Paleoindians

Mastodon skeleton on display
Paleoindian hunter and mastodon skeleton on display at the Mastodon State Historic Site in Missouri, photographed by Kevin Saff

People first migrated from Asia to North America more than 15,000 years ago. The Clovis Culture, identified by the fluted spear points they left behind, was the first group of inhabitants to range widely across North America. Clovis spear points in Illinois date to 12,000 years ago. Clovis artifacts are few but found across the state, suggesting a nomadic lifestyle. In 1979 at the Kimmswick site in Missouri, south of St. Louis, a team of paleontologists and archaeologists from the Illinois State Museum discovered a spear point in contact with a mastodon bone and evidence that the hide of an extinct ground sloth served as a tent or ground cover.