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What if some or many of these attempts 10,000 to 15,000 years prior to Clovis were failures?Oklahoma's archaeological record has played a significant role in helping answer at least some of the questions about Early Arrivals and pre-Clovis settlement.Our only well-documented Clovis sites are Domebo in Caddo County, where a group/band of these people killed an Imperial Mammoth some 11,800 years ago, and Jake Bluff in Harper County, a bison kill.Two Folsom sites are present in Harper County in northwest Oklahoma.Resolution of the question may come in the near future as dating technology becomes more precise and methodology improves.The next period, the time of Early Specialized Hunters, refers to our earliest well-documented inhabitants, known in the literature as the "Clovis and Folsom cultures." Clovis people occupied Oklahoma around 11,000 to 12,000 years ago, and Folsom occurred somewhat later, around 10,000 years ago.While artifacts of Clovis people occur throughout the state, Folsom materials are restricted to the southern plains or the western part of the state.Because a great deal of time has passed, few finds occur in a stable context; they typically appear on eroded surfaces or are washed into river beds.
Evidence for Early Specialized Hunters is sparse and is widely distributed across Oklahoma.
In two locations credible evidence for pre-Clovis settlement exists: the eighteen-thousand-year-old Cooperton mammoth remains in Kiowa County, and the Burnham site in Woods County with a suite of relevant radiocarbon dates ranging from 28,000 to 32,000 years ago.
Both locations hold material associated with extinct Ice Age animals.
However, recent work with mitochondrial DNA as well as historical analysis of the evolution of Native American languages brought forth suppositions that peopling of North and South America extended back in time some 20,000 to 30,000 years ago and potentially reflected a number of separate arrivals.
The pre-Clovis argument was bolstered in southern Chile by a fourteen-thousand-year-old settlement called Monte Verde.