Sunday, May 10, 2015

Spring arrowhead finds: Part 1

     So, it has been a month since my last post. I still don't have a job, and it's been very strange for me, trying to adjust to not having a set schedule. I used to work in an office and I had time there to sit and think and plan to do things like write blog posts about arrowhead finds. Now, I'm out doing things constantly, trying to make the most of my time. Of course I have made time to search for arrowheads, and I'm pleased to say that my long run of bad luck seems to have come to an end, I'm finding stuff once again. In fact, I have found so much stuff since my last post, it is too much to put in one new blog post and so this will be Part 1, with a second part to follow soon.
     I mentioned in my previous post last month that I had identified 10 new spots to search. Here is how that happened. I was out searching for arrowheads one day and a lady came by who knew what I was doing, she asked about my finds. She knew that people had lived in that spot in prehistoric times and she told me about another place, in a different town, where she knew arrowheads could be found. She said it was a place near a particular chain restaurant in this particular town. Well, back at home, I learn there is no such restaurant in that town. So, now I'm looking at Google Maps looking for areas around other restaurants in that town, also looking at other locations of this chain restaurant in other towns. And I don't know if I ever could identify the place that this lady was talking about, but I did identify all these new potential places, in towns where I have not looked before. I wrote them down in no particular order and then my friend Dave and I set out to start trying to get in to these places and search. Place number one on the list looked real good. Right on a river, a little high dry place. Unfortunately, no house nearby, no obvious way to get in touch with the landowner to get permission. We drove around the neighborhood, finally pulled into a driveway to turn around and a man in a truck pulls in right behind us. Amazingly, it was the landowner; he was friendly and happy to let us search. He told me that arrowheads had been found there before which was no surprise to me. At this point I am feeling really optimistic. We got out of the car and I started searching in the highest place closest to the river. Right away, broken chips and flakes of quartz and felsite tell me I am in a good place. Dave was the first one to find a worked piece of quartz, possibly an arrowhead fragment. I spotted this:
      It's tiny. So small, I thought it might just be a flake that happened to be shaped like an arrowhead. But, it is what it is.
     This is the smallest arrowhead in this shape (small stemmed, Squibnocket Stemmed, Wading River or whatever you want to call these narrow points with weak shoulders) that I have ever found. Here it is with another find from that afternoon, same area:
     That's a nice stemmed point missing the tip and the stem. You can see the shoulders, perhaps it was a Neville or Stark, an Atlantic, or something else- no way for me to know. This is a heartbreaker for me because I really like this material (red felsite, perhaps from Attleboro) and I don't have a whole point like this in this material. Heartbreaking, but also tantalizing. I will return to this place.
     On a sunny day, I went to a favorite place on the coast. This was a place I had been hitting pretty hard since the fall but usually going home empty-handed. I just wanted to take a walk and didn't want to deal with the hassle of knocking on doors to get permission to search a new place that could be void. I knew I could get some fresh air in this place so I decided to go there even though I had not found anything on my last couple of visits. Very quickly I had the thrill of spotting a whole arrowhead totally exposed and waiting to be picked up. A sight for sore eyes, to be sure. I was elated.
     It's nice. A typical shape for this site.
     Not far away, a base sticking out of the sand. Will it be whole?
     Well, not this time. But most of it is there. This shape, with these side notches, is unusual. I really like it.
     Here they are together. It was a thrill to find two decent points in one day, and I was not out very long, probably less than an hour.
     I also found these. The piece on the left is probably a broken crude point or knife. The piece on the right, I believe, is a hafted scraper. Not as impressive or pretty as the others, but that scraper is an unusual find, I am pleased with it.
     The very next morning, I got up early to go back and search more in that same spot. Incredibly, when I got there, there were two other guys already there, doing the same thing! I hate that, I don't like the competition and I really prefer the solitude of being in a place alone so I decided to search a different area nearby where I had never looked before, within sight of the first spot but separate from it. It's close enough to the first spot that I consider it the same site, it's just on the other side of the road and I thought it was further from the water and less likely to produce lots of tools. Also, the conditions are not as good, lots of weeds and rocks, not as sandy. But... what I hadn't realized, having never looked over there, is that there is water that comes around on the other side, too. And there is a sandy area there, near the water, where you can see the ground, the weeds are not too bad. So, a couple of minutes there, and...
     A broken base of a stemmed point made of a nice transparent quartz material. Pretty. Here's another broken base of a lanceolate or stemmed point nearby.
     Here's a whole one. Small, but all there. Perhaps worked down from something bigger.
     Yet another broken stemmed point, missing the tip.
     All of the above finds were from 30 minutes of looking in a productive spot. Here they are together with another little fragment I also found in that time. The broken point on the right is really cool, narrow with an incurvate base and interesting shoulders. I love mornings like these. It is really affirming to find things when you are looking for them.
     I crossed the road and stopped to chat with the two other guys out looking. They were friendly, one had found a projectile point tip, the other had a nice whole stemmed point. They were leaving, going to look somewhere else. I knew that there were productive areas there that they had not searched but I went back across the street to keep searching in this different spot- I'm glad I did. I bent down to pick up what I thought was just a chip, there was more to it under the ground and when it came out... wow!!!
     I love it! Nearby, a large and well-flaked point, sadly broken (and with a very fresh-looking break, too).
     I looked for a while longer but found nothing else. I'm not complaining, though. This is a really good haul for me. That large broken point from the photo above has one shoulder and I really wish it was whole but the big ones are almost always broken.
      This one, though... I'm just thrilled with it. One good rock can make my whole day.
     Now, for my last hunt report for this installment. A hot, dry day; bright sun. A sandy place near water. Lots of exposure. I have a number of points from this site, but it can be hit or miss. Today, though... a hit.
     Two visible corners. What's under the ground? Something broken maybe? Let's take a look..
     That's a nice triangle. I am very happy with this find.
     Nearby, another triangle is sticking out of the ground. But I can see that it's broken. A shame- well made, big, with a sharp point.
     Here it is out of the ground with the rest of the day's finds.
     I'm definitely feeling like my luck has returned. That's it for part 1. Lots more to show in part 2. I think this week it will rain and I will be able to get out and search again. I'm feeling good about my chances.


pwax said...

Great stuff

Kierran Broatch said...

Holy moly, way to make use of your time for sure! I love your finds, very similar to the quartz points that I am finding down here in southern CT (although I'm finding a lot less!). Great haul(s).