PDA

View Full Version : A treat for me


Windustsearch
October 23, 2005, 09:34
Part of what I do at work is lithic analysis and artifact illustration for our reports. We just happen to be doing a site overview report for the Penn Cove area of Widbey Island Wa. right now. This afforded me an opportunity I have been waiting for for a long time. I got to deal with a real Clovis point.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/GBCLOVIS017.jpg

Radiocarbon dates associated with these artifacts almost always cluster between 11,250 BP and 11,750 BP, these are mammoth hunting tools. There has been one site in this state that yielded Clovis artifacts, including 14 points. There has only been 10 other known points recovered here. They are pretty scarce in the northwest.

These two artifacts were found by archaeologist George Bishop when he was about 8 years old in the 1960s on his family property on Widbey Island. They challenged theory of isostatic rebound at the time and now we know that the island was indeed above water at that time. So they are important pieces. The field they were found in has never been plowed since, and still holds a Clovis site.

The point is made of dacite and the crescent is argillite.

vmtz
October 23, 2005, 09:52
Wow! Very cool.

lew
October 23, 2005, 19:34
I second Vince's remark. You got any other cool rocks to show us?

Windustsearch
October 23, 2005, 19:50
Hmm.... I'll see what I can scrape up.

Bwana John
October 27, 2005, 09:10
the crescent is argillite
How was the crescent used? As a blunt bird point?, a scraper? I have found a couple of these on wave-cut terraces around ancient lakeshores in the SW Great Basin.

Windustsearch
October 27, 2005, 09:24
Nobody really nows. They almost always show use wear on the excurvate side and definately show a use life (variable outline). They are all old, associated with Clovis and perhaps Haskett/Lake Mojave artifacts in the 11,000 BP range to 11,750 BP or so. If they are associated with Haskett or other big stemmed points then its only at the earliest signs of them. Later sites like the Haskett site itself and Sentinal Gap are dated in the 10,200 range, they have no crescents. That they were used for cutting or scraping soft materials is for sure. There are only 3 that I know of from WA state, but there are alot of them in OR and NV.

Dr Rick Pettigrew said that he thought they were projectiles for birds when I talked to him about it, but he would be the only one I know of. I can't see why they would show so much use attrition if that were the case. They start big like the one in my pic, and are worked until they are the same length but half or less of the width in plan view.

Temp
October 27, 2005, 10:10
Originally posted by Windustsearch
Nobody really nows. They almost always show use wear on the excurvate side and definately show a use life (variable outline).

I can't see why they would show so much use attrition if that were the case. They start big like the one in my pic, and are worked until they are the same length but half or less of the width in plan view.

Seems as if they would have to be used against something very hard to demonstrate that much wear.

Is it possible that they're a knapping tool?

Windustsearch
October 27, 2005, 11:01
Well the kind of use wear that they exhibit has been replicated and is consistent with the processing of softer materials such as meat and vegetal matter. Once the edge is dulled through micro-abrasion the piece is sharpened or "touched up." So the overall attrition looks similar to a used up pocket knife where the blade is too thick to sharpen and lacks the width. Most crescents still have that micro-abrasion on them. One could easily last a year or two depending on the volume of materials processed and quality of tool-stone.

The problem with them being knives and scrapers is that there are already other knives and scrapers in those assemblages. That is not to say that there could not have been more than one type, it just precludes any kind of slam dunk. Also, most scrapers are plano-convex in cross section while crescents are biconvex. A biconvex tool will work for scraping, however. The problem with the bird projectile idea is that those early deposits do not contain bird bones. Birds are relatively difficult to procure and are small, they take alot more effort than a bison or a huge elk for the same amount of return or lbs of meat. Secondly, it has not even been demonstrated that those early American cultures used any kind of projectile at all. There were no bows, no evidence for the atlatl has been found that dates that far back, chances are we are talking hand held spears.

So, the current speculation is that they are hafted knives or scrapers. The handle would be fixed to the concaved side, leaving the convex side exposed as the tool edge. A tool like this would work very well for removing the skin from a large mammal.

Temp
October 27, 2005, 11:55
,... interesting stuff,....

Plain George
October 27, 2005, 15:49
Windustsearch...if you were given a sack of 100 points or knives,
what would your ratio be of picking out the real from the fake??

Windustsearch
October 27, 2005, 16:02
Depends on the faker and the region they came from. In my stomping grounds I wouldn't be wrong too often. I know how to make them myself, and know the "aging" processes that people try to use.

That said, if you gave me enough time I could fake a point that could fool almost anyone. Fakers usually aren't smart enough to get everything right. Every repro. I have ever seen has been blatantly obviously new.

Not too long ago I phonied one up for an in company "sting" for someone that was suspected of hygrating points in the field. That fish bit hard, LOL.

Why, you got something you suspect is fake?

