Sunday, June 17, 2012

Broken things

When I am out looking for arrowheads I am thrilled by any find but of course the greatest satisfaction comes from finding unbroken tools that have remained intact through all the centuries. Most of what I find is badly broken and a lot of it is just fragments of smashed artifacts. I went out last weekend despite the blazing hot sun and spotted this:
It's broken, but, it's big. At one time objects like this were called spearpoints but now they are generally regarded as knives. The material is purple felsite.
Last week I spent many hours carefully searching. The only thing I found was a tiny fragment of a broken quartz triangular arrowhead. I probably went 8 hours without finding anything at all, that is not unusual. Here is that fragment looking really miniscule next to the big broken felsite blade.
 Yesterday I wanted to dedicate a big chunk of time to searching, I went and spent more than seven hours in two of my favorite spots despite the sun and the unfavorably dry conditions. When arrowheads are wet they look shiny and are easier to spot than when they are dry, many places I search are dusty and the dust will quickly cover everything and make finding anything difficult. But despite this I found a lot of rocks exposed yesterday and I found 12 arrowheads, all of them broken, most are quartz and crudely made. To find so many fragments but not a single intact tool is a little frustrating, I will admit.
This broken quartz Squibnocket Triangle was easy to spot, it is a shame it is broken as it is finely made and very small and delicate.
This broken blade is the largest fragment I found. I'm not sure what the material is.
The most tantalizing thing I found is not an arrowhead at all. It is ground and polished slate (I think) and was once part of a pipe or perhaps an atl-atl weight. Here is part of what was once the outside of the thing, the smooth outer surface is curved and very smooth. You can see the corner of it and part of another face, flat, that still shows ancient tool marks.
Here is the inside, showing part of the bore of a long hole laboriously drilled through the stone. I wonder if the striations in the bore could be from use as an atl-atl weight, I'm not sure. And the piece is so broken it may be impossible to know what this was a part of. I find it very interesting. I will keep looking, maybe there are other pieces to find, in this place.


pwax said...

Some interesting pieces there. The large blade: what do you think was its original shape? Where is it broken?

Chris Pittman said...

Peter, that broken light-colored blade is broken at the base. The part that I have is just the upper part, it snapped in half and the bottom half is missing. It was bigger, I can only speculate what the base looked like. I like to imagine that it was stemmed, a Stark or Neville. The purple felsite point is, I believe, what is called a Lagoon or possibly a Greene point. I have a whole one like it. The purple one is missing the tip and the stem is also broken.