The Antiquity of Man in America

Objects of human manufacture recently found in the Southwest

Sandstone at Holloman

Fig. 7. Cross-bedded sandstone resting upon basal conglomerate from which artifact No. 1, Fig. 6, was taken. (See “A” in diagram, Fig. 5), Holloman Gravel Pit, Frederick, Oklahoma.

J. D. Figgins

Lying immediately on this hard conglomerate is a partially cross-bedded layer of coarse, lenticular sandstone, one and one-half to two feet in thickness. This appears to be, principally, at least, nonfossiliferous; but the following member, consisting of heavily cross-bedded and but partially cemented coarse sands, gravels, and pebbles, contains numerous fossils throughout its varying thickness of from nine feet to fifteen feet. (See Fig. 5.) Seven feet below its upper margin, or at the point marked “B,” the arrowhead illustrated in Fig. 6, No. 3 was found in position by Mr. Holloman. It is a pale grayish and reddish flint, mottled and slightly streaked, and of good workmanship. With the exception of an appearance of slight damage at the point, due, perhaps, to its having come in contact with some hard substance, it is quite complete.

On a general average level of a foot or two above the horizon at which this arrowhead was found, not less than five unquestionable metates have been uncovered in Mr. Holloman’s presence—three of these being illustrated herewith. They are composed of a hard, close-grained, limy and silicious sandstone, the ovate depression in the largest example having a maximum depth of three-quarters of an inch. The edges of these artifacts are distinctly rounded and smooth, as is the reverse side. As it cannot be doubted that these stones show evidence of human workmanship, that they are identical in general form to metates found in other localities, and owing to the fact that no other stones of a similar nature have been found in the thousands of cubic yards of material that have been removed, there can be no question about their original purpose and use.


Fig. 8. Metates from Holloman Gravel Pit, Frederick, Oklahoma. See “C” in diagram Fig. 5

J. D. Figgins
When first exposed, two of these artifacts stood in an upright position, which suggested to Mr. Holloman that they might be grave markers. Careful search, however, failed to reveal the slightest evidence of human remains. Their position in river sands, gravels, and pebbles, would seem to strengthen the evidence of their antiquity, without a history of the subsequent events that buried them from nine to twelve feet below the present surface and lowered the adjacent valleys one hundred feet below the present ridge in which they were found.

Perhaps no very great importance would be necessarily attached to these artifacts were it not for the fact that they were imbedded in ancient river channel material and that Mammoth remains, including numerous teeth, are found at various levels, to a point eight feet above them. Further, no remains of this type of Mammoth, columbi, have been found at, or below, the horizon at which the metates were exposed.

Reference has been made to pestles, or grinding stones. Five stones were found by Mr. Holloman at various levels from the base of the deposit to the horizon of the metates, but unfortunately these have been lost and are not of record here.

In connection with these finds, the writer desires especially to express his appreciation of the generosity extended by Doctor Priestly and Mr. Holloman, for not only did they lend every possible assistance, but donated to the Colorado Museum of Natural History all of the artifacts and fossils they had preserved. In addition to this, they aided in locating fossils in the possession of others. Mr. Holloman has also volunteered every facility for the Museum to engage actively in work in the quarry. Science owes Doctor Priestly and Mr. Holloman its appreciation.