The importance of Blackwater Draw was first recognized in 1929 by Ridgely Whiteman of Clovis, New Mexico. The Blackwater Locality No. 1 Site (located within Blackwater Draw near Portales, New Mexico) is one of the most well known and significant sites in North American archaeology. Early investigations at Blackwater Draw recovered evidence of a human occupation in association with Late Pleistocene fauna, including Columbian mammoth, camel, horse, bison, sabertooth cat and dire wolf.
Since its discovery, the Blackwater Locality No. 1 Site has been a focal point for scientific investigations by academic institutions and organizations from 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.