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  • Mid-Atlantic Sites & Cultures (General)

    The Baucom Hardaway Site Project

    A Stratified Deposit In Union County, North Carolina

    This report covers a stratified multi-component Indian site in which recovered artifacts date from the Paleo-Indian, Archaic and Woodland Periods. A portion of the site was excavated by members of the Piedmont Archaeological Society of North and South Carolina during the years 1979-1982. This preliminary report covers site location, projectile point types, tools, preforms, site history and Carbon 14 dates. It is our hope that further work can be done on the site by professionals better equipped with funds, time and technology. A large portion of the site has been set aside for such future excavations and studies.
    Rhode Island

  • #2
    Mysteries of the Archaic's Guilford People
    Peter G. Murphy and Alice J. Murphy, St. Johns, Michigan
    Originally published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.57, No.2, pg.84

    Ever since a Southeastern assemblage of prehistoric stone tools known as the Guilford Focus was described in the published literature some 60 years ago, there has been confusion about who the people who made those tools were. We will call them the Guilford People. Joffre L. Coe, the preeminent archaeologist who spent more than 50 years of his long career excavating and deciphering North Carolina's archaeological record, first identified the recurring Guilford stone tool assemblage in the 1940s. Initially, however, the assemblage was defined based largely on surface collections which, we now know, actually contained a mixture of different stone tool traditions or "cultures". Consequently, Morrow Mountain and other artifacts were included as part of the Guilford Focus (Coe 1949, 1952). Ward (1983) has referred to more recent misguided assemblages of this sort as "archaeological Frankensteins". Not until Coe (1964) found Guilford artifacts in stratigraphic context did their true physical characteristics - and chronological fit relative to other traditions - become more clear. Further, Coe's research revealed that the Guilford People were hunter-gatherers who had camps and habitation sites on ridges and knolls throughout the North Carolina Piedmont and adjacent regions some 6,000 years ago, in an era known as Middle Archaic (8,000-5,000 B.P.). Before considering the intriguing mysteries that remain about this culture, a review of what is known about the Guilford Focus is in order.

    Typical Guilford points (Figure 1) are lanceolate in form and are most commonly 50-120 mm in length and 20-35 mm in width (Coe 1964). They tend to be thick, lenticular or diamond-shaped in cross section, with a base that can be either concave (56 percent), convex (29 percent), or straight (15 percent). Most often Guilford points are made from rhyolite, andesite, quartz, quartzite and varieties of Carolina slate, materials that are thought to have limited the fineness of the knapper 's workmanship. In spite of their considerable age, the distinctive projectile points and chipped stone axes (Figure 2) left by the Guilford People are among the more common Archaic artifacts to be found throughout the Carolina Piedmont. They are often collected on the surface of agricultural fields and other sites where erosion or other soil disturbance has left them exposed (Murphy and Murphy 2009). But when the artifacts are found in situ, in undisturbed stratified soil profiles of archaeological excavations, they usually occur at depths of 1.0 to 1.7 meters (Coe 1964). At one site they were found as deep as 4 meters (Coe 1952) — making it easier to appreciate their true antiquity. It was the charcoal found in association with hearths in the Halifax soil stratum, just above the Guilford stratum, at Coe's Gaston site excavations on the Roanoke River in northern North Carolina that enabled Guilford points to be radiocarbon dated to at least 6,000 B.P. Although the Guilford stratum showed evidence of hearths, there was insufficient charcoal for dating the Guilford artifacts directly.

    Guilford artifacts occur commonly within a relatively limited geographic region. They are found in greatest numbers in the Carolinas, particularly that region between the low-lying coastal plain to the east and the Appalachian Mountains to the west known as the Piedmont. Indeed, the name Guilford is derived from the North Carolina Piedmont county by that name.

    At top: Figure 1. Four main types of Guilford projectile points or knives. (point on left is 2 inches in length) Left to right: concave base, convex base, straight base, weak shoulders and rudimentary stem. Found in Orange County (on extreme left) and Chatham County (the other three), North Carolina.

    Their relative commonness and simple geometry keep Guilford points from being among the most valued or sought-after by collectors. But in the far more important context of archaeological value, Guilford points are very interesting indeed because of the questions they raise. From where did the Guilford people come and with what other regions, if any, do they appear to have an affinity based on similarity of artifacts? Why do the lanceolate points differ so fundamentally from both earlier and later points in the Carolina Piedmont?

    Did the Guilford people eventually die out or move to a different region some 5,000-6,000 years ago, or did they transform into a later cultural group? We will likely never have definitive answers to these questions but we can at least consider the clues left by the artifacts.

