Archaeological evidence found recently at El Fin del Mundo Site, in Sonora, will be decisive for deepening into the study of environmental changes during Pleistocene and Holocene epochs in Mexico.


The presence of a well defined 25,000 years old stratigraphic sequence, as well as the rests of a small specimen of the Gomphotheriidae family associated with cultural objects of the Clovis group, will allow knowing how humans affected the extinction of Prehistoric animals.

Guadalupe Sanchez Miranda, sub director of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) Laboratories, mentioned this after presenting the advances of research conducted at El Fin del Mundo, conducted jointly by INAH, University of Arizona and National Geographic, at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.

The project “Geoarchaeology and Lithic Technology in Sonora Paleoindian Sites” conducted by INAH for over 10 years, includes El Fin del Mundo Site, where a nearly 25,000 years old geological bed was located in 2007, in which layers rests of Pleistocene fauna and artifacts are observed.

The Geoarchaeology specialist, who works jointly with Vance T. Holliday, declared that stratigraphic findings will allow analyzing climatic changes between both geological epochs as well as verifying the possibility that gomphotheres did not disappear from North America 30,000 years ago, as it was supposed.

“It was unknown until now that Clovis hunted gomphotheres. Before these findings, it was supposed that this fauna left North America 30,000 years ago, traveling south across Mexico, without coming back. Evidence at El Fin del Mundo show that some of them stayed and Clovis arrived later; now we are certain that Clovis hunted them”.

Clovis artifacts found are evidence of their activities, as well as a small amount of organic matter found that dates from 13,000 years ago approximately; this locates cultural deposits between the Clovis time limits (11,000 BC).

“This site is less than 1,000 square meters. It is integrated by 7 geological and archaeological localities, outstanding 1 and 5”, she mentioned.

Locality 1 is integrated by the remains of a swamp with deposits of Terminal Pleistocene/Early Holocene epochs; “gomphotheres and other animals’ bones were recovered as well as artifacts associated, among them, 12 slabs, apparently used to hunt and dismember animals, and 3 Clovis projectile heads, one of white quartz and 2 made out of white flint”.

At locality 5, lithic artifacts were discovered on the surface, in a 400 by 300 meters area. To date, nearly 300 Clovis tools have been recovered, such as knives and scrapers, which reveal Clovis and other Paleoindian groups dwelled the area.

To present, off-site studies are conducted: INAH analyses fauna and lithic material while University of Arizona carries on micro stratigraphic studies. Exploration has taken place in 2 seasons, one in 2007 and the other 2008. The next season is programmed for February 2010.