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  • Argillite

    Argillite (/ ˈ ɑːr dʒ ɪ l aɪ t /) is a fine-grained sedimentary rock composed predominantly of indurated clay particles. Argillaceous rocks are basically lithified mud’s and oozes. They contain variable amounts of silt-sized particles. The argillites grade into shale when the fissile layering typical of shale is developed. Another name for poorly lithified argillites is mudstone.

    So Argillite Artifacts are less appreciated than most Lithics materials. I think it is because the material degrades quickly and the flake patterns disappear, making them look bland. I really like this material because many of them are very thin. Argillite lends itself to large thin 1st stage performs. Hence these performs can produce large thin points and knives, and who doesn’t like a large thin blade? Pictured are points from sites in Lancaster Co. Pict. #1. #2 &3 is a Conewago point type also known as a Fox Creek. #4 is a Bradly spike. #5 & 6 These Picts. have Basel notched points known here as Milford / Eshback. A correction is the 4th point in from left, top row is a Limonitic material, Limonite is not quite limestone and not quite chert. The tip on this point was ground not flaked. I searched this tool and can't put a type to it. Any one know? Enjoy. Kim

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    Knowledge is about how and where to learn more Knowledge that you seek. Snyder County Pa.

  • #2
    Nice set of examples of point styles and material.
    South East Ga. Twin City

    Comment


    • Mattern
      Mattern commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you Willjo. I always appreciate your input.

  • #3
    I used to get a lot of resistance from Mid Atlantic collectors whenever I showed argillite points from Rhode Island. As in “that is not argillite”. But I knew both collectors and professionals in New England called it just that. Our own painshill finally resolved this, explaining that what is found in NJ and Pa., and called argillite, is actually argillaceous shale, and what is found in RI and Ma., and called argillite, is actually argillaceous slate. Compared side by side, the argillite from NJ and Pa is much larger grained than argillite from southern New England, which does resemble in texture and patina slate from the Carolina slate belt.

    The argillite from NJ and Pa, Lockatong argillite, was widely distributed. I have found quite a bit in RI. For some reason, the Fox Creek people actually preferred it. It does weather worse than any other lithic I am familiar with. On the other hand, New England argillite is very platy, as one would expect of slate.

    Here’s an example of Barrington argillite, sourced in eastern RI. Not heavily weathered, but being platy, it probably was not flaked the same way as better quality lithics....

    Rhode Island

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    • #4
      I hope you don’t mind if I show the one I found recently on Long Island. First one for me.
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      New York

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      • Mattern
        Mattern commented
        Editing a comment
        That too is very nice, I don't mind at all Kaz

    • #5
      Good post Kim , I have this insane thirst to learn about lithics, darn it!...So it safe to say anything up that way that looks like that is agrillite without splitting hairs,?
      Floridaboy.

      Comment


      • Mattern
        Mattern commented
        Editing a comment
        Yah pretty much Hal, it has a look of it's own. Nothing I know of like it. It is a bit grainy and mostly rough to the touch. Color varies from lite grays to dark almost black. Brown, tan and some maroon, like the one Kaz posted. Thanks Hal.

    • #6
      When I brought this Lockatong argillite Fox Creek Stemmed home from the beach, my wife’s reaction was “give me a break. That’s a rock”. Can’t blame her, we were not used to seeing such extreme weathering....

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      ​​​​​​​
      Rhode Island

      Comment


      • Mattern
        Mattern commented
        Editing a comment
        That's the stuff CMD. Do you have any idea what the white specks are on some pieces? It seems like the dark maroon ones have more of this white specks in them.
        Last edited by Mattern; 04-16-2021, 12:06 PM. Reason: Addition.

      • CMD
        CMD commented
        Editing a comment
        The word is phenocrysts, but I do not know off the top their exact nature.....

    • #7
      Here’s an example of a lockatong argillite blade extremely weathered.

      To the untrained eye these are barely discernible as artifacts.
      Can’t find em sitting on the couch; unless it’s in a field

      Comment


      • Mattern
        Mattern commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for the Picts Pointhead. I appreciate your input.

    • #8
      Nice examples Kim...
      SW Connecticut

      Comment


      • Mattern
        Mattern commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks Red.

    • #9
      Interesting. I'm not sure we have much of that around here. It's not ringing any bells. I'll have to dig through some trays, and see if anything matches
      Western Kentucky

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      • #10
        Nice examples Kim. We have argillite in SC, but I only have one artifact made from argillite. That's a great frame.
        South Carolina

        Comment


        • Mattern
          Mattern commented
          Editing a comment
          Thank you Josie.

      • #11
        Thanks for looking Josie.
        Knowledge is about how and where to learn more Knowledge that you seek. Snyder County Pa.

        Comment


        • #12
          That's a nice collection. I've found argillite points as far as Cape May point, over 150 miles from the multiple sources above Trenton. The purplish variety from Flemington is worth noting, I might have a sample. Also, it just about dropped out of use in late woodland period.
          New Jersey

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          • Mattern
            Mattern commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks kayak

          • Mattern
            Mattern commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks Kayak.

        • #13
          Hey Kim nice write up on one of my favorite materials to find a artifact made from. It really takes a keen eye to find things made from Argillite since most of the time the flaking has all eroded away and it just looks like another smooth rock. I have found quite a few artifacts made from 3-4 different colors of Argillite in the past couple years. This is the only one of this color that I have and I was really surprised to see the difference in color as I cleaned it up
          Warren County New Jersey

          Comment


          • Mattern
            Mattern commented
            Editing a comment
            Are they all the same point? If so it is a nice one. Thanks

          • HBird
            HBird commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes it’s the same point I took a picture of both sides when it was dry and then both sides when it was wet. I couldn’t believe the difference in color. It almost looks brownish dry and it’s almost a reddish color when wet.
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