Saturday, November 26, 2011

Late Paleo Indian site in Concord, MA

Slightly envious of Chris P's recent arrowhead hunting successes I went out to take a good look at a corn field where I have found small fluted points in the past, of a style I call "Dalton Hardaway's". Also, with all the discussion of bird stones I was wishing I could find one; but I guess they are found more in the mid-west.

There is a special way to look at the soil as you walk where you focus on the dirt and on looking at all the dirt systematically rather than focusing on the rocks poking out of the dirt. Forcing yourself to focus on each bit of soil makes you look in more places and, this time, I was rewarded. First I found a flake of dark material, then another and, as I bent down retrieving the second flake, I noticed a bit of possibly worked stone and pulled out a small "arrowhead". (Unfortunately I did not bring a camera along with me, so I don't have any nice in-situ photos.)It is about 3/4 inches and made of a red gray rhyolite material that I have seen flakes from before but never a completed tool. It is probably a knife. Only a few minutes later I found a very pretty little quartz triangle, almost fluted:Let's look at a few more pictures of it:
For size comparison:
I was quite pleased with these points, the quartz one is one of the nicest I have found at the site. But I kept looking, figuring conditions were good.

So I found a little broken "hatchet", here is the front edge, it is broken on the side away from the camera. Here is the obverse:And the front edge:
Ironically, I also found something that is probably as close as I am going to get to a bird stone:
No idea if that is even an artifact. I suspect it is.

So that was a pretty good day of collecting and I headed back towards my car through a field where I have found almost nothing and there was a huge rectangular chunk of Cambridge Blue Mudstone (argillite) with one flaked edge:Here is the front from one side:
And from the other:This is probably the most interesting of the day's finds. This type of rock is "exotic" - meaning it was brought to Concord, and is clearly flaked, so it must be prehistoric. For a while I worry that it is too rectangular to be ancient but realize that mudstone and slate do break that way. Then I notice distinct signs of battering part way down the side:
And I start wondering how this might have been used. It looks like a woodworking tool - perhaps a wedge that needed to be knocked back out occasionally - hence the battering damage along the side. In any case, an unusual find. The surface tells a story.

I should mention that these items do not all have to be from the same time period as the quartz point. I have found stemmed points here and the blue mudstone is usually associated with that type of ("middle archaic") time period.


Chris Pittman said...

Fantastic finds! I love those points, the flaking on that red rhyolite point is lovely and I would be thrilled to find that, the material is wonderful. And of course that quartz (Dalton?) point is also very beautiful. I like the flaking on the hatchet too. I went out and looked for 5 hours this weekend and found only a few badly broken quartz fragments.

pwax said...

As the record will show. Chris P had a good deal of luck later.