Sunday, November 10, 2013

Fall finds, part 1

     This Fall was insanely busy for me. Just in October alone I had to fly to LA and to Washington DC, I enjoyed a long weekend in New Hampshire and another one in Maine, I went camping for a weekend... I haven't had much free time and if I have to choose between looking for arrowheads or posting pictures of my finds, looking will win out every time. As a result I have fallen woefully behind in posting. Things have gotten back to normal now and I need to get caught up so this is going to be a longer post than usual. I am going to share finds I made between August 31 (Labor Day weekend, I can't believe it has been that long since I posted last!) and October 11.
     Back at the end of August, my friend Dave and I got permission to search a new place. I knew it was a likely spot because it was a high place that sloped down to a marsh where a little river flowed into salt water. As soon as I started looking, I knew it was a good spot because I started finding pieces of broken quartz. These were my first finds in this new place. On the left, a crudely worked piece, perhaps a preform; on the right, a rather well-made scraper with a nice edge all the way around.
     I also found this large triangular point. I believe this is a Madison, the final projectile point type in New England. It has been suggested that people at  this time realized that it took more effort to make a nice arrow shaft than an arrowhead, and so they made these crude one-time-use triangles that were detachable- after a kill, the shaft could be removed and re-used.
      It might be damaged on the lower right corner or maybe it was just made that way. Dave found 3 broken points, all the same type. I found it interesting that everything we found in this place was the same style and material. I wonder if maybe this was a place that was occupied only for a relatively short period of time.
      In addition to checking out new spots I have made some finds in familiar places where I always try to spend a lot of time. Here are my finds from one afternoon. A large broken rhuolite piece, maybe a preform or blank; a broken felsite fragment of something; a broken quartz stemmed point and a neat round quartz scraper, flat on one side and steeply beveled all around the other side.
      Here is one of my better finds from this fall. A broken Stark point. I love it despite the damage. I'm not sure of the material.
      That same day I found that Stark, Dave found this awesome base in the same place. Maybe a Perkiomen or an Atlantic type. It's a heartbreaker but something this big is almost always going to be broken.
      I found this quartz triangle that afternoon, too. It's crude but bigger than most.
      Here is the triangle and that Stark, cleaned up at home.
      Another afternoon yielded this little lanceolate point, but nothing else. Squibnocket Stemmed type. Not a bad example.
      This one was a heartbreaker. A needle-sharp tip, and big, but broken.
     On another occasion I was very excited to find these three objects very close to each other. The base of a stemmed point, a quartz crystal, and a quartz scraper. The crystal is broken off at the base but shows no wear as I would expect if it had been glacially deposited. I believe that it is a "manuport," a natural object taken out of its original context by a person. I wonder what significance this crystal had to the person who left it behind here. Was it a lucky piece, did it perhaps have some magical significance, or did this person simply enjoy having this crystal, the way I enjoy having these old tools?
      This base sticking out of the ground was exciting....
      ...but it's broken- the tip is gone. A few minutes later...
      ...Dave spots this...
     ...a nice whole one. Thin and nicely flaked. Lucky guy.
      But that's OK. The next time I went out I had the place to myself. Take a look at this thing!
      Other side, right out of the ground. I believe this shape is called Greene, it was perhaps used as a knife.
       I also found this nearby. It's the base of something huge! The material is gray quartzite. I think the shape is called Fox Creek Lanceolate.
      Also this little quartz triangle, this one is whole.
      My finds for the day. What a day! The white thing at bottom right is a fragment of a clay pipe bowl.
     I left that place and went back to another familiar spot that afternoon. Unfortunately, the conditions were terrible, there was no hope of finding anything there. The landowner told me about some other property he had, not far away, where maybe I would have a better chance. I walked out there, it looked nice and dry and there was water nearby but no chips or flakes of stone, no sign anyone had ever lived here. I was about to head back to the car when I saw this:
      Nice. I looked a while longer but didn't find even a single flake, this was the only artifact I found out there. Lost while hunting, perhaps?
      My best finds from that day, cleaned up. I don't know what the Greene point is made of, it is a lovely red material with pink swirls! My best find in quite a while.
      In October Dave was metal detecting when he came across a relatively small area loaded with countless shell fragments and quartz pieces, incredibly dense. He told me he suspected it was a prehistoric trash pit. There was a little washout there, he sorted through some rocks and found quite a few projectile point tips and tool fragments. He made me a nice map so I could find the spot, and sure enough this is an ancient midden. I found these worked pieces. That huge triangle at left is broken, the tip is gone and the whole thing is really thick and chunky, maybe a blank or something that failed during manufacture and was discarded, or a crude knife, I don't know. This was all on the surface. There must be a huge amount of stuff under the ground there.
     So, that's a start, but I'm not caught up yet. I have a few more nice things to show, not as nice as that Greene above though... I went out yesterday all day and didn't find a single thing. We need a really big storm to come through before the snow falls, I'm crossing my fingers.

2 comments :

pwax said...

That crystal is amazing.

Bryan Startz said...

That crystal in the picture looks like the ones you find on latern hill in ledyard ct a well known native american woods