In the late 1920s outside a sleepy remote New Mexico village, prehistory was made. Spear points, found embedded between the ribs of an extinct Ice Age bison at the site of Folsom, finally resolved decades of bitter scientific controversy over whether the first Americans had arrived in the New World in Ice Age times. Although Folsom is justly famous in the history of archaeology for resolving that dispute, for decades little was known of the site except that it was very old. This book for the first time tells the full story of Folsom. David J. Meltzer deftly combines the results of extensive new excavations and laboratory analyses from the late 1990s, with the results of a complete examination and analysis of all the original artifacts and bison remains recovered in the 1920s - now scattered in museums and small towns across the country. Using the latest in archaeological method and technique, and bringing in data from geology and paleoecology, this interdisciplinary study provides a comprehensive look at the adaptations and environments of the late Ice Age Paleoindian hunters who killed a large herd of bison at this spot, as well as a measure of Folsom's pivotal role in American archaeology.
David J. Meltzer is Henderson-Morrison Professor of Prehistory in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University. He is editor of Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley, 150th Anniversary Edition by E.G. Squier and E. H. Davis, and author of Search for the First Americans, among other books.
"This book has been nearly 100 years in the making. Since its discovery in 1908, the full story of the Folsom site has been waiting to be told. Finally, it's all here between two covers—the site itself, and the story of its discovery."—Robert Kelly, author of The Foraging Spectrum, and former president of the Society for American Archaeology
"This book is the culmination of a monumental research effort. It documents and evaluates the data collected and personalities involved in the initial investigations over seven decades ago. It includes the results of a well-planned and executed research effort taking advantage of all resources presently available. Meltzer blends all this into a readable, understandable, and long overdue final report on the Folsom site."—George C. Frison, author of Survival by Hunting
"Discoveries at the Folsom site in 1926-27 brought remarkable changes to our perceptions of American prehistory. Meltzer returned and brought 70 years of advancement in the discipline to bear on lingering questions and then wrote this eloquent account that mirrors the history of American archaeology."—Michael B. Collins, The University of Texas at Austin
"This is an instant classic. Meltzer draws his readers in like Bison antiquus coming to water. When he springs his trap—baited with unassailable evidence from documentary and archaeological research—he scores big time. Folsom may have just established a new standard of archaeological reportage."—David Hurst Thomas, American Museum of Natural History