Plain George
October 28, 2005, 07:27
Well back in Illinois during the 60's I worked on the railroad. Another trainman who was also a farmer sold me some really nice arrow heads that he said he found on his farm
I had always assumed they were genuine till I showed you a picture of those "fish hooks" I got from him, and you questioned them.
Now I am suspect of ALL the ones I got from him.
I would not suspect HIM as being the faker, but you never know.

Windustsearch
October 28, 2005, 07:56
No, I bet the collection is mixed. Back then, there were really not alot of fakers out there and the good ones are all known by name. Chances are your hooks were derived from one of the "gray ghost" knappers. There were about half a dozen of them. They specialized in making almost ridiculously large flat points that were sold in flea markets, rock shops, gas stations, etc. They followed no real known prehistoric type and simply looked like oversized arrowheads, anywhere from 6" to a foot or more long. They charged by the inch. Those hooks you posted looked like the right style and just screamed gray ghost. The stone material, flaking style, everything about them, plus they don't find stone fish hooks in prehistoric contexts makes them an easy mark. In fact, you could be relatively positive that they were made by one of two gray ghost knappers.

Your friend propably received them as gifts from someone or something. I bet most or all of the rest of the collection is real stuff that he found.

vmtz
October 28, 2005, 08:09
Did you ever find out about my axe or digging tool?

Vince

Windustsearch
October 28, 2005, 08:35
Not yet, I just got back to the office yesterday. If I don't find anything the best fallback would be to ask my boss, he went to UNM and did some work down there. Archaeology down there is so well done and the sites are so well stratified and clear-cut that often there are strict temporal dispositions for artifacts like that.

Oh, and while on the subject of both fakes and UNM, one of the biggest hoaxers of all time, Dr Frank C Hibben and his Sandia Man. There is another sure sign of a fake for all you collectors, Sandia points are extremely rare because there is no such thing, they are all fakes or something else.

vmtz
October 28, 2005, 08:50
Originally posted by Windustsearch
Not yet, I just got back to the office yesterday. If I don't find anything the best fallback would be to ask my boss, he went to UNM and did some work down there. Archaeology down there is so well done and the sites are so well stratified and clear-cut that often there are strict temporal dispositions for artifacts like that.

Oh, and while on the subject of both fakes and UNM, one of the biggest hoaxers of all time, Dr Frank C Hibben and his Sandia Man. There is another sure sign of a fake for all you collectors, Sandia points are extremely rare because there is no such thing, they are all fakes or something else.

Knew about Sandia man, but didn't know about the points. Thanks I am looking forward to what you find out.

Vince

armed1
October 28, 2005, 15:16
I have something that looks like that clovis point. Can you look at it and tell me something about it? I can't post pics here, but I can e-mail it to you if you would post it for me.

Windustsearch
October 28, 2005, 15:55
No problemo. Windustsearch@aol.com

Sword of Laban
October 28, 2005, 18:39
Windustsearch, I remember reading about reported pre Clovis remains and artifacts found in flooded caves in Mexico. Now I cant find much about it. Just my natural curiosity.

ratas calientes
October 28, 2005, 20:32
Originally posted by Windustsearch
. . .
Radiocarbon dates associated with these artifacts almost always cluster between 11,250 BP and 11,750 BP, . . .
What exactly is "BP"? http://chilirat.com/emoticons/chilirat.gif

Windustsearch
October 28, 2005, 21:18
I hadn't heard about any legit pre-Clovis sights in Mexico. There is a hoax one aproprietly named Pendejo Cave. So far it is just Monte Verde Chile and three candidates, Cactus Hill, the Topper site, and Meadowcroft Rockshelter.

BP means radiocarbon years before present. Thats without intercept or Sigma calibration to the calender.

Vince, we don't have any SW reports, but the boss-man said he'd bring some in next week. He did say he thought it is a hafted axe, late prehistoric.

Heres how the illustrations turned out.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/ClovisPoint.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/Crescent.jpg

vmtz
October 28, 2005, 21:26
Originally posted by Windustsearch
I hadn't heard about any legit pre-Clovis sights in Mexico. There is a hoax one aproprietly named Pendejo Cave. So far it is just Monte Verde Chile and three candidates, Cactus Hill, the Topper site, and Meadowcroft Rockshelter.

BP means radiocarbon years before present. Thats without intercept or Sigma calibration to the calender.

Vince, we don't have any SW reports, but the boss-man said he'd bring some in next week. He did say he thought it is a hafted axe, late prehistoric.

Heres how the illustrations turned out.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/ClovisPoint.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/Crescent.jpg

Wow! Tell me more!

Vince

Windustsearch
October 28, 2005, 21:31
Umm, I drew em. There they are.

vmtz
October 28, 2005, 21:32
Nice work.

