Friday, August 19, 2011

Field Find Story

Chris Pittman writes:
On Wednesday I drove to a field where I found some broken pieces back in the spring. Since then, the farmer has come through and plowed and planted crops and with all the rain we have had, the rocks moved around by the machinery are now exposed. I was in my fourth row when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a triangular quartz piece in the next row over. I picked it up with no particular expectation and was pleased to realize it was a fragment of a projectile point or knife. It was most of the front part of a point, missing the tip and the base. One edge very clearly showed the telltale chips made by the ancient hand. The other edge was also worked, but not as finely, with a steep bevel- the artifact had an asymmetrical cross section, it could perhaps have been made that way or resharpened at some point, no way for me to be sure from this badly broken fragment. Any find, for me, is a good find, and really, it was more than I had hoped for, on this evening after work.
I went back to searching the row I was standing in, but came up empty handed. I felt some anticipation as I doubled back and searched the row where I had found the fragment, but there was nothing more to find there. In the next row, I found a tool made of rhyolite, possibly a scraper or perforator. I then moved into the next row and walked a long way. Near the end of the row, I spotted a quartz piece on the ground, its faceted appearance suggesting that it was an artifact. Looking at this piece, I could see it was broken, I couldn't tell if it was a pice of an arrowhead, or just a waste flake from tool manufacture. I picked it up and immediately felt regret for not taking a picture of it on the ground, the tell-tale shape and edge all the way around (except where it was broken) showed that it was an arrowhead base. I wiped the dirt off and studied it, it had an asymmetrical shape with a bevel on one side... I immediately thought of the other piece that I had found about 60 feet away. I breathlessly pulled it out of my pocket... a match! Incredible. What are the chances? A first, for me.
I have attached some pictures of the point, it is nothing great but I was just so pleased to find two pieces of the same broken artifact. I am not sure if this is what is called a Rossville, a Squibnocket Stemmed, or a Small Stemmed. The tip is still missing. On the right side you can see a weak shoulder halfway up, where it was hafted. The left side has no shoulder and a steeper bevel, I assume this is where it was resharpened in ancient times. Perhaps used as a knife. I haven't glued it back together but maybe I will at some point.
I have also attached a picture of the rhyolite tool (at left) along with two broken projectile points in the same material found in the same place, in the spring. The flaking on this tool is mostly on one side. I think the little projection sticking out at the top could have been used as a perforator, or possibly as a drill.


Anonymous said...

Where are the pictures?

Menotomy Maps said...

Amazing that you found both pieces, with time and distance in between.
Perseverance pays. You were drawn to it!

Anonymous said...

it reminds me of a time that happen to myself years ago.
I once found a fantastic ancient quarry site hidden deep in the woods. I was spending hours checking out all the millions of chiseled small and large chunks of stone debris all littering all over the ground. Each flake on the ground looked like an amazing artifacts of all sorts using your imagination. My eye was drawn to one of the large stone pieces that was a pleasing shape and to all the colors within the stone. As I was looking it over I looked right in front of me at a spot on the stone quarry face and was admiring all the percussion strikes. Sure enough one certain spot happened to look like a match for the piece. I slowly carefully maneuvered it into position and whala! a match! you could see the percussion strike zone perfectly and the large piece fit like a, It was amazing thrill to put that rock back on the face of the original quarry stone, what were the odds of that happening? similar to yours.
I may add that some of the debris under the dense moss cover rocks there I also found their hammering stones still left, and between those hammerstones a small chipped debris pile was still there,untouched, and even had dust (white mud) still on the rock chips! It was like the Indian was there yesterday making his stone tool! everything was so fresh and new looking, and rocks we as sharp as little razors!
How many people here on this blog have ever found a quarry site? It is the most thrilling discovery to find,see,and admire their workshops.

Norman said...

I was shown a quartz procurement area in Madison, CT, about eight years or so so by T. Paul. The area consisted of two or three pits, loads of quartz debitage and a large quartz boulder sitting on the ground. It's a place I'd like to visit again. I've got some photos of this tucked away somewhere in my house.

Chris Pittman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Pittman said...

Keith I have read an account of your quarry find somewhere before (perhaps on this blog) and I think about it often. I have never found a quarry but have found some lithic production sites with massive amounts of debitage, one was argillite flakes in a place where a bulldozer had come through and sliced off some inches of topsoil, another is a place where a ditch cuts through an area very dense with quartz pieces of all kinds.

Anonymous said...

Someday i will dust off the cobwebs in my head and try to find that site again! I would like to get and send photos so all can see. A rare treat and a rare New England treasure!