About the folsom culture

The Folsom style site entails regenerated field study and review of existing collections from excavations in the 1920s. Bemez, Carter, Jelley, Carlson, and Fine (2012) Between 1997 and 2000, the gathering took place. According to studies, both excavations took place in the Paleo-kill valley’s areas, where animals would be left. Around this place, thirty-two Bison antiques were butchered. This region was dominated by low usefulness bones and fractured projectile pieces. High utility bones, hides, and meat processing equipment were almost never found in the region. Instead, they were discovered outside of the killing zone. However, there are various flora and fauna that remain in the region. The remnants of fauna along the tributary were concealed by sediments Faunal remains along the paleo valley underwent redeposition and or movement from one place to another. The collection consists mainly of projectile points and consists of material from Texas panhandle which is quite a distance from the kill area.

The collection also consists of stone obtained far north or Northwestern part of the site Radiocarbon dating identifies the killings to have occurred over ten thousand years ago. The Folsom type site is among the best archeological locations in North America. Folsom culture gets characterized by thin projectile stone points that are leaf-shaped. The tools are named after their place of discovery in New Mexico. The stone artifacts have similar characteristics which are a central groove or a flute, along with both faces and neatly worked edges. Among the objects discovered at the Folsom site are the chipped flint points and various stone tools. The remnants of extinct varieties of Bison got collected from the Folsom site. The Folsom points were crucial parts of the weaponry since they were fastened to a shaft and inserted into a spear. The weapon would then be used to hunt the mammoth which was a massive mammal. (Carlson, Bement, Culleton & Kennett 2015). Folsom natives would strike the animal, and the foreshaft would remain attached as they further took control of the entrails of the hunt. Several discoveries of spearheads have made.

One Folsom type site was discovered in Lindenmeier in Colorado before the Paleo Indian period. This Folsom type killing area led to the discovery of Folsom points that were in contact with animal bones of extinct species. Excavations began in 1924 as many scientists doubted the antiquity of Folsom. The Folsom site is an important archeological site because archeologists firmly believed that human beings existed in North America for between three thousand and four thousand years only. This perception was before radiocarbon dating took place. Folsom site cleared this ambiguity. A massive thunderstorm occurred in the Folsom area wiping off structures and killing humans in 1908.A ranch help inspected the extent of damages near the dead horse Arroyo and noticed that the horse had been deeply scoured by the storm exposing one side of its bones. (Thomas, 2013). The bones appeared like Bison bones though a bit large. The ranch help also found several stone points that seemed unusual.

In 1918 Mcjunkin the ranch help began excavation together with Ivan shoemaker who was the son of the ranch owner. Mcjunkin was not an archeologist, but as an educated man he noted that the bones were not from a modern type bison and being far from the surface indicated that the bones could not be of recent origin. . (Thomas, 2013). Exploratory digging around this area of discovery led to the exposition of other bones including projectile points. In 1926 an archeologist named Jesse Figgins got on site. Despite the research attempts, Figgins’s idea that the point discoveries got made by humans due to the evidence of old bones got rejected by the archeologists at that time. These archeologists believed that the bones were found there through erosion from their original place of formation and they got mixed with bison bones before the excavation took place. Finally, Jesse Figgins located the rib of a bison with a stone lance attached to it. Figgins stopped the excavation work and used the telegraph to communicate to other archeologists to see the discoveries. It was then evident that humans existed in North America earlier than what was presumed. The revelations of the projectile points were unique and very distinct that they marked the culture in existence about ten thousand years ago. The Folsom points were a characteristic of the Folsom culture.

In 1928 Figgins finished his work and abandoned the archeological site. Figgins stated that there was nothing left in the place, but he was only discouraging other archeologists from following his steps. The government took over the site, and it ceased from being private property. The discovered artifacts got transferred to the Denver Museum of Natural History. However this discovery led to too many unanswered questions. In 1997 Dr.David Meltzer decided to establish that there was nothing left on the site. (Sonneborn, 2014). He revisited the site and found a whole lot of discoveries after working for a couple of years. Owing to the developments over ten thousand years ago, Dr.Meltzer explained that a group of hunters encountered a herd of bisons and they used sharp stones tied to sticks to attack the creatures.

