Paleoindian hunters were the first humans to use the Pajarito Plateau, arriving here more than 11,000 years ago.
clovis point
This Clovis point (left side of image) is approximately 12,000 years old. It is one of the oldest artifacts found in Bandelier. The point, mounted on a spear, was used for hunting large animals and was propelled by an atlatl.

NPS Museum Collection

Groups of Paleoindians followed the movement of large, now-extinct species of ancient bison and mammoths. For the hunt, they crafted stone spear points and cutting tools, such as the Clovis point seen here. To improve their hunting success, they propelled their sharp spears with an altatl. This tool improved the power and distance a spear could be thrown. Warming temperatures and the extinction of many species of large animals brought an end to the Paleoindian lifestyle.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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