Blackwater Draw Site

(Portales NM)
The Blackwater Draw Archeological Site revealed bones and artifacts dating to as far back as 13,500 years ago. It contained evidence of the oldest defined cultural group in North America; the Clovis people.

Blackwater Draw Dig

Blackwater Draw – Skulls

The small Visitor Center included information, photographs, spear points and knife blades, and bone samples excavated from the area. Helpful docents provided good explanations of what the site was like, its history, and discovery.

Blackwater Draw Dig

Table of Bones & Photos

Blackwater Draw Dig

Spear Points & Knife Blades

A trail followed the edge of what once was a prehistoric lake and spring where the artifacts were found. It doesn’t look as it did then due to gravel mining which uncovered the treasure. A few signs along the way explained the discoveries. Several ancient wells have been found.

Blackwater Draw Dig

Landscape of the Dig Site

Blackwater Draw Dig

Another View of the Area

A metal building covered the main excavation, with exposed bone piles of critters. Ice Age Bison which were 1/4 larger than those today, Columbian Mammoths (28 found in the area), and other assorted animals like peccary, saber-toothed tiger, and dire wolf.

Blackwater Draw Dig

Portion of Excavation in Building

The site is operated by Eastern New Mexico University, and is only open on weekends for a small entry fee in April, May, September, and October (if docents are available). The main museum (at another location) has closed. The collections that were there are being moved to the main campus and should be available when completed.

Camp: Oasis SP drycamp
Scene: Displays, bones, tools, trail

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2 Responses to Blackwater Draw Site

  1. Martha May 22, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

    I haven’t heard anything about the Clovis people for a long time. Did they just disappear or did they meld into other cultures. I’d like to see that museum but I’m afraid my traveling days are over.

    • Pleinguy May 22, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

      There is some DNA evidence that the Clovis are distant ancestors of native tribes. That perhaps they dwindled and dispersed and became identified as other pre-historic groups. Look them up on Wikipedia for a good overview.

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