Freedom New Mexico: Liliana Castillo Eastern New Mexico University anthropology graduate students Harlan McCaffery, left, and Stacey Bennett work together to gather yucca leaves at the Blackwater Draw site. Bennett will be teaching open house attendees how to make sandals out of leaves.
By Clarence Plank: Freedom New Mexico
The world-renowned Blackwater Draw between Clovis and Portales is the site of an open house displaying skills prehistoric man used to survive.
All are part of archeology unearthed in digs at the site the past 80 years that have helped explain the mysteries of the Ice Age and prehistoric man.
The event is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The open house is a chance to see how prehistoric man made pottery and sandals. Displays and demonstrations also include hide-working, flintknapping, cordage (rope making) and using an Atlatl to hunt.
George Crawford, site archaeologist, said that the site is a scientific jewel.
“We’ve been working out here for 80 years or so, since 1929 to 1932 when they first discovered the spot,” Crawford said. “Archaeologists, scientists and biologists from all the world have been come here to understand the ice age and how things have changed over time.”
Crawford said the site holds a good environmental record of what happened in the past.
The open house is the reopening the Blackwater Draw dig site to the community for people to come see what has been going on at the site.
“What we are trying show … how prehistoric people lived,” Crawford said. “We’re really emphasizing … how prehistoric pottery was made and following the process from clay to pottery.”
Artists will also be demonstrating how to make sandals out of yucca leaves, Clovis points through flintknapping and drying animal skins.
Heather Davis, an anthropology student at Eastern New Mexico University, said having the site here is a great opportunity to expand her experience.
“It is really important because there is a lot here that I won’t necessarily learn in the classroom,” Davis said. “I think it is good to get people involved to see what is going on for conservation purposes. So everyone can see what is going on out here and how cool it really is.”
Another anthropology student, Harlan McCaffery, came from Michigan so he could study at the dig site.
“It is probably one of the most interesting things to see in Portales,” McCaffery said. “Clovis is the namesake of the earliest Indian culture in the world so I think it is immensely important.”