The Folsom hunters would drive the Bisons to a narrow end by initiating a stampede that would make the bisons charge into the arroyo striking in.The Folsom hunters would then use their stone tools to attack the bison. The Bisons were estimated to have lived during the late Pleistocene period. (Sonneborn, 2014). Archeologists estimate that the Folsom Hunters killed around thirty-two bisons which is evident from the remnants of the bisons. Questions arise since this denotes a lot of meat and one would expect to find a meat processing firm nearby, but up to date none has been seen. Another contentious issue is that apart from the discoveries of the finely chipped lance points, there are no traces of the Folsom folks. There is room for further research in future. Future research in the Folsom site would enable us to answer lingering questions such as why the area was left void around four thousand years ago. Where could the people who had continuously lived in that area have vanished? The evidence found presumes that people continuously lived in that area but there are also chances that the people could have been migrating from one place to another. Future Studies could also enable us to determine the population settlement pattern based on the locations where the artifacts got collected.

Dr. Meltzer established that there was a small application of techniques at the excavation site and the site control was also inappropriate. (Shott, 2015). Dr. Meltzer found a dozen points stuffed in the place of three. Lyson who was more inclined to the study of animal bones got disturbed by the Sight at Folsom. He was concerned about the picture of the Folsom point attached on the ribs of a bison antique. After studying the image, it appeared to him as a cluster of bricks since the bones were in a similar position with each other. According to Lyson, the Folsom point got embedded within the ribs of the extinct bison, but we cannot possibly say that the Folsom point was inside the rib cage of the living animal. Lyson doesn’t criticize the discovery as he sees a connection between the archaic bones and the Folsom spear points. However Lyson tends to think that the striking bone should be less fierce than a gun.

Lindenmeier site is an archeological site known for its Folsom components. The location is located on the former Lindenmeier ranch and contains artifacts dated up to ten thousand years ago. The place got comprised of stone and remains of bones situated along the borders of an old tributary valley about half a mile. The location became well preserved as part of the areas covered in the sediment of clay and silt deposited by floodwaters and storms of wind throughout the years. The groups symbolize areas where Folsom people carried out activities such as hunting, cleaning and cloth making. (Reitze, Sinkovec & Huckell, 2012). The Folsom points were thought to have been as a result of the hunting trips. The flute points discovered are perceived to be the emergence of the flute technology. Bone needles and scrappers would get used for cutting hides. There were also discoveries of decorative art forms, broken bones and red ochre concentrations that could possibly have gotten used for painting or maybe as preservative.

The findings were in a clustered arrangement which signified a single residence. It is estimated that each group of the Folsom folks comprised a population of forty people. (Reitze, Sinkovec & Huckell, 2012).However it is also likely that the Folsom people moved to different places with time. Excavations led to discoveries of projectile points dated to the early prehistoric periods. There were even several fire pits that dated to the mid -archaic period. This innovation got enhanced by radiocarbon dating in the area. The site is significant as it gives an insight of the origin of the people of Colorado. Archeologists accrue this to the discoveries found in this area. The artifacts existed in the late prehistoric era. In 1961, Lindenmeier site got declaration as a National Historic Landmark. The first humans were presumed to have come to Colorado during the ice age or the Paleo-Indian period.

Extinct species such as the bison, horses and the mammoth existed during this time. Increase in temperature led to dry land with less food that resulted in the extinction of large mammals. Humans shifted to hunting and gathering to survive. (White, 2012). The Folsom culture came into existence with the use of small projectile points as weapons to attack smaller mammals. The Lindenmeier site is the most significant known site in life and contains artifacts of Paleo Indians that practiced hunting and gathering over ten thousand years ago in the area around Fort Collins. The objects got identified by the Folsom tradition and got named after the Folsom site in New Mexico where they became discovered. The Folsom points were used to hunt the bison antiquus that is no longer in existence. The Folsom folks could have also gathered food such as seeds, nuts or fruits in season. The Folsom people are presumed to be nomads due to the evidence of the bison herds found.

