Dr. E. Gary Stickel
Principal Archaeologist for the Farpoint Project

The Farpoint Site (State of California formal designation: CA-LAN-451), is a recent and major archaeological discovery in California. The exciting discovery at the site was a Clovis projectile point (spearhead). The point was miraculously saved by Mr. Edgar Perez, Native American Cultural Resources Specialist, while he was monitoring a backhoe excavating a trench for a new mansion development on Point Dume. We knew we had a major find but we didn't know how major until we closely examined the specimen in our laboratory. It was noticed that the stone point did not fit the local archaeological record. Instead its precise overall shape, its slightly concave base and the fact that it had "fluted flakes" detached from its base, were all attributes indicating that the point belonged to the Clovis Culture. The Clovis Culture is the oldest identifiable culture in the New World. The name derives from the town of Clovis, New Mexico where the first Clovis site was found. Not being Clovis experts ourselves, we had the point examined by the foremost Clovis expert scholars around the country (including Prof. Vance Haynes, Univ. of Arizona; Professor Bruce Huckell, Director of the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology at the Univ. of New Mexico, and Prof. Don Johnson, Univ. of Illinois). Also Dr. Dennis Stanford, Chief Archaeologist at the Smithsonian, not only confirmed the find as Clovis, but states the unique status of the Farpoint Site in the Americas (see his quotes below). The Clovis Culture dates from about 11,500 Before Present to possibly as late as 11,000 years ago. It is also the widest spread of any ancient culture in the New World, ranging from Canada to Venezuela and from the U.S. eastern seaboard to the west, with the Farpoint site being the first discovery of a Clovis Site with a subsurface imbedded point at "continent's end," on the dramatic Point Dume along the Malibu coast. The world of the time Clovis was the late Ice Age (Pleistocene Epoch), one with many glaciers, frigid landscapes and ice-cold rivers and waterways. Ancient Clovis People used their distinctive Clovis Points to hunt the "megafauna" (or big game) of the Late Pleistocene, game such as the large mammoths, mastodons and extinct bison.

There are two theories for the origins of the Clovis Culture. The traditional theory is that Clovis represents ancient Native Americans who immigrated across the Bering Land Bridge, between Siberia and Alaska and from there they made their way ever south until both North and South America were inhabited. However, according to Dr. Dennis Stanford, there are no antecedents for the Clovis spearheads in Asia whereas there are in ancient Europe. Therefore he believes Clovis people originated from the Solutrean Culture of what is now Spain and France, and coursing their way on boats along the coastlines of northwest Europe and then westward around Iceland, Greenland, to Nova Scotia, then southward along the Atlantic seaboard until they reached what is now the SE United States. From there Clovis proliferated and expanded westward, inhabiting virtually every State, until the Farpoint Site was reached at Continent's end. Dr. Stanford told me, however, that if we obtained a radiocarbon date earlier than the Clovis sites in the eastern U.S., he might have to revise his theory. That's how important the Farpoint Site is. Also if we were to find even one human tooth of the Clovis from Farpoint, we could do mitochondrial DNA analysis of it and see if there is a genetic match indicating which theory would appear to be correct. I also want to mention that we have already obtained (in 2000) a radiocarbon date of 9,000 years ago, which made Farpoint the oldest site in the City of Malibu at that time. Dr. Stanford believes Farpoint will date to 11,000 years ago or to the time of terminal Clovis. I also want to mention that the Chumash Native Americans have extensive remains at the Farpoint Site apparently above the Clovis material. We need to answer questions as to how early they were there and did they interact with the Clovis people? Only further research will answer these questions. Unfortunately the owner/developer of the property where the site is located, has stopped cooperating with us and has been, unfortunately, unnecessarily destroying parts of the site (e.g. with long excavated trenches apparently for a lawn sprinkler system, etc.). Thus the support group, The Friends of Farpoint was created to push for the preservation of not only this most important site, but to push for changes in the laws pertaining to cultural resources in the City of Malibu, State of California and, indeed, in the nation, so that discoveries of sites like Farpoint in the future will be recognized, protected and preserved for the edification of all citizens in the U.S., indeed around the world.

The Farpoint Site is of National and International interest; the following quotes are examples. As Dr. Stanford recently stated:

"I have examined ...the 'Clovis' biface from the Farpoint Site. There is no question that the artifact was made using Clovis technology and thereby indicates that the site was occupied by Clovis people over 11,000 years ago.

...the discovery of a Clovis age occupation at the site is extremely important not only for the local archaeological record, but for understanding the earliest pre­history of the Americas. Hence the site is of national significance and requires an interdisciplinary research program and protection."

And Dr. Stanford goes on to state the uniqueness of the new site:

"...until the discovery of the Farpoint Site, no 'in situ' Clovis age sites are known along the west coast of the Americas."

Dennis Stanford, Ph.D.
Director of the Paleoindian/
Paleoecology Program
Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C.

The London Times ran a story (Feb. 10, 2007) on the Farpoint Site's discovery, and since then a Press Conference was held (May 2, 2007) at the George C. Page Museum of La Brea Fossil Discoveries (held there because Richard Reynolds of the Museum analyzed and identified all of our recovered animal bones from Farpoint). Following that there have been a string of good articles in the Malibu Papers about the site. For example, Anne Soble, Editor of the Malibu Surfside News said in her newspaper's editorial, " (the Farpoint Site) is going to be the subject of great interest to not only archaeologists but also to those in every classroom throughout the world where the origins of human society are studied." And last August 3 (2007) California's State Historical Resources Commission (SHRC) voted virtually unanimously to recommend James Flaherty's and my nomination of the site to the National Register of Historic Places. Another good development was last week, when the Director of the University of Arizona's Accelerator Mass Spectrometer Laboratory (funded by the National Science Foundation) agreed to run radiocarbon samples to obtain the needed new dating for the Farpoint Site. Thus there has been both good academic, government institutional (the SHRC) and popular media recognition of the Farpoint Site. We invite you to become a member of the Friends of Farpoint and help us in this good endeavor to save our past for the future.

William Faulkner said, "The past is never dead, it's not even past." To help us keep our past alive, please join the Friends of Farpoint. The Friends have a two-fold purpose at present: 1) To save the Farpoint Site, which presently is endangered and has been suffering unwarranted destructions of parts of it over the last year; 2) To sign up people on our petition, the goal of which is to promote better legislation at the city, state and national levels to properly protect Farpoint and other such sites in the future for our national cultural heritage. To join please contact:

Dr. Gary Stickel, ph. (323) 937-6997; e-mail.

We look forward to you joining with us on this exciting odyssey.

Google Earth satellite photo of Point Dume, where the Farpoint Site is located. Point Dume is the most prominent landform feature along the 27-mile Malibu coast.

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