No announcement yet.

North Carolina Types (General)

This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • North Carolina Types (General)

    North Carolina Projectile Point type descriptions

    Type Descriptions of the Projectile Points of the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina
    some pictures are included

    Archaeology at Warren Woods College
    Searching the fields of NW Indiana and SW Michigan

  • #2
    Paleo Period Points of the Carolina Piedmont
    Ron L. Harris, Hickory, North Carolina
    Originally published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.57, No.1, pg.39

    Above: The author's entire North Carolina Paleo collection assembled over a 55-year span. The North Carolina counties include: Randolph, Iredell, Rowan, Stanly, Montgomery, Moore, Johnston, Ashe, Alleghany, Alexander, Guilford, Wilkes, Surry, Buncombe, Madison, Clay, and Chatham.

    The earliest prehistoric human occupation in North Carolina dates to the Paleo-Indian period, which is thought to have begun around 10,000 BC. The temporal marker for that period is the fluted projectile point usually recovered as a surface find on exposed surfaces such as plowed fields, road cuts, construction sites and eroding streams or fields.
    Archaeologists recognize two main cultures within the Paleo-Indian period in the North Carolina Piedmont region. They are Clovis & Hardaway-Dalton.

    The Clovis Culture made beautiful distinctive fluted spear points (9500 — 8500 BC) that show remarkable similarities across the American continent. The purpose of the Clovis flute or channel most likely was to facilitate the hafting process. The edges on both sides near the base were dulled, so as to prevent them from cutting through the bindings that attached the point to the spear shaft. It should be noted that as of yet no Clovis points have been excavated from an undisturbed stratified site or found in context with datable material in N.C.

    The Hardaway-Dalton Culture made differently styled spear points with shallow indentations on each side of the blade near the basally thinned base with ground (dulled) proximal blade edges (8500 — 8000 BC).

    Another projectile point type that figures into the Paleo-Indian time frame in the N.C. Piedmont is the Alamance point. It is believed to be a variant or sub-type of the Hardaway-Dalton with both occurring in the same time frame.

    Infrequently, Simpson type points of the late Paleo period are found in the lower N.C. Piedmont regions. However, this type is usually found in the Deep South such as Florida and South Georgia. Fluting for the Simpson point is absent or weak but basal areas are ground. The hafting area is constricted or "waisted".

    Spears tipped with these unique types of stone points were the main hunting tools in the Paleo-Indian time frame.

    These First Carolinians were nomadic hunters & gatherers who moved regularly through vast territories on a seasonal basis in search of new resources. They lived in small family groups that archaeologists call bands. Subsistence comes from the hunting and gathering of wild foods. They carried or pulled all of their possessions from one location to another and therefore built no permanent dwellings. Protection from severe weather consisted of temporary shelters constructed from sticks and brush, forest thickets or the occasional rock shelter. Clothing and mats were likely from plant fibers and animal hides. Containers may have included bark and/or animal bags, gourds and woven nets from vines or grass. The most important excavated N.C. site yielding Paleo-Indian components is the Hardaway Site (31-ST-4) on the west bank of the Yadkin River near the town of Badin in Stanly County, N.C. The Hardaway site investigations formed the basis of Paleo-Indian and Early Archaic sequences for the Carolina Piedmont as defined by Joffre L. Coe (1964).

    Simpson type Paleo point found in Chatham County, North Carolina in the Cape Fear River drainage. Short flutes or basal thinning on both sides. Rare type for N.C. in that this type is usually found in the deep-south region. However, this point is made from Rhyolite material indigenous to central N.C. where the point was recovered. Size: 3 ½ inches. Collection of the author.

    The classic fluted Clovis point was not recovered from Hardaway; however, it is thought by archaeologists to be contemporary with the Hardaway phase, which represents the earliest occupation at the site and dates to at least 8000 BC (Ward 1983).

    The Hardaway Corner-Notch projectile point evolved from the Hardaway-Dalton. It is smaller with "U" shaped corner-notches. Archaeologists consider this particular type to be the beginning of the Early Archaic period in N.C. dating to about 8000 BC.

    Some archaeologists think the earliest Paleo-Indians lived mostly in the Piedmont because more fluted points have turned up there than elsewhere in the state. The Piedmont was probably a more climate hospitable region to live in as opposed to the colder mountains.

