Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies


 Leroy Irons

Central States Archaeological Societies 2001 April Journal

Gallatin, Tennessee


In the late 1950s or early 1960s, Mr. Carlean Jones was coon hunting near the Macon/Smith County line in middle Tennessee. One of Carlean's coonhounds had followed a coon into a small rock shelter and would not come out. The rock shelter was too small for Carlean to follow, so he reached in, in an effort to retrieve his dog. The dog was not there, but Carlean did feel a strange smooth object sticking straight up out of the rock shelter floor. When Carlean pulled the object out, he realized he had found some kind of Indian artifact. Carlean was not interested in Indian artifacts, but he knew the Waggoner family of Carthage, Tennessee, had a collection of Indian artifacts and sold the piece to them. Some 45 years later I acquired the piece from Jamie Waggoner of Carthage, Tennessee.

   The artifact Carlean found is a museum-quality ceremonial pick or adze. It is 11 1/16 inches long by 1 3/16 inches wide. The piece has very fine bits on each end, with one being 5/8 of an inch and the other 7/8 of an inch.

   Gregory Perino authenticated this piece for me but did not identify the material from which it was made. A number of people have examined the artifact, and the majority feel that it was made from diorite. Whatever the material actually is, it is a very fine middle Tennessee hardstone artifact.

   On a lighter note, I do not know if Carlean ever did get that coon or his dog back. But I am glad this coon chose that particular rock shelter to hide in.

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