Monday, June 23, 2014

A really good day

     As luck would have it, Friday May 13 was an incredible day for me. It had rained fairly hard, it was cloudy, and the days at this time of year are long- perfect for going out after work and looking for stuff. Dave and I went out to a place that he discovered, where both of us have had some luck in the past. There is not a lot to find there but we both have found some extraordinary items in very many hours of careful and systematic searching.
     Before I begin I want to apologize for the quality of the photos. It was raining pretty hard and my camera was running low on space for photos. Also, I was excited.
     It was drizzling as we walked in to the place. A cool breeze was refreshing. I was feeling really positive, trying to visualize what a find might look like. I told Dave- "Tonight is the night for this place." Conditions were perfect out there, but maybe a little... creepy. The breeze blew curtains of cool rain over the landscape, it was really quiet. Twice we both heard what sounded like a large animal very nearby, but saw nothing. The clouds were thick and nobody else was around. We went to check the very best area first.
     The first unexpected finds were two testudinate forms. This lady was still laying her eggs.
     This one had finished up and was just relaxing.
     Not far away I spotted this sticking out of the ground. I wasn't sure if it was a tool or just a flake.
     Well, that's a shame. It's the base of a Stark point, made out of felsite. It was a large point. The break is patinated, likely it broke in ancient times.
     Anyway, that is a good find for me. A nice material, and I like to find Stark points, even just fragments. I don't find too many. So, I was happy. I didn't really expect to find anything else, often in this place Dave found we have searched for hours and found nothing. I was surprised, not much later, when Dave called me over to show me something on the ground. It was a small rock surface that was barely exposed.
     Good of him to spot this. We scrutinized it, never touching it. At the upper right there was a clear ear or notch. Definitely looking artificial. We studied it and discussed it and we both concluded it might be a drill. Would it be whole? Dave pulled his find out of the ground...

     Wow... I was just floored. The photos don't do it justice. It's so thin, the pink felsite is gorgeous. To see this thing come out of the ground... Brewerton Eared Notched, I would call this shape. I don't have one like this, not even a fragment. I'm happy for Dave. I was a little jealous (OK, maybe more than a little) but he found this place and he really has a good eye (and good luck) and he spotted it. He didn't let me keep this one, of course. I was content to be happy for his find.
     We walked on for a long time and didn't find anything else, not even broken pieces. The rain picked up.
     As the sun was going down I spotted this and called Dave over right away.
     A closer look.
     Again, we studied it. What were we looking at? At first I thought I was looking at the broken tip of something but Dave pointed out right away that it was an intact base. Another Stark, I thought. I remembered other times I saw a base sticking out of the sand like this. Sometimes as soon as my fingers brushed it it would fall away from the dirt, nothing more there than what was visible. Other times there would be more or less of the blade still there but very rarely would it be intact. I hoped... I touched it gently, no movement. I pulled a little, at first it offered some resistance. I said to Dave, "It's big..." Finally it gave way and started coming out of the sand. And it just kept coming...
     Wiped off a little...
     I was ecstatic. Finding something like this makes me as happy as anything in my life. It is such a thrill for me, a real success. This is the kind of stuff I think about in all those long hours of walking through dirt picking up broken quartz fragments or nothing at all. Probably I will not find a better artifact this year.
     I ask myself, would I rather have found the wonderful Brewerton Dave picked up? It's a better material, the shape is less common in the places I know. But this Stark is just so big. I don't think I could pick a favorite, I think they are both just great.
     On the way out I picked up a red stone that seemed artificially shaped, almost faceted. I couldn't see how it could have been a broken piece of a tool, though. It reminded me of ground slate bannerstones I have seen but the shape was wrong. I tucked it into my pocket with the chips and flakes I collected. I try to save as much archaeological evidence as possible in every place I search. At home I pulled it out and looked at it again.


     Looking closely I saw clear and obvious grinding marks on all the flat surfaces. The grinding marks, the parallel striations from abrading, go in different directions on each plane. No natural process did this. This was done by a person.
     What was the purpose of this? Some study provided the answer. This is red hematite and ancient people would grind this stone into powder to make pigment or paint. This abrasion is what created these flat smooth surfaces and grinding marks. I never found anything like this before. I'm really pleased with this, I imagine it was really special to someone, long ago.


Tim MacSweeney said...

I also found a paint stone on the same day - and found it in a place where I was thinking, "I wonder what Chris Pittman could find in a spot like this?" standing where an ancient road and the power line access road meets.

Tac dung cua nam linh chi said...

so excited!

pwax said...

....[has run out of superlatives....]

pwax said...

All truly awesome finds.