Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Post Point?

As mentioned in my last post, we have been finding many post molds but few artifacts due to our location in what appears to be an area of Late Prehistoric house construction.  But today, we had the best of both worlds; a very deep and distinct structural post AND a diagnostic projectile point together in one feature!    During most of this very hot day, the hardy crew working in unit 517N 518E were--once again--sectioning post molds.   Most of these were rather small and short, that is, typical of what we believe to be rather flimsy summer lodges.   But shortly after lunch, Marcia R. went to work on a surprisingly deep post with a very clear profile.  In fact this post was exceptionally deep for its diameter (about 10 cm), and, at first, I judged it to be a possible rodent burrow.  With not a little bit of effort, we did find the rounded bottom at about 50 cm below datum, which showed that indeed it was a post mold.   Passers-by from other units thought this was mildly amusing, as did we.  But the real surprise came when Marcia began removing the fill after drawing the profile of this post mold.  At about 39 cm b.d. she found a nearly complete, corner-notched projectile point, which looked like it had been wedged about two-thirds of the way down the post hole.  

The point is a Middle Woodland corner-notched type most similar to Snyders points found on southern Ohio Hopewell sites and in surface collections from this site.   It is a bit unusual since it was made from a single large chert flake with very fine retouching (sharpening) around the blade margin.  Does this discovery point to the remains of a Hopewell structure in this part of the site or is this just a weird accidental inclusion in a younger post mold?   I don't think this was an accident.  We know from many well-documented contexts that Ohio Hopewell peoples commonly placed such things as stones, flakes, mica fragments, pottery, etc. in post molds.  And if you are a long-term reader of this blog, you may remember our discovery in 2010 of a complete Early Woodland stemmed point in the very bottom of a large post-pit post hole.   Still, we can't say for certain.  But from now on I will think twice before giving up on a post mold that seems to be running too deep.    Who know what may be lying inside?

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