Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies
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A Brief Note on the Texas Early Triangle Type

by BMalcolm T. McLaughlin,

Central States Archaeological Societies 2012 July Journal

Aurora, Colorado


The Texas Early Triangle is an artifact type found predominantly in Central Texas and also occasionally in West Texas. These artifacts are dated to approximately 5700 years ago, placing them near the transition from the Early Archaic period to the Middle Archaic period in Central Texas. The Early Triangle type is described by Ellen S. Turner and Thomas R. Hester in A Field Guide to Stone Artifacts of Texas Indians. Early Triangles do not have stems or notches for hafting to an atl-atl foreshaft, suggesting they were probably used as knives or cutting tools.

Early Triangles are fascinating artifacts, because they display traits that are considered highly desirable by many collectors. Specifically, most Early Triangles have a distinctive combination of basal fluting or thinning, steep bevel blade resharpening, and prominent serrations that appear along the blade edge throughout the life of the artifact. These characteristics are considered desirable by many collectors because they reflect techniques applied in the construction of projectile points from the Paleo and Early Archaic periods, and also because they provide great visual appeal.

Twelve Early Triangles were reviewed for this Note, eleven of the examples were found in Coryell, Hamilton and Bell Counties in Central Texas, and one example was found in West Texas. The studied examples vary in length from 52mm to 100mm, but have remarkably consistent basal widths between 33 and 38mm. This suggests that Early Triangles are often constructed with initial lengthto- width ratios of around 3:1. Over time, several of the examples were resharpened until they reached lengthto- width ratios of less than 2:1, creating steep bevels on the blade edges.

Early Triangles display two curious traits related to the resharpening process. First, the type can be separated into sub-groups, one representing resharpened examples with truly triangular blades (Figure 1) and the other representing examples with recurved blades (Figure 2). Most examples in both categories display basal fluting or thinning and prominent serrations. Second, the process of bevel resharpening is inconsistent across examples. Some are beveled on the right side of the blade, while others are beveled on the left side of the blade; some are even beveled on both sides of the blade. These traits highlight significant diversity within the point type.

Turner, Ellen S., and Hester, Thomas R.
1993. A Field Guide to Stone Artifacts of Texas Indians, Gulf Publishing
Perttula, Timothy K.
2004. The Pre-History of Texas, Texas A&M University Publishing
At top: Figure 1.Early triangles with triangular blades