Thursday, May 17, 2012

Field find

I went out after work today to search for ancent stone tools. I went to a favorite spot where I have had luck lately, hoping that the heavy rains this week might have exposed something new. I searched for more than an hour, I found a quartz artifact that is perhaps a scraper or knife or a "preform" that was never chipped into a finished point, I'm not sure. Most of the flaking is on this side, the other side is mostly flat.
That is an average find for me, I was pleased. Better than nothing, certainly. I got in my car and drove to another place where I have had luck before hoping to see some fresh erosion, new gullies or washouts, but the vegetation has become so dense there, I saw very quickly that there was no hope of finding anything there today. So out of desparation as the sun began to get low in the sky I drove to a farm field that I drive by often. The landowner told a friend of mine that many years ago, local kids used to go there to pick up artifacts. After I first heard this I spent a lot of time there on a few occasions and I did find some chips and flakes but no tools, I wondered if maybe the kids from decades past might have picked the place clean, or perhaps there was not much there to begin with- it's not a very obvious place to live, in a low place, and rather far from water, there are many other places nearby that I might think would be more suitable. Anyway I thought it would not hurt to take a walk there if even just for the exercise. I found something I did not expect to see. I saw it from several feet away and at first did not believe my eyes.
This is a broken Stark point, perhaps 6,000-8,000 years old. It is made of a dark felsite that has patinated over the millenia to a light gray color. It is well made, the blade edges are still sharp, the edges of the stem have been ground. This shape is very typical for Stark, if it was whole it would have been the best thing I have ever found. I am not complaining about the damage, I am still thrilled with it, a very exciting find. It was broken recently by farming machinery. Maybe some day I will find the other piece- certainly I will be looking.


theseventhgeneration said...

Lovely! I enjoy the way you write up your adventures. There is a local spot where I live, by the creek behind the school, where I've heard long time locals say they've found artifacts. It's not a spot I would expect to find anything. I took a walk back there a couple of years ago with some friends and the kids, but only found some raw material (flint or chert?), and no points. I don't think we were in quite the right place, though. Probably worth a trip back for more exploring!

Chris Pittman said...

Thanks for the kind words. If you are finding flint in a spot by a creek there are sure to be artifacts there. You might try looking in the creek itself. Rainstorms and the spring thaw will expose new stuff. Most places where artifacts can be found on the surface have been pounded by every collector and his brother for 100 years but as Peter told me when I was searching for my first arrowhead, "do not despair that all of the material has been removed- it has not." I go back to the same places over and over as with this field where I found this exciting object after leaving empty handed many times. One find makes all the hours of fruitless searching worth it, to me.

pwax said...

I don't get out as much as I should. Tomorrow I am heading for the hills.

pwax said...

It is a pretty piece of quartz and it is too bad the stark is broken.