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New artifact! (Read 4270 times)
LukeWebb
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New artifact!
Mar 24th, 2013 at 1:28am
 
Hey, here's an artifact I just picked up today!  We've had a lot of wind lately so the beaches have been churned up real good.  I found a small flake a day ago, then today I found this!  It looks to me like a preform that was either discarded or left behind.  It looks like a very tough stone and I haven't found anything made from it before, I kind of doubt it was thrown away as looking at it I can see how with about 5 strikes it could be turned into a nice knife/spearhead, so most likely it was just left behind for some reason.   It's actually the first time I have found a legitimate preform, I come across quite a lot of worked stone and flakes but never a nice preform like this.

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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #1 - Mar 24th, 2013 at 7:33am
 
Looks like an amygdala to me, nothing discarded  Smiley
It's finished, but a bit damaged and that's why you think it's a preform (in my opinion, if I'm wrong, tell me).
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LukeWebb
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #2 - Mar 24th, 2013 at 10:56am
 
  Hey, did a quick search of google and amygdala is part of your brain, I put amygdala stone tool in and got a few oldowan hand axes come up, I'm assuming that is what you mean?
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Bill Skinner
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #3 - Mar 24th, 2013 at 11:06am
 
Mauro, there weren't people here when amygdadas' were in use, Luke is right, it's a bifaced preform. 

Luke, the person working on it tossed it when he made that hinge.  If you look closely, you can see that there is a crack starting on the edge and it goes all the way through.  He tossed it because if he hit it again, it would break.  And because it was so tough, he didn't think he could salvage two smaller tools.
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LukeWebb
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #4 - Mar 24th, 2013 at 12:15pm
 
  I don't really see any crack, I saw the hinge on the one side where he took two flakes and stepped them both which is obviously going to be very discouraging as he was attempting to take a big lump of the one side to thin it, all he needed to do was take a few short ones up to the edge of the steps and then blast that top down thinner.
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Curious Aardvark
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #5 - Mar 24th, 2013 at 2:06pm
 
it's a rock.

looks perfectly natural, you do realise that time + weather + natural flaws will also resort in rocks cracking and flaking along natural flaws ?

The freezing and thawing in winter is a particularly effective natural way to flake bits off rocks.

Surely that would make more sense than inventing an incompetent caveman stone mason ? 
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #6 - Mar 24th, 2013 at 2:40pm
 
Yes luke, that's what I meant - stone axe  Cheesy
But I thought you was from good ol' Europe  Grin
Bill's right, it's a preform then!
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Bill Skinner
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #7 - Mar 24th, 2013 at 9:15pm
 
On your second picture, the crack is right between your finger tips.  On your 5th picture, you can see how it curves into the rock.  If the rock were high grade, he could have gotton those faults out, he would have gone under them while thinning but that quartzite looks pretty marginal, he probably decided it wasn't worth the wear on his tools or his time, so he tossed it.  And the crack stopped it from being used as some sort of digging or grubbing tool.  As soon as you hafted it and started using it, it would break, wasting the haft, the bindings and the time it took to make it.  Usually, they caught those cracked bifaces at the quarry site or the workshop area and they didn't carry them home.
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LukeWebb
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #8 - Mar 25th, 2013 at 11:30am
 
  I make a good part of my earnings from flintknapping and know what a rock that's been flaked looks like.  It's a knappable stone with multiple concoidal fractures, none of them pronounced though as you don't see any rings in the curved depressions of the flake scars which is the way it works with a tough grainy stone like this.  Rock does NOT fracture with a curve unless it is struck to produce the flake.  I make things that look just like this all the time, only I am usually able to thin them down from here into a point, this guy for many possible reasons didn't.  it's one of the reasons a trained eye finds a lot of these types of things like preforms, flakes and pecked and ground tools as most people are just looking for a textbook "arrowhead" and not looking at the stone and the signs of working and a lot of the recognizable "arrowheads" get picked up.
   
  I was out again today and found a nice little percussion flake busted in half, it is the percussed end as it has a percussion bulb on it, different material but a material I have found before as debitage, never found a point made from it though.

  Mauro, while I don't think it's a stone axe, you could still be right.  I found this big guy just down the beach from this one last year, it is a really tough conventionally un-knappable stone but could be worked into something crude if you were desperate, (same way a nice hand axe can be made from granite,) and looks like a really hard fine sandstone which would actually flake pretty well for percussion.  As you can see the flake scars don't have quite as much of a curve to them and that is due to the coarseness and softer stone than a flint or similar and it doesn't produce a conchoidal fracture but still flakes pretty predictably.  This one to me looks like a stone hand axe of SOME sort, as  the back side has obviously been left dull and just shaped down a little to grasp it where the other side has been flaked heavily to a sharp edge.

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  I still think this one is some sort of digging tool or adze rather than a preform, he never took any long flakes just sharpened up the edge with shorties and blew a long flake off the back as if to remove the ridge for hafting, the step fractures at the base look intentional as well, as if it should be slotted into something.
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And here's a little busted preform, forgot about this one till I looked through my artifacts.
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Bill Skinner
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #9 - Mar 26th, 2013 at 12:03pm
 
Luke, you are exactly right.  If you knap, you start seeing the different flakes and tools that most people simply don't recognise as a worked stone.

I am going to guess that the stone with the long step fracture is actually purposely fluted, and looking at the smaller step fractures, it was actually used as a digging or foraging tool.  I will also guess that it was worked by Clovis people, they are the ones who routinely basaly fluted stone as a normal part of reduction.  That goes with your full groove ax, they are usually really old and were made by, you guessed it, Clovis culture.

And your broken preform looks to be a half of a cresent knife, guess who made those?
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LukeWebb
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #10 - Mar 26th, 2013 at 5:08pm
 
  Clovis?  Not sure the name of the people that were here,  Embarrassed but the archeologists I showed it to who admittedly weren't the sharpest tools in the shed, said that most of what is found here is between 5-10 thousand years old, so that sounds right for Clovis as I know they were far back.  The broken "crescent" knife or leaf shaped blade has only had percussion work done to it, I have a lot break the same way as that when I either don't support the back when removing a flake or hit too far back from the edge, I would guess he did the second one. 
  They also were not supposed to have used bows, just atlatls, the points I have found do look like dart points. 
  I'm glad you agree on the digging tool theory, I have had a lot of people try and convince me it's a preform but you would have to be a moron to do that unintentionally and it makes perfect sense in hafting and use to do intentionally for digging, (ie. the short flakes on the edge obviously not attempting to thin and the deep step fractures at the flat base that could easily be blown away with a flake from the side.)
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Masiakasaurus
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #11 - Mar 26th, 2013 at 5:22pm
 
There are no Clovis sites in Alaska or Canada, but there are "pre-clovis" sites. They're roughly 15,000 years old, though.
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Pikåru wrote on Nov 19th, 2013 at 6:59pm:
Massi - WTF? It's called a sling. You use it to throw rocks farther and faster than you could otherwise. That's all. 
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Mauro Fiorentini
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Re: New artifact!
Reply #12 - Mar 29th, 2013 at 8:12am
 
Topic added to the PW's Index.
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