13,000-Year-Old Clovis People Site Located in St. Joseph County Michigan
A St. Joseph County resident's discovery rewrites Michigan's history.
History is being written and changing every day. The newly discovered prehistoric camp site is believed to be the earliest archaeological site in the State of Michigan and changes state history.
The thirteen-thousand-year-old Clovis camp site in St. Joseph County is now thought to be the earliest archaeological site located in Michigan. Longtime St. Joseph County resident Tom Talbot (a self-taught researcher and amateur archeologist) made the discovery of a lifetime while furloughed during the pandemic. He found a site that predates previously identified human settlements in the Michigan basin and potentially rewrites the history of the peopling—or settling—of the Great Lakes region, according to the University of Michigan.
Talbot said he had always been interested in digging in the farm fields of rural St. Joseph County since he was a child. He often walked the freshly plowed farm fields in the spring searching for Native American spear points. Talbot discovered his first Clovis spear in 2008. Such items have been discovered before but never in such high concentrations of completely undisturbed areas underground.
Researchers with the University of Michigan say the site was likely occupied by a small group of people who briefly lived on a river in southwest Michigan toward the end of the Pleistocene. The finding also suggests the newly discovered settlement is the northwestern-most Clovis settlement in the Great Lakes region.
The Clovis people were a Paleoindian culture who lived in the Americas between 13,000 and 12,500 years ago. Clovis people are considered to be the early ancestors of most of today's Native Americans.
Researchers say previous to the recent discovery, there was little evidence that Clovis had settled in Michigan. The region was nearly uninhabitable at this time as much of the state, with the exception of a triangular patch over southwest Michigan that extended toward the tip of the mitten, was covered by glaciers.
Archeologists with the University of Michigan say that the group of Clovis had likely traveled to the area to hunt and fish and were not likely living in the area for an extended period of time. Possibly traveling tot he area a few times a year
St. Joseph County, Michigan has a rich history. The historic Langley Covered Bridge has been preserved and remains a big draw in the fall for the areas natural beauty autumn colors. You can take a virtual color tour by scrolling down.