Day Trips: Horn Shelter Man

Mystery still surrounds ancient remains

Day Trips: Horn Shelter Man
photos by Gerald E. McLeod
Day Trips: Horn Shelter Man

Horn Shelter Man is an enigma wrapped in an animal skin and covered in 11,200 years of debris near Clifton. Scientists first thought he was connected to people in Japan; now they think he might have been of European descent. One thing is sure: No one knows how he came to be buried under a rock ledge on the Brazos River.

Day Trips: Horn Shelter Man

Albert Redder and Frank Watt, two skilled amateur archaeologists painstakingly excavated 14 feet of dirt and rocks in 5-foot squares to find the skeletal remains of the ancient man and a girl in 1970. Although he lived with mammoths during the Clovis period, HSM isn't related to the Native Americans' lineage. The find is one of 13 known Paleo-Indian graves in the U.S.

Named for the property owners where he was found, HSM was ritualistically buried with his head resting on a tortoise shell. Items found buried with him suggest he was possibly a medicine man. At 44 years old when he died, he was comparatively old for a hunter-gatherer. The pre-teen female next to him may have been his servant or concubine.

The Bosque Museum, 301 S. Ave. Q in Clifton, tells the story of Horn Shelter Man through a diorama of the burial and replicas of the artifacts found at the site. The museum also has an impressive collection of artifacts from Norway and the Norse community that settled the area much later than HSM. For information, call 254/675-3845 or go to www.bosquemuseum.org.


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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Horn Shelter Man, Clifton, Albert Redder, Frank Watt

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