    From where did the Guilford People come? If the Guilford tradition developed in place from an earlier Southeastern culture, such as Morrow Mountain which first appears just below Guilford stratigraphically, we might expect a transition or overlapping in the occurrence and characteristics of the respective artifacts. And, in fact, what Coe (1964) found at excavated sites such as Doerschuk in North Carolina's Yadkin River Basin is that although Morrow Mountain Types I and II were both represented in lower (earlier) strata than was Guilford, both Morrow Mountain types were also found in the strata containing Guilford points. Although both Morrow Mountain types were found at the Hardaway site in stratified context, the two types commingled and it was less clear that Type-I was in fact older than Type-II. At the Gaston Site near the border with Virginia, Guilford points were the earliest found. Both Morrow Mountain types were entirely absent in the excavations but they do occur in surface collections from the local area (Murphy and Murphy 2009).

    Although typical Morrow Mountain points are quite different in form from typical Guilford points, it is perhaps the atypical examples that are of most interest when it comes to looking for possible developmental relationships and trends. When one arrays the points found on the surface at sites containing both Morrow Mountain and Guilford, without preconceived (subjective) notions of their defining characteristic, forms that could be construed as transitional are not uncommon especially when the sample is relatively large. Such an array — but with only five points represented for illustrative purposes — can be seen in Figure 3.

    In this figure, the point at the left represents a Morrow Mountain Type-II. The stylistic changes that would be required to transform the point into a Guilford, like the two to the immediate right of the Morrow Mountain, would not be great. In addition to some resemblance in form, the chipping technique, stone type, and even patina are similar. In analyzing the projectile points from the Lowder's Ferry site, Drye (1998) commented on the similarity of some Morrow Mountain Type-II points to Guilfords with convex or rounded bases. To consider that there may be some relationship between the Morrow Mountain and Guilford points does not require a great deal of imagination. It is notable that 71 percent of all sites on which we found Guilford artifacts also yielded Morrow Mountain points. The points to the extreme right in Figure 3 will be discussed below in the context of possible later Guilford developments.

    Above: Figure 3. Five Middle to Late Archaic point types demonstrating possible developmental relationships. From left to right: Morrow Mountain Type-II (early phase of Middle Archaic), Guilford convex base (middle phase of Middle Archaic), Guilford with weak shoulders and rudimentary stem (middle phase of Middle Archaic), possible Guilford-Savannah River transitional type (late phase of Middle Archaic or Late Archaic), Savannah River (Late Archaic). The Morrow Mountain point is from Durham County; the others are from Chatham County, North Carolina. The point in the middle is 2 1/2 inches in length.

    Guilford points do differ more distinctly from other, earlier, Piedmont point types predating Morrow Mountain. Most of the Early Archaic points differ significantly in having some design feature to facilitate hafting on a spear shaft or knife handle. The earlier points may have notches, or a stem, or even fluting, all of which would make it easier to secure the point to a shaft or handle. Guilford points considered most typical of the type have none of that. In fact, Claggett and Cable (1982) pointed out that Guilford points interrupt the Archaic development trend from notched to stemmed points and even described Guilford points as enigmatic. The thickness of Guilford-point blade and base must have required a relatively stout shaft. Presumably, the points were secured with sinew and according to Coe (1964) about a third of the points show grinding at the base and along the lower third of the blade edges in the hafting area. Whereas one can imagine that a concave base would confer some hafting stability, it is harder to understand why many of the Guilford points (29 percent of the 342 Guilford points in our collec*tion) had convex (or rounded) bases unless the points were placed into a socket of some sort in the end of the spear shaft or knife handle. The same question would apply to most Morrow Mountain points which tend to have a relatively short, rounded stem. All considered, the fundamental differences in point design, as well as stratigraphic separation in the excavations of Coe (1964), argue against a direct relationship of Guilford to earlier Piedmont point traditions except for the immediate predecessor, Morrow Mountain, which did indeed co-occur stratigraphically with Guilford.

