Yes, I’m A Stone Artifact Nerd

Was scrolling through my reader just now, and Science Daily is one of my reader mainstays. I saw this morning, an article about some very old, earliest known points in the states. They found these points, which date up to 16,000 years ago, at a site in Idaho, known as Coopers Ferry.

These points, if the timeline holds true, outdate the Clovis, which has until now, been widely accepted as the earliest point type in the U.S.

Well, color me interested. I am a walking encyclopedia on stone artifacts in the region where I live. I have been been a rock hunter ever since my first dive find umpteen years ago. Once you find one, it’s like Lay’s potato chips, you got to have more! I have found many in my diving days, and I still walk creeks and rivers hoping to find them. My wife is addicted too. She found her first whole point last year in a creek nearby, and oh my that woman will see the weather and say “hey honey it looks like we could go to the river.” Be still my heart. What a gal.

Anyway, the article I saw had no actual pics of the Coopers Ferry artifacts, so I did a Google search and found this.

That’s them.

Now I mentioned I’m a walking encyclopedia on stone artifacts in my region, and when I saw those I immediately says to myself, “those look a lot like an Adena.” The Adena is a common type here, they date back to around 4,000 years ago. I have come across many, many, Adenas, from whole points to barely identifiable pieces of points.

The Adena culture comes from an era known as the Woodland period. The Adena culture most likey evolved from an earlier point type, the Benton, named after the county I live in. The Benton evolved over time from an earlier type, and so on and so forth. So… it surprises me to see this point type, which is claimed to be 16,000 years old looks a lot like a type here in Tn. from 4,000 years ago.

These are Adena Points I cribbed from the net:

The Adena has a very wide range, and also has many sub types, all evolved from the early design. The range for Adena runs from Wisconsin and Michigan, south along the Missippi River, all the way along the southern Gulf states, and east to roughly the eastern Tn. River boundary. The Adena, and its variants can be found just about anywhere in this massive region. I’ve seen a lot of Adenas. I have found 2 that were 6″ long and perfect. A friend of mine found one 7″ long and also perfect. Probably thousands of Adenas found by divers here over the last 30-40 years. A common artifact. For us.

A sub Adena, known as a “Turkey Tail,” also has the general look of the Coopers Ferry points:

So, what’s my point? Well, mostly just that the Coopers Ferry points, at first glance, sure do look a LOT like the Adena, or it’s sub types. But, I’d have to get an up close, personal inspection to see how these Coopers Ferry points were made. There are more than a few flint knapping techniques, and the techniques generally changed with the times, as did the point types. You see more pressure flaking, generally, on earlier point types, (Paleo through Archaic time periods,) and mostly random percussion flaking on Woodland point types.

If you go back to the first image, the B, I, J, and K, illustrations, do show what appears to be pressure flaking. Look at the darker flake lines, then look inside those darker lines. You will see slight curved ripples inside the flake lines. This is indicative of pressure flaking. However the photos F, G, and H, there’s just not enough detail there to see any indication of pressure flaking. So, without holding one in my hand, so I can put eyeballs on the rock, I just can’t tell.

The one thing I can see though, is points G, and H, and to some degree C, and F, in that first pic, do have very fine serrations on the blade edges. Which it should be pointed out, is not common with the Adena.

So, in the end all I can do is point out the very close similarity of the Coopers Ferry points to the Adena and Adena sub type artifacts. Which is interesting, for a rock nerd, given the vast timeline discrepancy. Does that mean anything? No, not really. Designs that work…work. Things that go out of style come back eventually. And I’m no conspiracy theorist looking to make a case for something that may or may not be there.

A rock nerd is just going to rock nerd.

The site I cribbed the pics from:

EDIT: It would help if I’d noticed the first graphic is a comparison of the Coopers Ferry points to a Japanese point from the same timeline. While that too is interesting, it does not detract too much from what I’ve said, excpet for the fact that my dumb ass missed it! πŸ˜‰ The Coopers Ferry points are A, C, F, G and H. The others are Japanese origin. And, it is the Japanese points that bear the hallmarks of pressure flaking.

Nuther Edit: This is the Science Daily link, for anyone who wants more info. ie. Steve πŸ™‚


I just found a pic of several of the Coopers Ferry points. As I told Steve, if it weren’t for the fine serrations on the blade edges, these would likely be identified as Adena.

The link where I cribbed the last pic:


13 thoughts on “Yes, I’m A Stone Artifact Nerd

  1. Wow … I definitely leaned a few things from your post. Of course, I doubt I’ll ever use the information in casual conversation, but it was interesting to read about something I had NEVER heard about before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a rabbit hole. You find a rock, you investigate, ask questions from people who know, you learn. Then you find a rock that looks different from the other one. So you take off on a knowledge quest.

      Eventually you learn more than most average Joes who might know what an arrowhead is. It goes way deeper than that. Time periods, flaking styles, numerous point types and sub types. And many times there exists one point that doesn’t fit in a well known category and remains a mystery.

      I only know a handful of rock nerds like me that I can converse with lol. Other old divers like me, or collectors.

      Glad you enjoyed it!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Shell! Wow man! This is too cool! You are my all-time favorite caveman-Neanderthal!!! πŸ‘πŸ»


  3. Re “They found these points, which date up to 16,000 years ago, at a site in Idaho, known as Coopers Ferry.” Do you know how they dated the points? Was it they were found in strata with datable materials? Or below strata with datable materials?


    • I went back and looked, carbon dating was stated. I assume they dated fire remnants associated with the finds. But, that was not clearly stated. AFAIK you can’t carbon date rocks…

      I should also state for clarity that the drawn rocks in that first image are from Japan, and dated very close to the Coopers Ferry site. Hence the comparsion chart. Which I failed to realize at first.

      I put a new link at the bottom of the post which takes you to the SD story.

      I’m also adding a new pic I just found. I swear if it wasn’t for the fine serrations which Adena are NOT known for, these look a helluva lot like Adena.


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