Friday, October 19, 2012

Found something

I have spent a lot of hours this month searching for Indian artifacts, in old and new places. The new places I searched were void, and the places I went where I had luck before had nothing new to give. It is frustrating and disheartening to search for hours and come home with nothing. Sometimes I will search a large area looking for what might be only a small area with artifacts, it is hard to stay focused and easy to get discouraged. Particularly frustrating are the hours spent carefully searching in areas loaded with chips and flakes from toolmaking, picking up hundreds of partially buried pieces of broken stone that all look like they could be arrowheads.

Today I went to a farm field where I have found stuff before. The farmer just harvested, which stirred up the dirt. Unfortunately, it hadn't rained enough since the harvest, there were almost no rocks visible. It takes a lot of rain to wash off the rocks and expose stuff. Fluffed-up, freshly disturbed earth offers terrible conditions for searching, it takes a lot of luck to find something in a setting like that. With no real expectation of finding anything, I walked through the dust to a spot in the field where I found stuff before. And I spotted this:
When I spot an arrowhead on the ground I will usually take some time to enjoy the moment before I pick it up. I will take a lot of pictures of it from different angles and sometimes will even make a short video. In this case I just snapped the one picture and then snatched it out of the earth because I was so desperate to find something and I was so eagerly hoping that this was in fact a stone tool. It certainly looked like one but very often I have taken pictures of stuff that looked even more obviously tool-like than this thing only to find that they are just flakes or sometimes, small exposed parts of much larger chunks of rock buried near the surface. Fortunately this was in fact a good find. I'm not completely sure just what it is, the wide end is worn but I am not sure if it is basal grinding or use wear. I believe this is what is called a "teardrop scraper" (Peter, I think you have one like this?). It has fine pressure flaking on the edges so I think it is a finished tool rather than a preform. When I picked it up it looked gray and I couldn't see just what the material was.
I washed it off and revealed the pretty color. I think this is purple felsite.
Right now it is raining, probably the rain is also falling in the field where I found this and maybe it is washing the dust off of some nice arrowheads. If it rains hard enough it will expose a lot of new stuff. I will probably go there tomorrow and maybe I will find a nice arrowhead. More likely, I will spend a morning searching and find nothing, that is the reality of looking for arrowheads in the places I have found.


pwax said...

I don't recognize it.

Chris Pittman said...

Peter, on your Concord Lithics page at, the second picture in the "Knives and Scrapers" section, a brown felsite piece that looks similar to me?

pwax said...

Similar but not really the same shape and with a different kind of flaking. I agree these items are nicely worked edges but not points. I have a variety of untyped "blades" of various shapes in this general category.