Is pendejo cave the oldest known prehistoric culture site in north America?

There is a geological feature and archaeological site located in southern New Mexico about 20 miles east of Orogrande. Archaeologists claimed that its human occupation pre-date clovis culture by 10s of thousands of years. Traditionally, it is believed to be one of the oldest if not the oldest culture in the Americas.

Pendejo is a relatively small cave, only 5 meters wide, 12 meters deep, and having a height of around 2 meters. It is below an escarpment rim, facing north, and about 50 metres above a canyon floor, in the Chihuahua desert. Amist sparse vegetation, the cave is located at an elevation of 1,490 metres. A slightly more moist habitat is found at the foot of the cliffs. (Pic)

Archaeological history:
12 years after its discovery. In 1990, the first archaeological expedition excavated the site. Clovis tools were found in the cave, along with tools from later indigenous societies.

Unifacial shavers, and other artifacts were uncovered. They were attributed to various Pleistocene to neolithic age(s). Several examples of worked bone included a horse scapula bone awl, and knife made from rib bone. Amongst salamanders, mice, voles, birds and rats were horse, lama, pronhorn, deer and even bear remains.

Archaeologist Richard MacNeish claimed to have found the oldest native North American artifacts in the cave. He estimated the oldest may date back as far as 75,000 years. According to MacNeish, the 3 pre-clovis strata were named, from oldest to youngest, orogrande, mcgregor, and north mesa.

Due to the lack of a human skeleton some scientists debunked the theory. Though in 2015, a journal of southwestern anthropology and history article may have re-confirmed the study.

Note that lack of skeletons had also de-vindicated dates in: Meadowcroft (PA), Cactus hill (VA), Monte verde (Chile), Pedra furado (Brazil) and others.

Faunal remains in the cave had been dated to older than 50,000 years. The manufacture and dating of some of the chipped stones and other alleged artifacts origin maybe disputed. However, pendejo cave presents that pre-clovis and Beringa human life in north America could have existed.

About as close as we could get to Pendejo Caves, outside Orogrande, New Mexico.

Bibliography: Adovasio, J. M., & Pedler, D. (2016b). Strangers in a New Land: What Archaeology Reveals about the First Americans. Firefly Books.

Pendejo Cave”,, accessed Oct 2021

MacNeish, Richard; Libby, Jane, eds. (2004). Pendejo Cave. University of New Mexico. p. 67. ISBN978-0826324054. Retrieved Oct 2021

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