Saturday, April 10, 2010


Pendejo Cave sits in a mid-Permian limestone cliff overlooking Rough Canyon and the dry beds of glacial lakes that attracted herds of now-extinct elephants, bison, horses, and camels. It is 48 km south of Alamogordo, New Mexico; about 16 km to the northeast is the southern end of the Sacramento Mountains, which was the furthest southern extent of the last Wisconsin glaciation. The north-facing cave is dry and was formed by earth movement rather than stream action. The cave is 13 m deep north-south, 6 m wide, and about 8 m high. Before excavation, about 2.5 m of dry deposits covered the floor in the center of the cave. Twenty-two extremely well-defined strata were uncovered within the cave, and they yielded 72 radiocarbon dates on charcoal, wood, and other botanical remains, 60 of these determinations being in the pre-Clovis period (earlier than 11,500 years BP). Accelerator testing of the zone C2 hair, very probably human (per lateral view), yielded two radiocarbon dates--12,370 ± 80 years BP(UCR3276A) and 12,240 ± 70 years BP (UCR3276B).

Human Modification of Animal Bones
in Pre-Clovis Zones of Pendejo Cave

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