian sources whereas WST points are often made on more distant sources.  Although preliminary, these findings warrant further investigation and we are currently compiling larger samples of sourced Clovis and WST points to determine if the pattern holds.  Sourcing data are often used to reconstruct lithic conveyance zones (sensu Jones et al. 2003), which have been interpreted to reflect Paleoindian foraging territories.  If this interpretation is correct, then the differing conveyance zones implied by Clovis and WST point source provenance data suggest that users of the two technologies may have used very different land-use strategies.  Ultimately, we hope to bring our results to bear on current hypotheses regarding the relationship between Clovis and WST technology in the northern Great Basin and its implication on New World colonization.

  WV Points

Fluted and WST points from the northern Great Basin: (a-k) Clovis points; and (l-r) WST points.