Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies

Lets Talk About the Barnes Fluted Point Type

 

Cumberland and the Northumberland

Fluted Knife (NFK) Form

Several years ago Jack Hranicky and I named and described the NFK form (Hranicky, 1994) from specimens I had in Pennsylvania and a couple specimens he had located in Virginia. T can see more of a likeness between these and the Cumberland points. Perhaps there is a relationship, yet until recently the NFK form had not been noted in the Cumberland home area of Tennessee/Kentucky or north into Michigan and Canada. Jack recently obtained what is probably an NFK from the Nashville, Tennessee, area. Recently I obtained a much battered and abused specimen from central New York, which extends the type into those areas. Previous to these two, specimens were known only from Virginia (2), New Jersey (1) and Pennsylvania (approx. 15-20) (Photos 4 and 5).

The NFK is quite distinctive because of the full length flute(s) on one face and fine parallel flaking on the other face, which only occasionally has a minor flute. We believe them to be knives, as on several specimens the flute ended in an overshot termination which removed the point, which then was not reworked. Edges are often much used. The base is often angled as if to flute the second face and left that way. Basal or edge grinding is, however, not usually done. The question I tried to answer is: are these NFK's simply unfinished Cumberlands? I feel not. In the first place, Cumberlands, as noted, are on the scarce side among the fluted point types of the area. In fact, the NFKs are as numerous as, if not more so, than good Cumberland examples. Secondly, the thick cross section of the Cumberland is not present on NFKs, which are broader and flatter. It appears to me that attempting a flute on the unfluted face was unnecessary or too risky. Third, either the form has gone unreported in other areas, or the bulk of NFKs are indeed in Pennsylvania, eastern Pennsylvania to be precise, and are made from cherts local to that area jaspers, black cherts). Only two of those shown are outside of that area. So far I have to think these are an eastern Pennsylvania invention, but I'd like to hear from anyone who has an NFK and also from any one who has opinions on the NFK and Cumberland and any possible relationship between them.

This examination of the Barnes point wasn't intended to be so lengthy, but it seemed appropriate to examine as many aspects as possible of the Cumberland 'Barnes situation. It also seems an appropriate time to introduce the NFK into the mix to raise questions and seek more input on all of these issues. I can be contacted at 245 Fairview Rd., Turbotville, Pennsylvania, 17772-9599E

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

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Fogelman, Gary L.
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Gramly, R. M.
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Hranicky Wm. Jack
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