Blackwater Draw is a dry stream channel more than 85 miles long. The Black Water Draw Locality No. 1, a few miles outside of Portales, is one of the most significant and important Paleoindian archaeological sites in the Americas. The importance of Blackwater Draw was first recognized in 1929 by Ridgely Whiteman of Clovis, New Mexico. Early investigations at Blackwater Draw found evidence of early human occupation during the Late Pleistocene. This was when the Columbian mammoth, camel, horse, bison, sabertooth cat and the dire wolf roamed the region.
Blackwater Draw Museum
ENMU owns and operates the Blackwater Draw Museum which opened to the public in 1969. The museum’s artifacts and displays illustrate life at the Blackwater Draw site during the Clovis period (more than 13,000 years ago) through the recent historic period.
Address: 42987 Highway 70, Portales, New Mexico 88130
Hours: Summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day): Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Rest of the year: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The museum may be closed during major holidays.
Admission: Adults: $3. Seniors (age 60 plus): $2. Children under 16: $1. Children under 5: Free. The fourth Sunday of each month is a free day. Includes admission to the Blackwater Draw Site.
The Blackwater Draw Locality No. 1 Site
In addition to many early mammal species like mammoths and bisons, “fluted” points, spearheads, known as Clovis points, along with other stone and bone weapons and tools have been found at the site – some within the fossilized mammoth and bison bones. Since its discovery, the Blackwater Locality No. 1 Site (also known as the Clovis Site) has been a focal point for scientific investigations by academics and organizations across the nation. The Carnegie Institute, Smithsonian Institution, Academy of Natural Sciences, National Science Foundation, United States National Museum, National Geographic Society and more than a dozen major universities either have funded or participated in research at Blackwater Draw. Due to its tremendous long-term potential for additional research and to public interest, the site was incorporated into the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. More recently, it was declared a National Historic Landmark. There is a small visitor center at the site with exhibits and you can take a self-guided walk around to see the site that will take a few hours.
Address: 508 New Mexico 467, Portales, NM 88130
Blog: The Clovis Site
Site hours: Summer (Memorial Day through Labor Day): Every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April, May, September, and October: Weekends only, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. September and October, weekends only, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed November through March.