This series of Clovis bifacial preforms illustrates knapping gone wrong at different stages, from early stage reduction failures, left and center, to a first fluting attempt, right, that severed the preform in half. This bone sample, like the others, was wrapped in foil as it was uncovered at the site as a protection from contamination.
Collins also interviewed longtime friend and mentor Glen Evans, who had excavated the site in 1948, "picking his brain" for recollections about other artifacts, such as long thin, Clovis bladesanother distinctive Clovis signaturewhich might not have been collected at the time.
(During the 1940s and 1950s, it was not standard procedure to collect all lithic materials found during archeological excavations.) Evans was certain there had been no thin blades in Zone 4.
No blades were collected from the Kincaid site, and Evans, today relying heavily on a sense of touch to compensate for encroaching macular degeneration, is quite certain there were none in the Zone 4 deposits. In 1954, samples of bone, charcoal, snail, and and other materials from the site were submitted for radiocarbon dating, a pioneering new technique that Willard Libby was struggling to perfect at that time.
A longtime friend and mentor of Collins, Evans has talked about the site with his younger colleague on numerous occasions and is anxious to bring the site to the attention of the public. Kincaid researchers were on hand to give a talk about the shelter during a nighttime meeting of the Texas Archological Society field school in Utopia. Archeologist Tom Hester, shown center, directed the Utopia field school, and commissioned a trace element study on the Paleoindian obsidian artifact found at the Kincaid site. Gene Mear, left, re-inventoried and measured many of the chipped stone tools from Kincaid. Both researchers hope to fully analyze and report their findings in the future. None of the results on the Kincaid materials, however, proved satisfactory.
Looking at the flake scars on the fragment, Collins recalls, "I knew that was Clovis technology." At the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, where the bulk of the Kincaid collection had been curated, Collins examined the rest of the collection.
There, among a bag of triangular bifaces classified as "Kinney" type specimens, Collins spotted a fragment with a fluted base and unusual flaking pattern.
In the early 1950s, findings from Kincaid Shelter were showcased in what became a longstanding exhibit at the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin.
Along with a selection of artifacts, a section of the ancient stone pavement was recreated and displayed.
The question was to nag him over the years as he went off to college and began studying archeology and prehistoric cultures. D and some 20 years experience in the field, Collins obtained permission to examine the Kincaid artifacts, still on display at the museum.
One specimen caught his attentionthe tip of a broken biface that had been recovered from Zone 4.
He held up the basal fragment next to the photo of the tip from the museum display.