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General Meeting, May 18, 2019

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Doors open at 12 noon with refreshments. Meeting begins at 1:00 pm.

Title: Bonfire Shelter: A Jumping Off Point for Understanding Ancient Americans in West Texas (more info)

Speaker: Dr. David Kilby, Associate Professor, Texas State University


The Ancient Southwest Texas Project (ASWT) at Texas State University began a new fieldwork initiative at Bonfire Shelter in 2017. The site is compelling for two primary reasons. First, it may preserve evidence of the oldest and southernmost “bison jump” in North America; however, there is disagreement as to whether a 12,000-year-old layer of bones represents one or as many as three hunting events, and whether or not they truly represent bison jumps. If they do, it is an unprecedented adaptive strategy for North American Paleoindians.

Second, a lower layer includes remains of mammoth and other Pleistocene megafauna of ambiguous origin. Previous researchers have argued that these 14,600 year old remains also reflect human activity, but this has never been verified. If the lowest deposits were confirmed as human-related, the site would rank among the earliest in America. This presentation will review the new investigations at Bonfire Shelter by ASWT, and present some tentative conclusions along with some lingering questions.


David Kilby is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University and is Co-Director of the Ancient Southwest Texas Project. His research focuses on the archaeology of the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, with particular emphasis on the relationship between Ice Age foragers and the changing physical environment of the North American Southern Plains, West, and Southwest.

He is currently undertaking new investigations at Bonfire Shelter in west Texas. He has also pursued research on Clovis caches throughout his career. David’s current fieldwork also includes Blackwater Draw in New Mexico (the Clovis Site), and two new Paleoindian sites in the Texas Panhandle. He is editor of the books Clovis Caches: Recent Discoveries and New Research and Geology, Archaeology, and Climate Change at Blackwater Draw, New Mexico, and the author of numerous book chapters and journal articles on Paleoindian archaeology.

PlaceRiverside Nature Center – 150 Francisco Lemos, Kerrville, Texas 78028