robert z selden jr, blackwater draw, clovis, agate basin, 3d, 3d scan, 3d model, projectile point, dart point, new mexico, culture, history, prehistory, heritage

3D Cardboard Puzzle–Clovis Point

Have you ever wanted to make a 3D cardboard puzzle of a Clovis point? Now you can! Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to scan a selection of Clovis points from the Blackwater Draw NHS, and those will soon be available (open access) for download. In the meantime, you can build your own Clovis point (and/or share the experience with your children, students, colleagues and friends), modeled from LA3324-25313 (above), and made available here as a 3D puzzle.


To build the model, simply download the instructions (here), then print them on an 8.5 x 11″ piece of paper, paste that piece of paper on whatever remnants of a cardboard box is most accessible, cut them out, then assemble (note – glue helps, but s not required)! While it does not give you all of the rich detail that we captured in the 3D scan, it will give you a feel for the size and shape of these important cultural artifacts. You can interact with the 3D scan of the Clovis point below (press play, then click/drag to rotate and scroll to zoom).

While you play with the puzzle, take a moment to ponder the design, the shape, and the size of the Clovis point. There is a lot of good work taking place in the realm of geometric morphometrics (shape analysis) that is helping archaeologists to better explain the variation that occurs in Clovis points across the United States. In fact, some of those insights are coming from studying the flake scars (removals) on each of the points (view and manipulate the channel flake scar from the above point in the model below). Results from a recent study point toward a widespread and standardized knapping technique that the researchers believed to be transmitted by direct interaction between makers from different Clovis-era groups.

Go ahead and give this a try! Build your own 3D model of an actual Clovis point from the Blackwater Draw National Historic Site, near Clovis, New Mexico.


Written by zselden

My research is focused at the confluence of archaeology, engineering, computer science, and the humanities. I am particularly interested in the application of 3D technologies to archaeological problems, geometric morphometrics, network analyses, archaeological theory, and archaeological science.

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