    Paleo-Indian sites on the low-lying Coastal Plain may presently be invisible, having been inundated by rising sea levels or deeply buried in floodplain soils. Widely scattered Paleo-Indian artifacts of the Clovis-Hardaway-Dalton types have been found in the mountains and foothills of North Carolina but presently no significant undisturbed locations for this period exist there either. This may be due in part to these First Carolinians favoring hilltops or ridges for their camps. This allowed centuries of rain and weather to erode and wash away their sites.

    Most of the Paleo-Indian type spear points seem to be produced from local lithic material leading archaeologists to conclude these ancient points were manufactured by resident Native Americans and not simply lost by seasonal hunting parties from outside (Purrington 1983). In the N.C. Piedmont this preferred raw material consisted of high-quality metavolcanic rocks found in the Slate Belt. Most stone tools found in the Piedmont that date to the Paleo-Indian period, as well as later periods, were made from this fine-grained, metamorphosed volcanic rock called rhyolite. Rhyolite outcrops are restricted to the area of the Slate Belt in and around the Uwharrie Mountains of Stanly & Montgomery Counties in south-central N.C.

    Above: This late-Paleo Hardaway-Dalton point is made of porphyritic Rhyolite. It was recovered in the Cedar Square community near Randleman in northern Randolph County, North Carolina. Size: 3 inches. Collection of the author.

    Above: Very rare clear quartz crystal fluted point found by Blake Deal in the Brushy Mountain community of "Vashti" of northern Alexander County, North Carolina. Size: 2 inches. Collection of the author.

    It is not by accident that the site of the most important Paleo-Indian and Early Archaic search in N.C. — The Hardaway Site — also is located in the Uwharrie Mountains.
    Rodney Peck, president of the Piedmont Archaeology Society of Virginia and the Carolinas, has undertaken the monumental task of recording fluted points found in North Carolina. This has been an ongoing task for many years and hundreds of fluted points have officially been recorded and are still being recorded in his survey.
    Accompanying this article are several photographs illustrating examples of various Paleo-Indian projectile point types (Clovis, Hardaway-Dalton, Alamance & Simpson) typically recovered in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge foothills regions of North Carolina.

    Used by permission of the publisher
    To learn more about or to join the Central States Archaeological Society, click here:
    I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.


    • #3
      Two Previously Unreported Fluted Points from the North Carolina Piedmont
      Peter G. Murphy and Alice J. Murphy, St. Johns, Michigan
      Originally published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.57, No.1, pg.12

      Our surface collections from 83 sites in six Piedmont counties yielded more than 6,000 artifacts (Murphy and Murphy 2009) but only two of those were fluted points. Lanceolate points with one or more flutes running longitudinally along the blade are usually considered to be diagnostic of the Paleo-Indian period: 11,500 — 10,000 B.P. The six Hardaway points we found may also date to the Paleo period, as suggested by some (e.g., Peck and Painter 1984), but our focus here is on the two fluted points we found in Durham and Chatham counties in the late 1960s. These points have not previously been reported.

      Fluted points are found widely throughout temperate North America and have been of special interest to archaeologists since at least 1927 when a fluted Folsom point was discovered in clear context with the bones of a now-extinct Pleistocene species of bison. They have become the hallmark of the Paleo-Indian period, for years considered to be the earliest period of human habitation in North America. However, the notion of pre-Paleo-Indian (or pre-projectile-point) cultures in North America goes back many years as well (e.g., Krieger 1962, 1964). Relatively recent findings from a small collection of stratified sites, such as Topper in South Carolina (see Meltzer 2009 for a review of the earliest sites), have provided what appears to be increasingly solid evidence in support of pre-Paleo-Indian theories. But the artifacts attributed to such cultures are not as distinctive or skillfully made as those left by Paleo-Indians. Hence, fluted points of various types, many of which hold enormous esthetic appeal because of their remarkable workmanship, remain as sought after as they are elusive.

      The two fluted points that we found were collected on different sites, about 40 km apart, and are different in both form and lithic material. The point in Figure 1-A, only the lower half of which remains, is what might be considered typical Clovis in form. Composed of clear (or crystal) quartz, the base is 28 mm in width and 8 mm in thickness. It has prominent fluting on one side, extending 19 mm up from the concave base, and a lesser flute on the reverse, extending 8 mm up from the base. About 20 mm of the edges of the basal hafting area have been dulled by grinding, typical of Clovis and other fluted points (Peck 1998). We found very few clear quartz projectile points of any type: less than 1% of the total. But the published literature clearly suggests that clear quartz was a lithic material admired by Paleo-Indians Peck (1998, 2003, 2004), for example, shows a number of clear-quartz Clovis or Clovis-like points, several of which are similar to the one in our Figure 1-A.

