Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quartz knife

     Yesterday I wanted to find a new place to look for Indian relics. A lot of open land isn't being used for much of anything this time of year, it can be a good time to knock on doors and ask permission to search private property that may be off limits at other times. My friend Dave identified a couple of likely places. On our way to the first spot we took a little detour to drive by a lake in an area where many stone tools were found long ago. Imagine our surprise to see a large area of exposed ground surface running right along a stream near where it flows into the lake! Such places are ideal for finding arrowheads. We searched it carefully but found not so much as a flake; perhaps development and the construction of a nearby road changed the appearance of this place since prehistoric times, or perhaps the people long ago simply preferred another area nearby, for whatever reason. We got back into the car and in the first place we wanted to search, there was no ground visible. The same was true in the next place as well, but a local guy we talked to told us of another place that he owned nearby, right on the river, that sounded just perfect. I raced there only to find that the swollen river has covered the area completely, it is under deep running water right now and I will come back to this place but there was no hope of finding anything there yesterday, certainly. With all my prospects exhausted I drove to a couple of favorite places but I have searched them so many times, there was just nothing left for me to find. It is disheartening to spend so much time looking, a whole day, and not find anything. The sky was pretty, though.
     Today I wanted to get out into the woods and look for stone vestiges of a different kind but a friend called and ask if we couldn't maybe go and look for arrowheads just for a little while, I reluctantly agreed and drove us to a favorite spot. It was cold and the wind was blowing right through my heavy jacket. We looked hard in an area where I have had some luck, but found only chips and flakes. We had just about given up when I decided to check one other spot where the conditions were not very good and where I haven't found very much in the past. I saw this:
    Usually when I see something like this it is just a flake but it could also be a fragment of a tool or even a nice arrowhead, there is no way to know until you pull it out of the ground. It's crude, it is very thick and chunky but it is a neat artifact and I am happy to have found it. It is about twice as thick as a typical projectile point in this size, and certainly does not look aerodynamic. I considered that maybe it could be a preform or an unfinished point that was discarded during manufacture. But the base, the hafting part with the weak shoulders, seems finished to me so I am calling it a knife.
     Here is the other side, cleaned up a bit.
     I didn't realize until I got home and put this with my other finds from this year but this material is much more gray and dark-colored than any other quartz point I have found. Smoky quartz, I would call it. Here it is compared to one I found earlier in the year, the common milky quartz material.
     There is no grinding on the stem on this one and I would call the shape Wading River, maybe 2,000-4,000 years old.

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