13,000-year-old tools unearthed at Colorado home





Landscapers were digging a hole for a fish pond in the front yard of a Boulder home last May when they heard a "chink" that didn't sound right. Just some lost tools. Some 13,000-year-old lost tools. They had stumbled onto a cache of more than 83 ancient tools buried by the Clovis people — ice age hunter-gatherers who remain a puzzle to anthropologists.

The home's owner, Patrick Mahaffy, thought they were only a century or two old before contacting researchers at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

"My jaw just dropped," said CU anthropologist Douglas Bamforth, who is leading a study of the find. "Boulder is a densely populated area. And in the midst of all that to find this cache."

The tools reveal an unexpected level of sophistication, Bamforth said, describing the design as "unnecessarily complicated," artistic and utilitarian at the same time.

What researchers found on the tools also was significant. Biochemical analysis of blood and other protein residue revealed the tools were used to butcher camels, horses, sheep and bears. That proves that the Clovis people ate more than just woolly mammoth meat for dinner, something scientists were unable to confirm before.

Bamforth believes the tools had been untouched since the owners placed them there for storage.



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