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Mount Olive, North Carolina

Finding a Clovis spearhead is a rare and exciting event, one that few amateur or professional archaeologists have experienced. You can survey plowed fields and excavate archaeological sites for a lifetime and never find a Clovis point. Although several hundred Clovis points have been found in North Carolina, I know of only one other person besides myself who has found a North Carolina Clovis point, and we both found them in about the same location.

Mr. Frank P. Philips, Jr. (Figure 1), found a Clovis point in 1975 in a plowed field on Oak Forest Farm, the farm that has been in his family since 1863. The field is approximately two miles west of the intersection of Highway 301 and Battleboro Avenue, Rocky Mount (formerly Battleboro), on the south side of Swift Creek in Nash County, North Carolina. The Clovis point (Figures 2 and 3) made of milky quartz is 2’/8″ in length (2.9 cm), 1″ at its widest point (2.5 cm), and 3/4″ across its base (1.9 cm). The widest point of the spearhead is located where the flute and grinding on the sides terminate. The Philips Clovis point is only fluted on one side, its base is ground, and its sides are ground approximately 7/8″ up from the concave base (2.2 cm). The flute is distinct and is about 7/8″ in length.

To date, there has not been a Clovis point found in stratigraphic context with datable carbon in eastern North Carolina; therefore, the time of Clovis occupation for the area where the Philips and Gall Clovis points were found is unknown. It is assumed that the Clovis people either co­existed with or predated the Hardaway people putting their occupation somewhere between 10,000 and 11,500 years ago. The fluted lanceolate points were probably made from locally available milky quartz. Clovis points are very rare because human population densities were very low during Paleo-Indian times; in fact, the Clovis Paleo-Indians were probably the first inhabitants of the New World to cross the threshold of archaeological visibility. Pre-Clovis people almost certainly existed but in so few numbers that their artifacts may never be discovered. Although lanceolates with and without basal thinning have been found throughout Europe and Asia, fluted lanceolates have not been found anywhere else in the world making the Clovis point with its distinctive flute an innovative technology of the Americas.