Vince

Windustsearch
October 28, 2005, 21:36
Thanks, I didn't resize them all the way yet so they are still too big.

Edited, downsized a bit.

Windustsearch
October 28, 2005, 21:46
Here are some more.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/LDRPPT-2truewithscale.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/CopyofApp0022.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/CopyofApp0024.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/CopyofToltadz.jpg

ALBPM
October 28, 2005, 22:12
Here are a couple more from New Mexico, not as old.

Arrow head is from near Vaughn (Apache) and the scraper was found out on the West Mesa near Albuquerque.

http://mywebpages.comcast.net/pmahl/arrow.jpg

Windustsearch
October 28, 2005, 22:20
Very cool. Nice material.

If you want old stuff just head east. Over on the NM TX border there are lots of old artifacts in the washes. The Clovis and Folsom type sites are over there.

I'll see if I can take some pics of mine. Unfortunately I am not allowed to collect anymore because of my job.:sad:

ALBPM
October 28, 2005, 22:47
I took a few Anthro classes back in the 70's at UNM from Lewis Binford and Philip Bock. I used to get into good debates with Bock in Cultural Anthro since I'm a Biologist by degree. He was a devote Culturist and kept giving me a hard time about how we believed that Humans are born with innate behaviors and did not learn totally from our culture.....LOL

Ahhh....the good old days :biggrin:

Windustsearch
October 28, 2005, 22:54
Thats where my boss went, he even has a part in one of Binfords books, For Theory Building in Archaeology. Archaeology today IS Binford, at least those that are not 30 years behind the times. You are lucky you took those classes when you did.

ALBPM
October 28, 2005, 23:02
Binford was great never a dull lecture from that man. I'll never forget Binford acting out some of the stratagies for Mammoth Hunting.....LOL!!!! Priceless!!!!

I took all the classes I could from Randy Thornhill (Ecological/Evolutionary behavior/Sexual Selection) That was another guy way ahead of his time and extremely controversial in the 70's..

http://biology.unm.edu/Biology/Thornhill/rthorn.htm

http://www.froes.dds.nl/thornhill.htm



Binford never had anything good to say about Hibben who by the way lost his tenure while I was still at UNM.

Windustsearch
October 29, 2005, 00:23
Heres a few points from the Columbia River. The center one is old and is not described as a type.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/stuff017.jpg

The center one in these is a windust point, 10,000-11,200. There are a couple other old timers in there too.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/stuff018.jpg

Windustsearch
October 29, 2005, 00:30
LOL, I don't imagine Binford had any like for Hibben. Back when he was at the U of Michigan he played a big part in exposing the Sandia finds as a hoax.

There were later things, like someone somehow managed to get ahold of a couple of the points from the Lucy site. Microscopic evaluation showed metal marks on them under the shoulders because they were genuine old points that someone altered with a nail. The guy actually chipped single shoulders into real Clovis points in an effort to invent a Solutrean American.:rofl:

ALBPM
October 29, 2005, 10:34
Great stuff!!!!

Now I want to go out and find more. :biggrin: :biggrin:

McDobber
October 29, 2005, 10:53
Windy, I am very impressed with your items and your line of work. I would really like to sit down with you over a few cold ones and discuss this subject for several hours.

Coming down to visit anytime soon?:biggrin:

Windustsearch
October 29, 2005, 11:34
I do plan on a snake hunt for west Texas (River Road) sometime within the next two years that would involve hunting my way through NM.

Sounds like a good time, some cold ones and some green chili sounds pretty good. Maybe I'll plan a hotel stay in AQ.

Windustsearch
October 30, 2005, 05:58
Ok, my photo host was picking on me. I finally got this one uploaded. The center one and the obsidian one are old timers, cascade points, like the one Kennewick Man got shot in the butt with.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/Points.jpg

Firestarter
October 30, 2005, 09:12
That is really cool Windustsearch.

I was able to participate in a prehistoric dig when I was at the tender age of 17.
It was near Old Washington state park in Arkansas.

The site was actually in the back yard of a very generous old man.
We dug 1 meter pits with trowels and brushes.
10 cm down at a time and mapped at those intervals.

Across the area were found plenty of points and pottery along with shards.
Also we foung the characteristic darkened soil that indicated large post holes.
(10 -15" in diameter)
What was neat was when we put the maps together we could see the basic structure that was built (foundation if you will).
It was hot work and we stayed in tents for two weeks. We also used those big sifters that you rock back and forth to search for smaller items.

The crowning moment was when in the pit just next to ours were discovered two human skeletal remains buried in fetal positions.
We got to help excavate them a bit.

Also worked a few days in the field lab cleaning the pottery shards (carefully).

This was a project headed by the AR archeological society and you could log hours.

It was a pay-to-participate experience. :biggrin:

Great memories as a kid!