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Just have to have a small rant


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Sigh

 

Some 40 odd years ago a long time friend took a trip to Ohio to visit family.  While there, during a hunting trip, he found some arrow heads.  He gave me one of them and it has bounced around for all that time.  I bumped into a knapping group online and decided to ask about the point.  They are about evenly split between "it's real, Hopewell (maybe), cool thing" and "Fake, made in India, can't be real, don't be stupid".

I guess that's what I get for asking a bunch of online "experts" to evaluate my crappy pictures of a thing.

 

For the general public, I believe the story, I have no reason to think he's lying to me, and it's a cool little point.  Also for the record, I've never found a knapped point of any kind, and I need to do something about that.
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G

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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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As our resident archaeologist based in the eastern woodlands, I'll tell you it's as real as they get.  Made of Flint Ridge Chalcedony, too.  Big outcrop in central Ohio, only source for it.  High-status trade material down where I'm based.  I'd call it a Meadowood or Hodges cluster.  Early Woodland period, about 1300 BC to 500 BC.  Found across the upper eastern Midwest, from Michigan/Indiana east to southern New England.  A little early for true Hopewell, but found in the same general area. 

 

They're usually a little bigger, but you work with what you have.  It's a dart point, pre-bow and arrow.  Think of it hafted on a five-foot shaft of rivercane about 3/8" diameter, minimal fletching, thrown with an atlatl.  With practice, absolutely accurate and deadly within 20 yards or so, effective out to 40 yards.  

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Posted (edited)

Thanks so much, Alan.  I'm glad to have your considered opinion.  I know that certain things were valuable trade items, pre-contact.  There is all kinds of jaspers and opals from Washington and Oregon that show up well outside the region.

I had an archeology professor in the 70's (Garland Grabert) who had worked on a village site in the Okanagan, about 2500 years old.  In it they found a spindle whorl of an unknown material (he brought it to class and passed it around).  About 4 inches across with a hole in the middle.  I was made from a hard creamy material but was not bone (whale bone was commonly used for whorls) or stone or ceramic or ivory,  and had some line designs on the surface.  He took it to conferences for years.  In a conference in SoCal he pulled it out and asked if anyone knew what it was.  Another professor said that he did and asked where it had come from.  It turns out that it was the operculum (the hard end of the foot of a snail) from a snail that only lives in a narrow zone in the Sea of Cortez.  Somehow it got from the Baja to NE Washington 2500 years ago.  Dr. Grabert figured that it got traded as an object of virtue, hand to hand, up the coast and then inland (the inland part is pretty easy, there was a lot of cross mountain traffic from the Salish Sea to the high plains.)

Geoff 

Edited by Geoff Keyes
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"The worst day smithing is better than the best day working for someone else."

 

I said that.

 

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

- - -G. K. Chesterton

 

So, just for the record: the fact that it does work still should not be taken as definitive proof that you are not crazy.

 

Grant Sarver

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An interesting point you have there Geoff!  I too have never found a point after many hunting trips, hikes or camping mostly in upstate NY.  I've found plenty of other odd things and my hunting buddies always tell me I spend to much time looking at the ground instead of looking for game, but never found an arrow head.   I do have some beauties that were gifted to my parents by their landlord when they were newly weds.  He supposedly found them on his farm in Waterloo NY and an anthropology prof. that I had in school had them dated as something like 2,000 BC - I wish I had put it in writing.  He very much wanted to keep them.  I'll get some pictures up after coffee.

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During my early teens, under the influence of some book I was completely obsessed with flint-knapped arrowheads and tools, looked for them endlessly despite the fact none were ever made in this part of the world, tried to make them myself with completely the wrong kind of rock and zero knowledge or skill.

Archeology video lectures on Youtube is some of my favourite viewing when I'm supposed to be sleeping, been watching with interest how things have been pushed back much later than the Clovis people, various theories about migration routes......facinating stuff!

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I'm glad to hear of other people never finding any, I've been looking since I was a kid (that was a very long time ago now, lol). Closest I've come is when a local lake (Lake Jackson) which periodically drains down two sinkholes, had done so and the dry lake bed was exposed. I was exploring and found an area of waste flakes where tools had been made. They looked to be chert, the only locally available material for tool making. Perhaps associated with the nearby Mississippian mounds culture site here though the local area here in Tallahassee has been occupied by a number of different cultures.

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Guy Thomas

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I've never found an arrow point either! :)

 

Most of Alaska is not the greatest place for finding things,it's vast,and largely untrod by archaeologists (who,much like the rest of us,are intimidated by all the vastness,and it's a real PITA to get around!).

And when paleolithic people were here they were very few per all this vastness,so finding something is mathematically intimidating,your chances are cosmically few.

 

I do live somewhat close (80 miles by snowmobile in winter/150 by water in the summer) to where an older culture in the past(up to fairly recently) knapped and traded chert from a couple local to them there sources.

 

A lady i'm friends with here is a biologist for the USF&WS, and a number of years back she's made a significant discovery of lithic points.

I think i may've rapped about that here in the past,it was a find so large and so Odd in a number of ways that not unlike you,Geoff,my buddy Karin is also somewhat irritated and hurt by this element of skepticism that the find engendered.

(The scientists at UAF and many other researchers had it for a number of years now,maybe that ill-defined pall has dissipated,i should ask Karin if she heard the latest).

 

But!!! Fairly recently our Northern archaeology got a great break-the dread Climate Change has been melting these permanent,ancient snow patches.As opposed to glaciers,who are so dynamic that the artefacts sift down to the rocky moraine beneath to be ground to dust by unstoppable movement-the snow patches preserve everything intact.

And the beauty of it is that they preserve Organics,intact...

I was reminded of all this by Alan's great notes on darts and atlatls above,there're some uber cool examples of windings and sections of shafts  in this snow patch finds.

This is East of me,around the Divide where my drainage (Yukon) goes West,and everything to the East drains into McKenzie river valley.But also there're trade routes to the ocean,the Inside Passage and the wide North Pacific...

I don't know what cultural attributions the scientists are making there,but like here those are Dene people,who's been around here pretty permanently for...? (14 000 years or so at least?).

Anyway,if you'll have the time to watch this there's some really neat stuff discussed and shown (and even a copper point way at the very end...).

 

 

God is in his heaven,and Czar is far away...

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