      The other fluted point (Figure 1-B ) is complete except for the basal auricles (or ears), both of which were partially broken in modern times. The breakage areas clearly show that the interior of the point is of a dark material, probably a form of rhyolite (see Ward and Davis 1999) whereas the patinated surface is cream to light tan in color. The patina of this point (measured at the break points as penetrating 0.2 - 0 3 mm into the surface of the point) is different in color and texture from all other points found at the same site and, in fact, different from virtually all other points in our collections from the east-Piedmont region. Relative to other points found on our sites, the flaking is more precise and delicate. The point is 49 mm in length, 20 mm in width, and 7 mm (max.) in thickness. On one side the fluting is prominent and extends 24 mm up from the base, about half the length of the blade. On the other side, there is flaking for about 10 mm up from the base. The blade edges near the hafting area of the base show only slight smoothing or grinding.

      The clear quartz point (Figure 1-A) was found in a plowed field near a small stream in Durham County, about 10 km from the city of Durham. A full spectrum of Archaic period point types were represented at the site, including (using the nomenclature of Coe 1964): Palmer, Kirk, Stanly, Morrow Mountain, Guilford, and Savannah River, as well as Rowan (Cooper 1970; Overstreet 2007) and miscellaneous others. Other sites within a 25 km distance, including some near the Eno River, produced Hardway side-notched and Hardaway-Dalton points, in addition to the other Archaic point types mentioned above.

      Click image for larger version

Name:	p11 [replaced].jpg
Views:	3940
Size:	59.7 KB
ID:	196412
      Figure 1.
      Two fluted points found on the surface of plowed fields, North Carolina (A) on the left, Durham County. (B ) on the right, Chatham County.

      The point in Figure 1-B was found in a plowed field in Chatham County, on a low ridge near the New Hope River, now nearly inundated as part of Lake Jordan Recreational Area. Other point types found on and immediately adjacent to that site included a Hardaway side-notched, as well as virtually all the other Archaic point types described by Coe (1964) for the Piedmont. At two other sites within 5 km, two additional Hardaway side-notched points were found. Excavations by Claggett and Cable (1982) in the vicinity of the nearby Haw River clearly documented a strong early Archaic element, with Hardaway, Kirk and other early Archaic points represented, but apparently produced no fluted points. The point in Figure 1-B is distinctive in appearance, both in form and workmanship — as well as in patina, from all other points in our collections. It is similar to small Clovis and "Clovis-like" points from the Southeast pictured in various publications (e.g., Peck 1998; Peck 2004; Ward and Davis 1999; Daniel 2006). The two fluted points reported here, and the many early Archaic points with which they were associated, further reinforce the fact that the landscape of Piedmont North Carolina has been continuously inhabited for a period of time stretching back 10,000 or more years.

      But the rarity of the earliest artifacts and their scattered occurrence is suggestive of sparse and mobile populations. McReynolds (2005) summarized the available data from various studies concerning the distribution of projectile points (by cultural period) in North Carolina. She refers to the studies of Daniel (1997, 2000, 2001) who showed that fluted points are known to occur in all three physiographic provinces of the state (i.e., Mountains, Piedmont, Coastal Plain) but are most concentrated in the eastern Piedmont, which would include the region of our sites. Peck (1998) reported that 643 fluted points were known to have been found in the state. Of those, nine were found in Durham County and eight in Chatham County, the counties in which we found the two reported here. The precise number of fluted points found state wide is not particularly relevant, and we can assume that many more have been collected over the years but never reported or documented — as, for example, the two that we report here for the first time. What is clear, however, is that fluted points from the Paleo-Indian period are exceedingly rare relative to other, later types, and that most occurrences of these points are as individual artifacts, rather than as assemblages as found at a very limited number of Paleo sites in the eastern United States (see Meltzer 2009). For that reason, we feel it is important to report isolated finds such as those in Figure 1. Over time, such reports will add to the data bank on some of the earliest humans in the Southeast and elsewhere, sharpening our understanding of their habitation, dispersion, and tool-making patterns.

      Used by permission of the publisher
      To learn more about or to join the Central States Archaeological Society, click here:
      I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who.


      • #4
        North Carolina Point Classification from Archaeological Collections
        The Classification of Projectile Points in Existing
        Archae. Collections from North Carolina
        PDF 444 pgs. - can be downloaded
        If the women don\'t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.