Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies

LET'S TALK ABOUT THE
BARNES FLUTED POINT TYPE

Gary L. Fogelman
Editor-in-Chief, Indian Artifact Magazine
Turbotville,Pennsylvania

 

Photo 1: Barnes Fluted points from the collection of Ronald Van Heukelom. Photo by Bruce Filbrandt

This article is in response to an article that appeared in Vol.46, No.4, October, 1999, issue of the Central States Archaeological Journal. Last year I received the same article for publication. Along with the article was the photograph featured above used to serve as examples for the Barnes fluted point. I am somewhat familiar with the Barnes Fluted type, having decided many years ago to focus on fluted point types. I have researched and sought out all I could find on Paleo points and variations in Pennsylvania and the Northeastern United States. I've garnered as many as I could over the years (200 in Pennsylvania and 30-40 from surrounding states), and have photographed and handled twice or thrice as many.

As I looked at that photograph, I wondered what made these Barnes points? Barnes points are, in effect, Cumberland points, and with the exception of the middle specimen in the bottom row, none of these came close. What I saw represented was a rather broad and flat Clovis form.

I wrote back and asked the author how he came to consider these Barnes Fluted points, and his response was that he sent these out to an authenticator, who pronounced them all the Barnes type. I mused that not too many years ago no one knew what a Barnes Fluted point was, and now they're everywhere and taking many forms.

The purpose of this article is not to disparage anyone; people are free to see things in different ways. The purpose is to try to clarify whether Barnes and Cumberland points are different enough to warrant separate names and also to begin a dialogue on the issue for anyone who wants to jump in. From what I can glean from various

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sources, the answer to the above question is that they are not.

Gramly (1997) makes no distinction and lumps the two together. Justice (1987) has them in his Cumberland Cluster and says that according to Roosa's analysis, the only difference is that of size, the Barnes point being, overall, smaller.

Perino (1985) has Cumberland dispersion in Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and southern Ohio and does not mention the Barnes. In 1991 in his Vol.11, he has Barnes dispersed in Canada, Michigan, Illinois (where it is commonly called the Illinois Folsom) and northeast Arkansas (where it is called the Sedgewick). Justice (ibid.) has the Cumberland Cluster in all states east of the Mississippi.

Here is a description of Barnes points taken from those found at the Fisher Site (Storck, 1997). "These are diagnostic of the Parkhill Complex. Small to medium sized points usually with a distinct narrowing (waist) between the base and mid-point (which is the widest point), pronounced ears and 'fish tailed' appearance. Occasionally guide flutes were used before the main flute(s) was struck, and the flutes are thin and long relative to the point length. The basal concavity is moderately deep with use of a basal nipple (Folsom style) to flute. Sometimes the ears are off and the base presents a squared appearance. Base and base edges are ground after post fluting retouch."

Now is there anything here that doesn't sound Cumberland? Illustrated (Figure 1) are tracings of Barnes points from the Thetford II site, a Parkhill Complex site in Ontario.

Observations From Pennsylvania

Photo 1 is offered as a comparison between

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