Monday, January 05, 2015

Arrowheads 2014 In Review

Last year I did a "Year in Review" post where I showed my best finds for 2013 by month. If I did that for 2014 it would be a sad sight. As I have posted before, it was not a good year for arrowheads for me and at times I really struggled to come up with anything at all. So instead of a monthly breakdown, here are my 2014 arrowheads by shape. Tip and midsection fragments and many crude artifacts are not shown. Apologies for the dirt on many of these points but I feel it helps show the flaking better when some soil remains in the flaking scars.
Triangles with incurvate bases
It was nice to find one in a material other than quartz this year. The two in the center of the bottom row are from the same spot at different times and are among my best 2014 finds.
Triangles with straight bases
The one at the top was my last 2014 find. Nicely made, but broken.
The one at center was my best 2014 arrowhead find by far.
Quartz stemmed points with contracting bases and weak shoulders, one shoulder, or no shoulders
Probably a variety of different point types in this picture.
Quartz points with straight, square bases
Just a couple of fragments. These are larger and different from the stemmed points above.
Other stemmed forms
Here are all of my best whole arrowheads from 2014. Taking into account all of the time I spent looking, the countless hours, all of the driving and the effort and miles walked in the hot sun or in the cold rain, this is really not a lot. I wish I could say I hoped to be able to find more in 2015 but I don't. Some of my best sites have been developed or are otherwise no longer accessible and although I continue to try to identify new sites, the one new place I found in 2014 yielded very little and the other places I went for the first time were sterile. 
I mentioned back in July that I had found something special that was not an arrowhead. Here it is.

This is one half of a ground slate winged bannerstone. It is amazingly smooth and polished. It feels like a piece of plastic and I thought it was plastic when I picked it up. It is believed that these were used as counterweights on atl-atl dart thrower shafts. They are rare and even when found in undisturbed contexts they are almost always broken because soil plugs the hole and expands and contracts with the freeze-thaw cycle. Here is a top view where you can see how thin and fragile this exquisitely crafted bannerstone was, especially around the hole for the shaft. I found this on the surface of the ground in a disturbed context. This poor thing never stood a chance.
Here is a view of the hole drilled through the center. A lot of time and skill must have gone into making this piece. These are old, from Archaic times. You can see how fragile this would have been. To me, something like this seems like it would have had a ceremonial significance beyond a utilitarian item used for hunting.

I found it in the same place as this abraded red hematite paint stone.
Looking back on 2014 I would like to thank Peter for running this blog and for the inspiration and help. Thanks also to the other contributors for all their posts and information. I also wanted to add, to be clear, that I have no formal archaeological training, and my dating of point types as well as typological attributions must be regarded as guesses. I welcome any input on any of my finds, even (and especially) if it challenges my own tentative conclusions. I hope everyone has a wonderful 2015 and finds what they are searching for.

1 comment :

pwax said...

I would have been thrilled to find a single point this year. Your big Stark point is memorable and some of the quartz triangles are, to me, superb.