Investigating the Clovis Child Burial

Investigating the Clovis Child Burial

Investigating the Clovis Child Burial

By Courtney Agenten

There is a lot we can learn from the past and the people who first lived here. A profound story. A story of family.

Archaeological discoveries have a way of igniting our curiosity and connecting us to our own humanity.   The discovery of an 18 - 24 month old boy buried by his family thousands of years ago provides a connection, a human connection to the past.  For contemporary Native American peoples this boy is a direct ancestor, as evidenced by recent scientific research. He and his family's complete expression of love and grief, burying him with 125 stone tools and objects including an heirloom elk antler, have given us so much insight into this ancient family. We learned one tangible way they expressed their love and grief when they poured their possessions into his grave: a testament, a memorial, to their way of life.

Who is this boy? He has been called the Anzick boy or Clovis child. His is the only known Clovis age burial and the stone tools and bones found with him are the largest and most complete assemblage of Clovis artifacts ever found. Recently, new information has emerged about this boy as a result of extracting his DNA and producing a genome for the child which provides a more in depth understanding of, "Who were the first people?". This child's genome revealed that he is a direct ancestor to 80% of all living Native Americans.

How to educate your students on recent Archaeology Discoveries:

One way to help students understand this discovery and the importance of archaeology is to have students read news articles on archaeology finds and reflect on the implications for their family and community as well as the significance of the scientific, cultural discovery for the future. Project Archaeology wants to take this opportunity to provide teachers and students with a twist on the typical Current Event Report, by issuing an Archaeology Discovery Report worksheet students can use in conjunction with a news story. It will enable students to discover the significance of artifacts, sites and remains as they summarize the key points of the story, cite their source, and reflect on how discoveries of the past shape the future.

Project Archaeology's personal connection to this discovery

Dr Shane DoyleProject Archaeology is immensely proud of our friend, tribal consultant, and fellow curriculum writer and teacher, Dr. Shane Doyle, Apsáalooke, who is an educational and cultural consultant  from Crow Agency, Montana. He was asked to serve as the tribal liaison for the repatriation (reburial) of the Anzick child.  Dr. Doyle is a  colleague of Crystal Alegria (Montana Coordinator) and Jeanne Moe (Project Archaeology Director). He is an inspiring educator who started his career teaching 4th and 5th grade in Lodge Grass, Montana and now holds a masters in Native American Studies and a PhD in Ecu.   Throughout his news appearances and lectures he provides an indigenous perspective on the discovery and notes that this is just the beginning of a long learning process. He believes that there is educational value to the scientific and cultural research of the Anzick site.

Dr. Doyle, thinks we can learn a lot, "One of the most important things is how we treated our children. The kind of care that we always have had for our children...We don't skimp on our kids and that's the reason we have survived all these years. People will look into that Anzick burial and they will see that this was a 2-year old boy. He wasn't a chief. He wasn't a great hunter. He wasn't a great warrior. He had never really contributed to any economic benefits to his tribe, but the respect and love that was shown for him was really beyond measure...The grief that those people expressed with that burial is timeless in my mind and I think it is a story people everywhere around the world should know. How Again, those values have survived into today.