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: