Blackwater draw is an intermittent stream channel about 140 km (87 mi) long, with headwaters in Roosevelt County, New Mexico.

Around blackwater draw is mostly the Anderson basin district. Across multiple counties, the area drains around 4,000 square kilometers.  Water flows southeastward across the Llano Estacado toward the city of Lubbock, Texas. Where it joins yellow house draw and yellow house canyon at the Brazos river.

For decades around the 1920’s farmers, ranch hands and locals had been collecting lithic tools, there shavings; buffalo, and small mammal bones.   In 1929, New Mexican, Ridgeley Whiteman came across larger mammoth bones.  It was the larger pieces that excited the area and excavations begin in 1932.  What they ended up finding were a lot more than buffalo and arrow heads.  

Evidence of “fluted” points, spearheads. Now known as Clovis points. Were believed to be a new world invention.  There stone and bone weapons, tools, and processing implements were found at the archaeological site.   Clovis points are lanceolate and often, though not always, longer than Folsom points.

Clovis-age artifacts were in association with the remains of extinct Late Pleistocene megafauna, including mammoth, camel, horse, bison, saber-toothed cat, sloths, and dire wolf.  They were hunted by early people who visited the site. Generations of the earliest north American inhabitants hunted and camped at blackwater draw site.  Creating stratified levels of archaeological remains from many different time periods, including Clovis, Folsom, Midland, Agate Basin, and various Archaic period occupants.  

Blackwater draw has been a focal point for scientific community too.   Including: carnegie Institute, smithsonian Institution, academy of natural sciences, national science foundation, United States national museum, national geographic society, and more than a dozen major universities.

Due to the find, clovis chipped stone technology is currently one of the oldest and most widespread chipped stone technologies recognized.

Radiocarbon dates on sediment from the Clovis layers at Blackwater Draw average around 11,290 years before the present.

What are playas?:
Towards the end of the Pleistocene period, the climate began to change. It brought warmer and drier weather in the south, causing the water flow in the region to dramatically decrease. This decrease, caused small seasonal lake basins called playas to form.

“Playas” became popular hunting locations for early North Americans.

Blackwater draw became a national historic landmark in 1961 and incorporated into the national register of historic places in 1966.

Bibliography: Agogino, George A., et al., “BLACKWATER DRAW LOCALITY NO. 1, SOUTH BANK: REPORT FOR THE SUMMER OF 1974”, Plains Anthropologist, vol. 21, no. 73, pp. 213–23, 1976

Boldurian, Anthony T., and Susanne M. Hubinsky, “PREFORMS IN FOLSOM LITHIC TECHNOLOGY: A VIEW FROM BLACKWATER DRAW, NEW MEXICO”, Plains Anthropologist, vol. 39, no. 150, pp. 445–464, 1994

Blackwater Draw NHL and Museum, Portales NM”. Blackwater Draw NHL and Museum, Portales NM.

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