    In his classic monograph, The Formative Cultures of the Carolina Piedmont, Coe (1964) arranged approximately 16 cultural groups (or projectile point traditions) along a temporal gradient spanning some 10,000 years. The factors that caused the sequential displacement or transformation of each of the cultures are unknown. Undoubtedly there was actually a complex of factors that varied over time. Around 7,000 B.P. Conditions became several degrees warmer and, especially on sandy sites, drier. This caused oak-hickory to be replaced by oak-pine, but extensive swamps also developed along some river systems, It was during this span of time that the Early Archaic Kirk and Middle Archaic Stanly traditions were apparently replaced by Morrow Mountain and, at some point prior to 6,000 B.P., by Guilford. By 6,000 B.P. (Guilford times). Certainly environmental swings caused responsive shifts in the distribution and abundance of key food-source wildlife and plant species. Such shifts may in turn have required different hunting techniques and tools, and various changes in life style as well, forcing adaptation and cultural changes. Morrow Mountain may possibly have been the precursor of Guilford, or perhaps Morrow Mountain and Guilford converged as the two cultures commingled. But if in fact the rather distinctive lanceolate points of Guilford represent influences from an entirely different geographic region, if they were an "intrusive" tradition as suggested by Phelps (1964, 1983) and Oliver (1985), what was that region from which they came?

    In the 1950s, Guilford points were thought by at least one prominent archaeologist (Griffin 1952) to be Late Paleo-Indian in age and directly related to early cultures in the Southwestern and West Coast areas known as Gypsum Cave and Pinto Basin. We now know that Guilford points are about 5,000-6,000 years younger than Griffin had believed. Guilford affinities with other cultural groups in other regions remain unclear. Coe (1964) mentions that Guilford points have been described as being similar to Eden, Angostura and other western forms but "without a great deal of satisfaction" due, in part, to fundamental differences in chipping technique. Robert Overstreet in his identification guide, lists various points (as many as 10 or more) with similarities to Guilford. All the various similarities in point form are interesting but of course not necessarily indicative of true cultural relationships. Most of the similarities are in overall form — not in the details of chipping technique. And even the form similarities are relatively superficial. Only further evidence gathered from controlled excavations is likely to point with some authority toward the most likely source of the influences that molded the characteristics of Guilford stone tools if, in fact, they did not arise predominately from a preexisting Piedmont culture, such as Morrow Mountain.

    Consistent with earlier comments about the Guilford culture being widespread in the Piedmont, about 69 percent of our 83 North Carolina Piedmont sites (Murphy and Murphy 2009) had some evidence of Guilford occupation. Guilford points were among the most common we found: 27 percent of the 1,279 identifiable points of about 20 types collected; 58 percent of the 585 that were of the Middle Archaic Period.

    Finally, we ask, what became of the Guilford people at some point after 6,000 B.P. when their characteristic artifacts no longer appear in the archaeological record? Did they disappear from the Southeastern landscape, perhaps out-competed or forcefully run off by a later culture? We are unaware of any evidence to suggest that the Guilford People moved to a different region. They may have been eliminated in-place by a later culture but based on trends in projectile point characteristics we feel it is also possible that they were absorbed by, or transformed into, a Late Archaic culture, such as Savannah River (roughly 5,000 — 2,000 B.P. according to Coe 1964).

    Coe (1964) pointed out that there did indeed appear to be developmental relationships among some Archaic cultures of the Piedmont. We feel that the question posed by Purrington (1983), "Is Guilford basically a continuation of the Morrow Mountain way of life?" is one well worth considering. And we would also ask, what are the origins of Morrow Mountain? Is that tradition, like Guilford intrusive? We believe that the chain of traditions or cultures that Joffre L. Coe described back in 1964 for the Carolina Piedmont largely reflects a sequence of cultural modifications in response to innumerable environmental and social pressures, rather than the sequential arrival and departure of entirely different cultural traditions.

    What was it that caused a people whom we have chosen to call Guilford to use such distinctive lanceolate projectile points over a substantial period of time — choosing to ignore the notches and stems and flutes of earlier cultures? Was there a reason based on the prey being hunted, or on social influences, or on ease of tool manufacture, or was it simply the style of some other group who found their way into the Southeast? And in what ways were the Guilford people influenced by their Morrow Mountain predecessors, and ultimately by their Savannah River successors? To what extent may they have been a force in altering those other cultures? It is mysteries such as these that help to bring to life the people behind the artifacts. The lanceolate-point makers of the Middle Archaic never could have imagined that more than six thousand years beyond their days the latest residents of their camp sites and hunting grounds would be thinking about them - and referring to them as "Guilford People". How sad it is that we will never know how they actually referred to themselves. Just one more mystery.

    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

      From Wikipedia

      If the women don\'t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.


