Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies
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GPS plus Three Hunts Equals One Whole Axe

by Adam Agusti,

Central States Archaeological Societies 2016 January Journal

Dana, Indianan

The Stanfield Knife: A Large Paleo Blade


In 2008 I got permission to hunt a field in Vermillion, County, Indiana. On April 3rd of that year, I went on my first hunt there. About ten minutes into my hunt I found an undrilled bannerstone that measured 6 1/2 inches across. It was well shaped with the raised barrel ready to be notched and drilled. Just a few minutes later I found the poll section to an axe. This wasn't like the other axes I had found in the past. This one the poll was round rather than oval and made of a nice green hardstone.

A few months before I got a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit for Christmas. I had always wanted to start recording GPS coordinates for significant finds, so I marked the location for future reference. That hunt didn't yield any other artifacts. Later that year on June 11th, I was able to hunt the site again. I reached the same part of the field where I found the poll section to the axe in April and found the center piece. But I was still missing the blade. I turned on my GPS unit and I was standing in the exact spot where I found the poll. I was happy and disappointed at the same time.

The next few times I hunted the site as I always had, with my GPS on, hunting the area very slowly. On May 16th, 2011 I had some time to hunt before work, so I headed out to the same field. I turned on my GPS and started making my way to the coordinates. As soon as I reached the area, I spotted the blade to my axe. I went back to my car and raced home to join the blade with the other two sections. It fit perfectly. This is kind of an unusual piece being round and having a raised knot on both sides between the groove and the blade. If it sits on a flat surface the blade is at a 45 degree angle.

It turns out that the GPS unit is a valuable tool for hunting. I have saved many coordinates of artifacts that I hope to piece back together some day. I now know the odds of doing so are astronomical, but possible.

At top: Two views of the axe reassembled after three hunts. Also shown are the bit end (L) , the original find in-situ (C) and the author holding the axe(R) at the Collinsville Artifact Show in March, 2015.