Before I begin, let me welcome Brian back to his site, and say a fond farewell, probably, with a last post. Since I may be outta here, let me begin by digging at his nibs, and pointing out something here... In his post, "How to be an Archaeologist: Codes of Conduct Regarding Small Finds" Brian gives us a picture of WA, with the caption "Various members of Wyre Archeology standing around watching Carlo carefully extract a green toy soldier(circa 1965)from the trench.
Now, look carefully at the following cartoon which I did several years ago, and sent to Brian in a book as a gift.
I leave it to you, the reader, to draw your own conclusions as to where Brian gets his best jokes.
Now, on to the post:
HISTORY (or Herstory) is everywhere, including your own backyard. In my case, it was my front yard, as I discovered while looking at all the weeding that I needed to do along the front curb. I saw what looked like a piece of dirty flint, so I picked it up and stuck it in my pocket for later. I have learned that what looks like a rock might actually be an artifact after a good washing, and in this case, was right.
Honestly, I don’t know what it is. In my former home of New Jersey I have found at least a dozen such objects of this size, which I believe are true ‘arrow’ heads... stone tips for Native American arrows.
However, this one has an odd tip, as you can see. The tip has been carefully shaped to a fine curved point. Now, I would probably dismiss this in my ignorance as a fluke, except for the fact that of the several ‘arrowheads’ I found in NJ, one piece resembles this one quite closely! In fact, that one shows a long fine tip that appears very deliberately shaped. Both are of similar sizes and shapes, although they were found hundreds of miles apart, which suggests to me that they are deliberately made tools.
Why the odd shape and fine tip? Were they some kind of drill, needle, or other pointy tool used for crafting? I don’t know.
Honestly, I’ve seen very little about Native American stone tools on this scale. Most places display beautifully crafted arrow or spear points that are usually anywhere from 2 to 4 inches long. Maybe museums feel that such small tools, even though skillfully made, would not appeal to the public? Maybe Archeoligists don’t feel these tools are worthy of consideration? Again, I don’t have an answer. I’ve read about such tools, and true arrow heads, but haven’t seen many examples.
I know what they are only because I’ve found several in my old backyard, and after careful examination it is easy to see that they are deliberately made tools, and crafted quite well. Their function is usually easy to see, as some have blunt tips for stunning birds, and some have sharp tips for felling rabbits and squirrels.
And then there are the anomalies like the one I found in my new front yard.
Hopefully there are answers out there somewhere. Meanwhile, the artifacts, as well as the earthworks, mounds, and other sites left by the Native Americans, leave us to wonder. We can only guess at their purposes, really. In some cases the purpose seems obvious, as with a blunt arrowhead, or a burial mound. In others, we may never know.
And that is part of the wonder and mystery that can be found when we take the time to look for, and contemplate, the ancient past.
Cheers, JOHN :0)