      • #4
        Some Woodland Period Sites of North Carolina's Piedmont
        Peter G. Murphy and Alice J. Murphy, St. Johns, Michigan
        Originally published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.57, No.3, pg.138

        The cultural traits that are most often cited as distinguishing the Woodland period from the earlier Archaic are threefold and include: the advent of pottery making; a shift to sedentary or semi-sedentary habitation centers; and the culture of useful plants (or horticulture). At some point during the Woodland period the bow and arrow became part of the tool kit although there is evidence suggesting that use of the atlatl and bow and arrow overlapped during the first half of the Woodland. The Woodland period in North Carolina's Piedmont, generally regarded as spanning about 2,600 years, has commonly been divided into three sub-periods: Early, 1000 B.C. — A.D. 200; Middle, A.D. 200 —800; and Late, A.D. 800 - 1600 (Ward and Davis 1999). Coe (1964) labeled the transition from Late Archaic to Early Woodland in the Piedmont as a cultural discontinuity. To this day it remains unclear whether there was a developmental relationship between the Late-Archaic Savannah River people who made large, stemmed spear points and knives, and the Woodland cultures that followed, characterized by their smaller, predominately triangular points. However, some recent evidence is thought to suggest a transitional period between Archaic and Woodland culture groups, rather than cultural disruptions caused by migrations of entirely new groups into the Piedmont.

        Over the past 80 years, largely beginning with the pioneering work of Joffre Coe during the 1930s, much information has been collected concerning North Carolina's archaeology, including the Woodland period. Of special note is the partially restored Late Woodland (Pee Dee) mound site in Montgomery County, known as Town Creek (Coe 1995), and the large artifact assemblages uncovered during its excavation. Woodland artifacts have been found throughout the Piedmont but true understanding of the variety of cultures that existed during the Woodland era is very limited. Nevertheless, more than a dozen Woodland culture groups, defined by artifact assemblages, have thus far been recognized. Among these are: Badin, Vincent, Yadkin, Roanoke, Clements, and Uwharrie which are considered to be prehistoric, and Pee Dee, Caraway, Gaston, Hillsboro, Clarksville, and Randolph, which are considered to be Proto-Historic or Historic. There are also many sub-types. Coe (1964, 1995) and Ward and Davis (1999) provide more detail on these archaeological phases or culture groups and the artifacts that serve as their indicators.

        In the late 1960s, we made surface collections from 83 sites in six Piedmont counties (Murphy and Murphy 2009, 2010a, 2010b). Of those sites, 66 yielded projectile points that could readily be classified according to the types defined by Coe (1964, 1995). Of the 66 sites, 26 produced points ranging from Early to Late Woodland. But only at six sites, in four different counties, were Woodland points found in numbers that we considered relatively abundant compared to numbers of Archaic points found. The two most productive Woodland sites were in Durham County (69 points) and Orange County (39 points). Most of the Woodland points were triangular, commonly made from a type of Carolina slate or white quartz. Later points were more variable, ranging from small triangular to crudely made and often asymmetrical, weakly stemmed, types.

        Along with the points, we found other artifacts typical of the Woodland period. These included clay potsherds that were: plain, cord-marked, fabric-marked, or net-impressed, some with decorated rims. Several small polished or partially polished celt fragments were also found, along with drills and scrapers. No aboriginal pipes, bone or shell artifacts, or beads were found at our sites. Occasional evidence of early European influences were found, such as white clay pipe stems.

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        Figure 1 Above: Representative types of Woodland period points found in the North Carolina Piedmont. Top row, left to right: Pee Dee serrated triangular (ca. A.D. 1500-1600), Pee Dee pentagonal (ca. A.D. 1500-1600), Clarksville small triangular (ca. A.D. 1500-1750), Hillsboro triangular "petite" form (ca. A.D. 1700), Randolph stemmed (ca. A.D. 1550-1830); Bottom row, left to right: Caraway triangular (ca. A.D. 1000-1750), Yadkin triangular (ca. 290 B.C. —A.D. 1200), Badin crude triangular (ca. 500 B.C. — A.D. 500), Roanoke large triangular (ca. A.D. 500-1200), typical drill of the Woodland period. Nomenclature and age estimates based primarily on Coe (1964, 1995). Longest point measures 2 inches.

        The Durham County site, located about 17 km from the city of Durham, produced a total of 73 projectile points, 69 of which were of the Woodland period. The basal end of a polished stone celt was also found. The earliest Woodland points were of the Badin type (ca. 500 B.C. — A.D. 500) and the latest were Randolph (ca. A.D. 1550 — 1830.). Of the 67 triangular points, most of which were similar to the Caraway type, 19 percent were white quartz; the remainder were primarily of a type of Carolina slate. Typical examples of these and the other Woodland points found at Piedmont sites are shown in Figure 1. The small number (4) of Archaic points included Early-Archaic Palmer and Middle-Archaic Morrow Mountain. No evidence of Late-Archaic Savannah River points were found at this site.

