By Andrew V. Ste. Marie
What were mammoth hunters like? Most people have the idea that mammoth hunters were hunched-over, brutish creatures, lugging stone clubs around, communicating with grunts, and wearing next to nothing. Much scientific research has shown that this view is quite inaccurate. Most recently, research on the Clute Mammoth has come to light which seriously challenges the view of mammoth hunters as ignorant, half-ape creatures.
In May of 2003, the remains of a Columbian Mammoth (nicknamed “Asiel,” meaning “created by God”) were discovered in a commercial sandpit in Clute, Texas. The creature was excavated by Texas A&M University, and creationist paleontologist Joe Taylor was involved in the research as well. Bones of various other Ice Age animals – such as deer, sloth, turtle, whale, etc. – were also found in the pit.
Three objects found with the mammoth were much more important than the mammoth itself. On the last day of the dig (February 22, 2004) a wooden bowl was discovered! Amazing! Did mammoth hunters make wooden bowls? This discovery implies they did! Unfortunately, the bowl was not found in situ – the excavator disturbed the context and found the bowl later. Evolutionary scientists believe the bowl came from the same sand layer the mammoth was found in, but about five feet higher than the mammoth. They think the bowl is about 61,000 years younger than the mammoth. The facts surrounding the site strongly suggest this could not be true.
In 2006, the bones and some bags of soil from the site were sent to the fossil laboratories of the Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum, where Joe Taylor works. He re-identified many of the bones and also looked through the bags of soil. What he discovered in the sand bags (which apparently had not been thoroughly searched for bones and artifacts) was even more shocking than the wooden bowl! In one bag, he found what appeared to him to be a shard of pottery! Mammoth hunters making pottery? This certainly does not fit our image of cave men! Upon closer inspection, the pottery had a cross-weaved pattern and appeared to have been fired; Taylor thought it looked like a woven grass bowl which had layers of clay added to it and was then fired on both sides. A Texas Tech scientist thin-sectioned the piece and found that Taylor was exactly right – it was a piece of low-fired pottery with plant inclusions. He even found a head of grain in it.
Another amazing discovery was yet to be made. Searching through a bag of black rocks from the site, Joe Taylor found a piece which was not a rock but looked like pottery! But who ever heard of black pottery? Taylor later found out that there was black clay in Mexico which was used for pottery production. The piece from Texas looked like it had been used as a tool – it was worked on every surface.
Up until now, very little has been published on this important site. Now, much of the research has been summarized from a creationist perspective in a new book edited by Joe Taylor. Titled The Prehistoric Wooden Bowl and the Mammoth Found With It, the well-illustrated, 17-page book briefly summarizes the facts about and the controversy surrounding the site. Were the bowl and the mammoth buried at the same time? Did mammoth hunters make pottery and wooden bowls? All this and more are discussed in the book and also in the latest issue of Joe Taylor’s magazine, Mt. Blanco Fossil News.
Joe Taylor summarizes the site’s importance as follows: “The Clute mammoth site is important because it gives evidence of lowered sea levels right after the Flood, allowing this mammoth, bowl and pottery to be buried 15 feet below sea level. The bowl is unique in North America. [Evolutionary paleontologist] Dr. Waters says it was washed in later at a higher level, but this layer was destroyed before anyone saw it, therefore it being at the same level cannot be ruled out. Even at that, there are lenses in the strata where within four feet, the level can vary as much as 8 inches. The pottery was at the same level as the mammoth bones. So, they show the same thing as the bowl. All the remains there were typical ‘Ice Age’ animals. A&M University got a date of 66,000 years old with thermoluminescence of the sand around the mammoth. We C-14 dated the bones and tusks and got dates of 5,900 and 5,400.”
The Bible clearly tells us of the technological sophistication of early men. Before the Flood, they built cities (Genesis 4:17), made metal tools (Genesis 4:22), and played musical instruments (Genesis 4:21). To a creationist, it is not surprising to find a wooden bowl and two pieces of pottery in a post-Flood, Ice Age context, but some evolutionists may have a hard time accepting this level of sophistication in “primitive” Ice Age man.
1. Holy Bible, Authorized Version
2. The Prehistoric Wooden Bowl and the Mammoth Found With It, edited by Joe Taylor
3. Mt. Blanco Fossil News, issue 4
All illustrations used with this article used by permission of Joe Taylor.
To order a copy of the book on the Clute Mammoth, send a check in the amount of $12 to Mt. Blanco Fossil Museum, P.O. Box 550, Crosbyton, TX 79322.
Originally published in The Witness June 2011.