I found out yesterday that a guy in Boulder, doing some landscaping last year, shoveling, literally, uncovered a Clovis cache 18″ under his front yard. The cache contained over 80 items, ranging from small tools to the characteristic large platters of stone found in other Clovis caches:
Can you imagine? Finding something like this in your yard? Thirteen thousand years old. And rare — Clovis caches are so rare. A quick Google search comes up with only seven other known Clovis caches. The only reason I know anything about this is because the Fort Collins Museum is one of the lucky holders of a Clovis cache — the Watts cache, donated in 1941 by Ira Watts, who found the pieces when plowing his farm field in nearby Timnath. The six pieces of the Watts cache sat unremarked upon for decades until a specialist in prehistoric lithics saw them and realized what they were.
But — what were they? Tools? Weapons? Raw materials? Offerings? Legacies for the future? Maybe all of those — and other things we can’t guess at, being so far removed in time. Some of the pieces in the Mahaffy cache from Boulder are fashioned from beautifully patterned and striped stone, which tempts you to think they weren’t just utilitarian. And imagine the landscape! Camels, horses, the American lion, the giant short-faced bear. Perhaps all now sleeping beneath our feet, our homes, our front yards.
I won’t reiterate the details of the story, the analysis that’s been done on the pieces and so forth; it is fascinating, so do read it if you care to. The part I really liked was the plan to re-bury some of the pieces, to put them back where they’d been left, 13,000 years ago. Someone was expecting to return.