Monday, June 17, 2013

A lucky week - Part 1

     We've had a lot of heavy rain in recent weeks. There has been a lot of griping about that, but not from me. All these early summer rain storms are keeping me really busy! I've got a lot of pictures to show so please bear with me.
     I like to get out and look for arrowheads on the weekends but the weekend on June 8-9 was packed full of stuff I had to do, I didn't think I would be able to get out at all. I was out of town on Friday night but I knew it was just pouring rain and that the rain would be exposing arrowheads out there somewhere. Sunday I got up really early and had not a lot of time but I had to get out and look. I stopped at a spot where I have had some luck lately, the sun was already blinding even early in the morning and it was getting hot. Bright sun is rough when you are looking for arrowheads, it glares off the bare earth and harsh shadows can interfere with the intent focus that must be maintained when searching. But really the best time to look for arrowheads is simply when you are able to. In this place, I saw a lot of footprints, I know some of those must have been from other people looking for arrowheads, that does not bother me too much as nobody can spot everything and the ground surface is changing all the time. I found some broken fragments and this unfortunately broken large knife or scraper, this would have been really nice if not damaged.
This argillite base sticking out of the sand really got me excited. The part that you can see looks like it could be the base of something really nice. When I pulled it out I was a little disheartened to see that it was really crude, at the edge of what I would even call an arrowhead. I think these crude argillite blades were maybe hastily made for a specific use and then discarded. I find a lot of argillite chipping debris at some sites but few tools, maybe I am not even recognizing the tools as they are so crude that if broken they might be unrecognizable. The second picture shows all my finds from that spot that morning, there's another crude argillite piece, some quartz projectile point tip fragments, a tiny base. Not very much for two or three hours of searching in the sun.

As I searched, an unusual thing started happening. Every time I looked up from the ground, I would spot another person out there doing the same thing I was doing. First it was two people, then three... As the morning wore on there was at one point five other guys out there also looking for arrowheads. That makes me feel self-conscious and uneasy, it was starting to feel like a convention out there. Too much for me, and I was out of time anyway. I was not unhappy with the finds I had made and was ready to call it a day. After all, it wasn't too long ago that if I had found those fragments and pieces over the course of a month or two, I would be elated. I decided to take a different way home (I had driven kind of a long way) so I could drive by another spot where I had found a couple of arrowheads in the past. It's a small area near water, very muddy and wet. It's not a place where I would expect to find a lot of stuff because I am used to finding stuff in well-drained sandy places that would have been well-suited to setting up camps. But as I say it has produced a couple of things for me before, and where there is one there are always more so I figured it would be worth a very quick look. I got out of the car and noticed two things right away. The first was that the rain had unfortunately turned this muddy area into a morass, a quagmire of muck. The second thing, though, was more encouraging: no footprints. The ground surface was fresh, totally new since my last visit. I didn't have a lot of time but I thought maybe I could just take a very short walk along one edge of the mud. I took just a few steps and had been looking for about 20 seconds when I saw this.

That's the base of a Levanna point. Such a shame about the missing tip because this thing was a monster and it is beautifully made. The white stone against the dark mud was shining like a beacon. To find something right away like this I take as a clear sign that I could be on the verge of a very good day. I realized that I was going to have to get in there and search this place. I told myself I would force myself to walk as fast as possible and only pick up obvious stuff, like this Levanna base was. And right away I started finding more artifacts. I saw this sticking out of the mire.
I pulled on it and was disappointed when it came out of the ground with no effort. The flat triangular blade I expected was not there. Broken, I guess. I wiped away the mud and was astounded. Not broken. It's a hafted scraper.
This is an awesome find for me. It's thick and nicely made. I have some crude hafted scrapers made from small broken points at the discard stage that were reworked. But nothing like this. I love it. Another few minutes of walking, and I was spotting large bases of stemmed points just waiting to be picked up. These would have been really big arrowheads.

I thought this little piece of flaked quartz was maybe a piece of a triangular arrowhead. It turned out to be the tip of a decent point. Finally, a whole arrowhead.

Here's another whole one that was easy to spot. I really love this little stemmed point, this is a shape I like to find very much. The broken triangle was found not far away.

Another super obvious arrowhead, unfortunately missing the tip, and a triangle base. I went from being excited to elated, then to a stage where it became so surreal it did not seem like real life.

I have not shown a number of crude broken biface fragments, projectile point tips, and other badly damaged fragments. Here is my total haul for the day. And this after blasting through that productive spot as fast as possible, knowing I was missing stuff. I was back out again last week and weekend and found more artifacts. Later this week I will post my other finds from what turned out to be a really lucky week of searching. This last picture is all my finds for the day. I think I have had days where I have found more intact quality arrowheads but for sheer quantity this was my best day yet.

1 comment :

pwax said...

This is a very different assemblage from what I am used to in Concord. I have never seen a Levanna triangle, and have seen very few of the type of fat-stemmed points you found the last week. Also, things in quartz are not so common (although I'm told they used to be in Concord).
Nice finds. Looking forward to seeing the rest of what you found.