In 1952, Ed Lehner discovered extinct mammoth bone fragments in the geological deposits at the locality now referred to as the Lehner Mammoth-Kill Site. He notified the Arizona State Museum and excavations took place in 1955-56, and again in 1974-75.
Artifacts found during these excavations included thirteen fluted Clovis projectile points, butchering tools, chipped stone debitage and fire hearth features.
Bones of a variety of game (twelve immature mammoths, one horse, one tapir, several bison, one camel, one bear, several rabbits, and a garter snake) were also excavated.
The Lehner Mammoth kill and camp site exhibited a number of firsts: It was the first site associated with the Clovis culture to have definable fire hearths. These hearths provided the first radiocarbon dates for the culture (9,000 B.C.).
This site was also the first to have butchering tools in direct association with animal remains, and the first Clovis association with small animals, camel, and tapir.
In addition to the obvious artifact remains, an inter-disciplinary group of scientists including archaeologists, botanists, geochronologists, geologists, paleontologists, palynologists, and zoologists have studied and interpreted a wide range of data from the site that greatly adds to our understanding of the past.
Geochronologists studying the complex soil stratigraphy arrived at a site date of about 13,000 years ago as compared to the radiocarbon date of 11,000-12,000 years ago.
Geologists studying the lithic material determined that the stone artifacts were of local chert, jasper, chalcedony, andesite, and rhyolite.
Botanists identified pine, ash, and oak in the charcoal from the hearths. Such work allows us to more accurately reconstruct past environments and the ways that human cultures adapt and change to survive.
The site was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1967, and in 1988 was kindly donated by Mr. and Mrs. Lehner to the Bureau of Land Management for the benefit and education of the public. It is only through the understanding of the past that we have an appreciation of the present, and hope for the future.
San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
Manager: Dennis Sylvia, Acting
1763 Paseo San Luis
Sierra Vista, AZ 85635-4611