The tools and artifacts of the Lindenmeier site depicted the Folsom culture. The wedge-shaped spearheads and scrappers would get used for skinning the bison hides. The incomplete pieces of the tools represent that the Folsom folks applied massive pressure when using the tools. Granules of hematite were used in extraction of red ochre. Round discs with indented high polish surfaces signified the Paleo-Indian artwork. (White, 2012). The collection of different artifacts were a sign that the area could be a residential camp. This place is the oldest known site of Folsom tradition. The bone of an ancient camel got found at the kill area. It became presumed that it could have originated from a different area. The Lindenmeier site is an indication of human existence over thirteen thousand years ago. However, there were more artifact discoveries beyond the Folsom culture. Yuma points were thought to have existed later than the Folsom tradition. Unfluted points signified the old kill area. Fewer artifacts in the post-Folsom era was a sign that the people lived shorter than those of the Folsom culture.

Excavations led to a collection of artifacts through different historical periods. During the Paleo-Indian period, the Folsom tradition involved hunting of large mammals. The old time was in existence about two thousand and eight thousand years ago, and it consisted of hunting wildlife and gathering plants. The animals killed included the antelope, deer or the rabbit. Wild vegetation got collected, and there was continuous movement in search of better hunting and gathering areas. (Hurcombe, 2014). Corn became a constituent of the diet and pot making began due to the need to store and carry food. In the late prehistoric period, culture became more diversified. There was the cultivation of crops and domestication of animals. Pottery and basket making took place. The culture entailed the performance of rituals. In 1924 the Coffins began investigations on the Lindenmeier site together with the stone tools. A forest reserve ranger named C.K Collins together with Lynn Coffin and Judge Claude coffin discovered Lindenmeier site. Following the first discovery Major Roy Coffin revisited the site with Judge Claude coffin his brother and Lynn. Dr. Renaud, an anthropologist, assisted them in identifying the spear points as the Folsom points discovered at the Folsom site in 1926.The place got named after the landowner during the time of discovery. Further studies established that the bison was about seven feet tall. The site was also dated to exist in the late glacial period. In addition to that, the radiocarbon dating of the Lindenmeier site was also found and published.

Paleo-Indian studies in the Lindenmeier site go hand in hand with evolution studies in North America. Despite poorly reported findings in the Lindenmeier sites in the period of early discoveries of Folsom sites, the real explanations got based on the archeological historical information. Very little was known on how to figure out chronology and several discoveries went unreported. (Kilby & Crawford, 2013). In the beginning of the twentieth century, artifact collectors and archeologists took the ground. Earlier in the Folsom culture made more of a historical perspective. Understanding the evolution of human occupation and culture occurred gradually in early 1900, but things got clearer with more discoveries in the mid-nineties. These findings led to the further growth of paleo Indian studies in North America. Through researches in Colorado, Archeological investigations in North America took a more sophisticated ground yielding productive results in the interpretation of Paleo-Indian adaptation to the changing ecosystems. (Surovell, 2012). The studies began at the exploration and excavation stage through site-based research in the mid-sixties and eventually sophisticated and interdisciplinary research methods in the late nineties.


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Carlson, K. A., Bement, L. C., Culleton, B. J., & Kennett, D. J. (2015). The Jake Bluff East Paleoindian Bison Butchering Feature, Northwest Oklahoma. PaleoAmerica, 1(2), 201-203.

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Reitze, W. T., Sinkovec, C., & Huckell, B. B. (2012). Folsom technology and toolstone use at the Martin site, north central New Mexico. Plains Anthropologist, 57(223), 237-259.

Shott, M. J. (2015). Theory in archaeology: morphometric approaches to the study of fluted points. Lithic Technological Systems and Evolutionary Theory, 48-60.

Sonneborn, L. (2014). Chronology of American Indian History. Infobase Publishing.

Surovell, T. A. (2012). Toward a behavioral ecology of lithic technology: cases from Paleoindian archaeology. University of Arizona Press.

Thomas, D. H. (2013). Exploring Ancient Native America: An Archaeological Guide. Routledge.

White, J. M. (2012). Everyday Life of the North American Indian. Courier Corporation.

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