Paleoamerican Odyssey

By Kelly E. Graf; Caroline V. Ketron et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 27
Pre-Clovis Megafauna Butchery Sites in
the Western Great Lakes Region, USA

Daniel J. Joyce

ABSTRACT

Pre-Clovis mammoth and mastodon exploitation sites in southeast Wisconsin are reviewed and compared
with other mammoth butchery sites in North America. The Schaefer (47KN252), Hebior (47KN265), and Mud
Lake (47KN246) mammoths and the Fenske (47KN 240) mastodon provide evidence of megafauna exploita-
tion during the pre-Clovis period. These sites span 13,450–11,200 14C yr BP, ending just as the classic Clovis
culture begins.

The environment and timing of this pre-Clovis adaptation to a recently deglaciated environment are
explored using environmental data and climatic models. The timing of entry of Paleoamericans into the West-
ern Great Lakes is reviewed, and the question of economic adaptation and land use patterns to this landscape
is addressed. The proposed association of these butchery sites with a local lithic complex is analyzed.

Evidence from these pre-Clovis sites makes a case for an early megafauna subsistence strategy.
Although Clovis subsistence has been amended in recent years to a more generalized foraging model, mam-
moth butchery is still a hallmark of some Clovis sites. Is the Great Lakes Proboscidean exploitation pattern
different? Finally, a proposed relationship between these pre-Clovis butchered megafauna sites and the
subsequent Clovis culture is proposed.

KEYWORDS: Schaefer, Hebior, Chesrow, Pre-Clovis, Paleoindian, Paleoamerican


Introduction

Documented megafauna localities in the Western Great Lakes are uncommon (e.g., Overstreet 1991; Schneider 1983; West and Dallman 1980; Boszhardt et al. 1993; Overstreet et al. 1993, 1996). Concentrated efforts in Kenosha County adjacent to Lake Michigan, however, have yielded numerous isolated bones recovered, including mammoth (Mammuthus jeffersoni), mastodon (Mammut americanum), and extinct musk ox (Symbos cavifrons). These sites are associated with landscapes related to the recession of the Lake Michigan lobe ca. 18,000–14,200 14C yr BP, and most occur in inter-morainal drainages between north-south trending Tinley and Lake Border Moraine systems.

Three mammoth localities (Schaefer, Hebior, and Mud Lake) and one mastodon (Fenske) hold a special interest owing to their reported association with humans based on culturally derived marks on bones at all four sites and associated stone tools at two of the sites (Figure 27.1) (Joyce 2002, 2005, 2006; Joyce and Blazina-Joyce 2002; Overstreet 1993, 1996, 1998; Overstreet et al. 1993, 1996).

The proboscidean subsistence strategy is stereotypical of classic Clovis, but in recent years has been shown to be by no means exclusive (Waguespack 2007; Waguespack and Surovell 2003). At three of these single-event sites we see targeting of forelegs, although additional extensive butchering is seen at Schaefer.

Fenske and Mud Lake were both accidental discoveries, yielding isolated bones. Schaefer and Hebior were fully excavated between 1992 and 1994. These two sites yielded the remains of adult male mammoths, bone concentrations, associated non-diagnostic stone tools, clear, intact stratigraphic

Kenosha Public Museums, 5500 1st Avenue, Kenosha, Wisconsin
53140; e-mail:djoyce@kenosha.org

-467-

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