Central States Archaeological Societies
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A Smith Finds a Smith

Tim Smith

Central States Archaeological Societies 2004 July Journal

Gardner, Illinois

I have hunted Indian artifacts for over fifty years in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio. My work as a heavy equipment operator brought me to many locations during the construction of bridges, highways, and other major construction sites. I have found many Indian artifacts while at work, but this artifact was not found at a construction site. I found it while I was turkey hunting in Taney County, Missouri, in 1979. The turkeys just were not there; and since there was a plowed field nearby, I decided to hunt for Indian artifacts instead and came upon a beautiful five-inch-long Smith Basal Notch point. It is probably the finest flint artifact I have ever found. It was crafted from a white-cream, goldenbrown flint.

I sent a photograph to our editor, Mr. Crowley, along with a 138-word article. John quickly responded and said that 138 words presented a layout problem. He explained in his kind letter that it takes about 50 words to fill one inch of typed space and that in order to publish this artifact with an article, he would need at least 500 words. He offered to print the photograph with a caption using my words.A Smith Finds a Smith

I called John and explained to him that I was not a writer and asked for his help. He graciously offered this advice, "Tim, you know where this artifact was found. You obviously know what type point it is. You know how old it is. Do you have any reference books? Use that information and make your article better and more informative. Cite your books, tell us who named the point, where Smith points were originally found. Remember, one of the goals of the Central States Archaeological Journal is to document artifacts. Another goal is to educate our members. With a little effort, you can make this offering an important contribution to the journal."

Well, I got out my books, and here is what they say. The Smith Basal Notch type was named for the Smith site in Delaware County, Oklahoma, by Baerreis and Freeman in 1960. It is found throughout Missouri and occurs in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas and occasionally in bordering states. It dates to the Late Archaic period, or about 3000-1000 BC. It is described as being a medium to large basal-notched point. The blade edges are usually convex, but some may be straight. The point has very large flake scars made by percussion. Some examples have been modified by resharpening and can have smaller flake scars. It is usually one and one-fourth to two times as long as it is wide. Its greatest width is at the barbs, which may extend almost even with the sides of the base. The sides of the stem and the base are straight and are sometimes slightly ground.

There you have it - my first complete article for the CSAJ. I hope everyone will enjoy my point and article. I am very proud to bring it to you and to be a part of the finest archaeology publication there is. I would also like to thank John Crowley, for his help, and my friend, Bruce Filbrandt, for taking the excellent photograph. Good luck hunting.

Baerreis, D.A. and J.E. Freeman

1960 A Report on a Bluff Shelter in Northwest Oklahoma (D1-47). Archives in Archaeology, No. 1.

Chapman, Carl H.

1975 The Archaeology of Missouri. University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Missouri. Pg. 256.