Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lots of time staring at the ground

     Friday evening there were heavy rains as summer thunderstorms passed through the area. When dawn came on Saturday there were no clouds in the sky and there was no doubt it was going to be a hot day but I got out in the morning anyway and spent some hours in the glaring sun, searching in a place where I knew the storm would have exposed something new. In many of the places where I look for arrowheads I see footprints of others who have been out there doing the same thing. It is impossible to find absolutely everything and the ground surface is always changing, things are always being exposed and obscured so I will look even in the footprints of others, but after a good storm I always try to be the first person in a likely spot, so I have the best chances of finding something.
     After a few minutes I saw this sticking out of the sand.
     Moments like these are the most exciting times when searching for arrowheads. This is definitely an artifact, probably the base of a stemmed arrowhead. The real thrill is in wondering what you will find when you pull this out of the dirt. It could be a whole arrowhead, it could be a drill, it could be 6 inches long and the find of a lifetime, or it could be just a broken fragment with hardly anything more than what you can see exposed. It could even be just a flake that happens to look just like a stemmed arrowhead base. As I bent down and picked it up I hoped and hoped that it would be a whole arrowhead, and this time I was lucky and it was. Here it is along with some other items I found on Sunday evening in the same place.

     This whole arrowhead in the middle is made of slate. I would call it "Neville-like." The stemmed base on the left is something really unusual, the stem is very square but it has broad and asymmetrical shoulders, this would have been a very unique-looking point. The material is hornfels. The arrowhead on the right is a Stark point made of red felsite, unfortunately it is broken and the tip is missing. I really like this one, it has nice flaking and it was fun to find late in the evening. In the cool air when the sun is going down and animals are active and the earth is covered with long shadows it seems somehow easier to imagine how things might have looked long ago when the Indians still lived on this spot, it is almost like time travel to find something like this in such a setting, and it seems for a moment like this tool was discarded just recently. The people who made these Stark points lived here for centuries but they have been gone for five thousand years.
     Here's another picture from Saturday morning. It was so hot out there in the sun I was afraid I was going to get heat stroke.
     This is a triangular quartz arrowhead. It looks like it might have been resharpened in ancient times. It's the one second from the right in this picture, these are the quartz arrowheads I have found in the last few days.
     The point on the left is interesting, it is very small and is what some collectors would call a "bird point." I am hesitant to assign this to any particular projectile point type because it is so small. Next to it is a Squibnocket Triangle, you can see that it gets narrow towards the tip and I suspect this example was used as a drill. In the middle is the base of a stemmed arrowhead, the tip is missing. This was the only thing I found worth showing in hours of searching last night. The stem has heavy grinding, I don't have any others like this. The point at far right was found early Sunday morning on the Rhode Island coast, the tip is missing. Some people speculate that narrow points like this may haver been used to spear fish.

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