Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies
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The Edgefield Scraper, An Early Man Tool

by J. Steven Beasley

Central States Archaeological Societies 2008 July Journal

Marietta, Georgia

The purpose, of this article is to report on seven previously, unreported, Edgefield Scrapers and to provide the geographic distribution and age of these, unique, tools. Michie (1968) was the first to report on this tool type.1 At first glance, this artifact appears to be a broken side, notched point with the blade edge re-worked into a scraper. Michie (1968) (1972 p. 85) describes this artifact as a large, side notched tool that is typically uniface, with a working edge that is at a 45 degree angle to the medial axis.2 The primary blade is on the left and the secondary blade is on the right side of the ventral face. The base can be straight, concave, or convex with the notches and basal edge ground. Most examples are manufactured from a large, thick, prismatic flake and the evidence of the flake still exists in some specimens. Michie states this tool “is the product of intentional manufacture.”

This artifact type is uncommon, even in its core area of distribution. The geographic distribution of this artifact is typically thought to lie within the coastal plains of the Tri-state area of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The northern boundary is the Santee River, in South Carolina. The western limit is central Georgia and the southern boundary is Tampa, Florida.4 Examples can be found in the western South Carolina piedmont and eastern Georgia piedmont,5 and decrease, in occurrence, as you move north. The author is aware of a single example being found in Cobb County, Georgia (just northwest of Atlanta). Another single example is reported from Ball Ground, Cherokee County, Georgia, by Jerald Ledbetter, 1986.

Goodyear (et al. 1980) reports the Edge-field dates to the Early Archaic time period 8000 to 7000 BC. He notes a similar tool form, the Albany scraper, also occupied an early position; it was first reported by ClarenceWebb in 1946 from a site in NE Louisiana. Goodyear goes on to report, that Michie, Bullen and Purdy note that Edgefield’s have identical haft elements to Big Sandy, Taylor and Bolen points.8 One Edgefield Scraper is reported to be found in the lowest six inch level at the Theriault Site on Brier Creek. (Brockington 1971) The lowest level is mixed but the associated types include Clovis, Dalton, Taylor and Kirk. Clearly, the Early Archaic age is deserved.9 Edgefield scrapers are reported in the Kirk component at the G.S. Lewis-East site on the Savannah River (Aiken County, South Carolina). The absence of a side notched component indicates that Edgefields are also a component of the Kirk tool kit.

In conclusion, current evidence indicates the Edgefield Scraper is an Early Archaic tool form dating from 8000 to 7500 BC, and is part of the Bolen, Taylor and Kirk tool kits. Its antiquity is inferred by its form, and association with side and corner notched artifacts, at several sites, Taylor, Theriault, and E. G. Lewis-East, previously mentioned above.

The Edgefields pictured in this article are from 2 sites in Houston Co, Ga. and all are personal finds of Mark Oliver and the author over the last 2 years. The largest in the two photos is four inches long.


1 1968 Michie, James L., p.30-31
2 Ibid 1968 and 1972 Michie, James L., p. 85
3 Ibid p. 85
41980 Goodyear, et. al p. 3
5 Ibid p.4
6 1986 Ledbetter and Smith
7 1980 Goodyear p. 3
8 Ibid p. 3
9 1971 Brockington, Paul E., p. 23-46
10 2002 Sassaman Kenneth E., et. al p. 62

Brockington, Paul E.,
1971 A preliminary investigation of a early knapping site in Southeastern Georgia. The Notebook, Vol. 3, No 2 Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia.

Goodyear, Albert C., III, J.L. Michie, and B.A. Purdy 1980 The Edgefield Scraper: A Distributional Study of an Early Archaic Stone tool from the Southeastern U.S. Paper presented at the annual Southeastern Archaeological Conference, New Orleans, LA.

Ledbetter, Jerald and Smith, Charlotte A.,
1986 Laffingal Clearcut Survey, Cherokee Co., GA,
UGA Manuscript No., 350.

Michie, James L.,
1968 The Edgefield Scraper.
The Chesopiean 6:30-31
1972 The Edgefield Scraper: A Tool of Inferred Antiquity and Use.
South Carolina Antiquities Vol. 4

Sassaman Kenneth E., Daniel, Randolph I., Jr., and Moore Christopher R., 2002 G. S. Lewis-East: Early and Late Archaic Occupations along the Savannah River, Aiken County South Carolina, Savannah River Archaeological Research Papers

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