Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Old Point

While cataloguing material recovered from a provenience in the Compton Field (Unit 58, Stratum 1), Anne drew my attention to this quartz projectile point. It is the second one from that area that I've seen in the past two days.

The point was recovered from the plowzone, along with a number of flakes, a biface (knife) fragment, and part of another point, all made from quartz. While they have been vertically mixed through plowing and some 300 years of other European-American activities, not to mention several millenia of aboriginal activities on the same spot, this Archaic projectile point is a clear reminder of the long connection that Native Americans have had with Port Tobacco Creek, and with the region as a whole.

We are not sure exactly what type of point this is, but it most closely represents a Halifax point, a type variously dated to the Middle and Late Archaic periods, perhaps as early as 6,000 BC. It is lenticular in cross section, indicating that it was made from a larger core, rather than from a flake, and it was made through simple direct percussion, probably with a series of variously sized hammerstones. The point measures 2" by 1" by 0.38 ", or 5 cm by 2.5 cm by 1 cm. It is largely intact, apart from the loss of the left tang.

I am not hopeful that we will find intact Archaic deposits within the town core, which includes Compton field, but I am confidant that we have single-component Archaic sites (not mixed with earlier or later materials) in the cultivated fields that we meticulously collected and mapped last year. Port Tobacco has much to say about millenia of Native American occupation in Port Tobacco, and throughout Southern Maryland.


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