Monday, June 10, 2019

Spring arrowhead season

     Spring is the best season for arrowheads.
     One day I went out after work to a nice sandy place where I have found a lot of chips of quartz and argillite, but very few tools. Conditions on the ground were very good with a lot of fresh exposure. This quartz arrowhead was fun and rewarding to find, and could not have been more obvious or easy to spot.
      Nearby, I picked up what I thought was just another quartz flake. It turned out to be a pretty unusual little stemmed point with an expanding stem.
     A quartz triangle and a quartz stemmed point, the two types of tools that to me are so typical of the artifacts left behind by prehistoric people in southeastern New England. There were, of course, other people in this region at other times, who used different types of materials. I think the quartz industry sites are more numerous but maybe it's just that I am better at finding those sites.
     One very rainy afternoon my friend Dave and I went to a favorite spot only to see two others out there, with sticks, searching for artifacts. Discouraged, we left and went to another, very small area where he and I have both found stuff in the past. I spotted this tiny corner peeking out of the mud.
     This triangular quartz arrowhead is very small, the sort of thing that some collectors used to call a "bird point." The site where I found this must be so dense with arrowheads, there is almost always something to find there even though there is almost no geological change happening, extremely limited exposure in a tiny area only. As with most of the sites I know, it is private property but is known to the state as an archaeological resource. I am not aware that there is any real effort to protect these resources which to me is a shame.
     One sunny weekday recently I had an incredible lucky streak. I was really feeling lucky so I went to a favorite place in Rhode Island near the coast, before work. This stemmed point is big, thick, and chunky. Thicker than what I usually find. I speculate it might have been used as a knife. I like it.
     This neat little stemmed point nearby was very easy to spot. Just waiting to be picked up.
     It is pretty much all there. Maybe a little worn from centuries in the ground.
     There was lots to find there, that morning. I found most of another stemmed point, and some fragments.
     After work, the weather was still nice and I was still feeling lucky so I decided to try again in a different spot, this time in southeastern Massachusetts. I spotted this tiny base sticking out of the ground. It was exciting pulling it out of the ground, hoping it would be whole. They usually are not.
     This one was, though. Very pretty. It is, I believe, a Squibnocket Triangle. This could be the nicest point I find this year.
     I found some other stuff that afternoon in that place, too, including another triangle made of a really pretty crystal quartz material, with some damage.
     On another day, back in Rhode Island, I spotted this. It might be a hafted scraper but perhaps more likely it's just broken.
     It was hot and dry out there that day. I did manage to find another crude and beat-up stemmed arrowhead.
     Last week I went to another spot that I know has a lot of artifacts. It was really hot and really dry, terrible conditions. Almost no rocks visible. Despite this, I carefully searched the most productive area and I was rewarded with this.
     This is pretty big and well-made. It doesn't show well in the photo but in hand, this quartz material has a glassy appearance that shows the flaking scars better than is typical with quartz. I'm happy with this.
     It's nighttime as I write this and it is raining here. We are supposed to get some decent rainfall tonight. I will plan to be out there searching again tomorrow. I spend a lot of time looking, to be able to find anything.


pwax said...

Nice finds! I spent an hour in a field this spring and found not one flake.

Tim MacSweeney said...

I should walk the cornfield across the street from me today> In fact, I will do that. Thanks Chris!