Monday, July 2, 2012

Older Than We Thought

Tremendous thunderstorms last evening dropped nearly 2.0 inches of rain on our poor site.  The result was another soggy mess when we arrived this morning.  Much too messy to continue excavation in our current units, so we--once again--moved south.

We laid out three new 2x2m units at previously determined, but randomly selected, locations to continue our statistical sampling of the subsurface features in the remaining area within the parallel ditches.  As before, we screened small, 50x50cm test units in the southeast corners of these units to sample the plow zone contents.  Not much was found except modest quantities of flint flakes.

One surprising find was the base of a large side-notched point that turned up while Karen L. was excavating a plow scar in Unit 475N 529E.  Normally, the discovery of a projectile point in a plow scar would not garner much attention; however, this point proved to be somewhat exceptional.  It turned out to be a fragment of an Early Archaic Large Side-notched point, similar to the Big Sandy variety found elsewhere in Ohio and into the southeastern U.S.   These notched points are very old, between about 8,000 and 10,000 years in age!  The image at right shows the typically square basal "ear"; the remaining ear is missing.  Both this ear and the slightly convex base are heavily ground.  My crude reconstruction below shows how this fragment fit with the complete point.  This little fragment turns out to be the oldest artifact yet found at the Heckelman site and shows that people began coming to this place just after the Ice Age!

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