        The Orange County site, located about 3 km from downtown Chapel Hill, produced 50 points in total, 39 of which were Woodland. Only one point (an unusual Randolph) was white quartz, the remainder being a form of Carolina slate. As with the Durham County site, the earliest Woodland points were Badin type and the most recent Randolph (Figure 1). Intermediate Woodland types included Caraway triangular and Pee Dee pentagonal. This interesting site appears to have been occupied up to quite recent times — as evidenced by the 22 crudely made Randolph points, far more than at any of the other 66 Piedmont sites included in this survey. Net-impressed and other potsherds were also found. Evidence of earlier occupation was present in the form of Stanly, Kirk, Rowan, Morrow Mountain, Guilford and Savannah River points representative of the Archaic period.

        Considering that the Archaic period spanned about 9,000 years whereas the Woodland spanned only about 2,600, it is not surprising that Woodland artifacts at most Piedmont sites are far less abundant than those of the Archaic, or entirely absent. Furthermore, the relatively small number of Early Woodland sites in comparison to those of the Late Archaic has suggested to some that the Piedmont was not a favorite place to live during the Early Woodland and that population densities seem to have been relatively low (Ward and Davis 1999). At the 66 sites, only 17 percent of the 1,279 projectile points found were Woodland. The remainder were Archaic or Paleo. It is also possible that during the Woodland period, especially when horticultural practices became more widespread, Indians were living in more "urban" clusters. Only in the southern fringe of the Piedmont, and in a portion of the mountains in the western part of the state, has any firm evidence of the Mississippian culture been found in North Carolina (Ward and Davis 1999), none of which occurred in the total of 83 sites we documented in the central Piedmont.

        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.


        • #5
          The Carolina Piedmont during the Woodland Period
          Ron L. Harris, Hickory, North Carolina
          Originally published in the Central States Archaeological Journal, Vol.57, No.3, pg.120

          Click image for larger version

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          Above: Figure 1. Woodland clay pipe 2 1/2 inches in length, Catawba County, North Carolina

          The Woodland Period in the Carolina Piedmont begun about 1000 BC and ended sometime around AD 1200 according to archaeological research. During this period of prehistory, the Woodland culture was more settled in their way of life as compared to the earlier Archaic and Paleo people. Although they continued to "hunt & gather", these Woodland people had a tendency to settle in larger, semi-permanent villages along stream valleys, where soil was suitable for planting and harvesting practices.

          Behavior that distinguishes the Archaic Period from the Woodland includes burying of the dead with rituals, the use of smoking pipes (see Figure 1.), and greater complexity of populations and society. However, the most distinguishable artifact that separates the Archaic from the Woodland Period is pottery (ceramic vessels) that first began to appear on Woodland sites (see Figure 2.). These vessels were used for the preparation and storage of foods the Indians had gathered by hunting, fishing and crop cultivation. Woodland people grew corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and tobacco.

          It was during this period that the bow and arrow was first introduced into the Carolina Piedmont. Small triangular arrow points, suitable in terms of size and weight for attachment to arrow shafts, were recovered for the first time on Woodland sites and presents evidence as to the initial use of the bow and arrow, which replaced the atlatl tool technology during this period.

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          Left: Figure 2. Woodland fabric wrapped vessel, Yadkin County, North Carolina Right: Figure 3. 3A Grooved Axe - Early Carolina Woodland

          Diagnostic projectile point types for the Woodland Period in the Piedmont include; Badin, Yadkin, Pee Dee, Uwharrie and Caraway. These are the first "true" arrowheads. Three-quarter grooved stone axes (see Figure 3.) and celts (see Figure 4.) came into use during this period, replacing the earlier full-groove axes of the Archaic Period. These axes or celts (groove less axes) were generally used for woodworking and tree clearing. Woodland cultures dominated most of the Carolinas well into the Historic Period.

          There is some indication that a few cultural elements of the late Woodland people adopted religious and political ideas from a fourth major prehistoric tradition that is called "Mississippian." Archaeologists recognize certain patterns of artifacts, settlement plans and economics that distinguish Mississippian Indian culture from the earlier and perhaps contemporary Woodland occupations. The Mississippian association is the Pee Dee In*dians who constructed and occupied the major regional mound center at Town Creek (Montgomery County, N.C.) and the ancestral Cherokee groups of the western North Carolina mountains. Other than these exceptions, the Mississippian culture or way of life was not a major consideration in the N.C. Piedmont.

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          Above: Figure 4. Late Woodland Celts (groove-less axes)

          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.