Central States Archaeological Societies
Central States Archaeological Societies
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Don’t Gawk While You Walk!

by David Marolf,

Central States Archaeological Societies 2017 October Journal

Manchester, Iowa

Don't Gawk While You Walk!

Unless you are wealthier than I wish to be, you know that leftovers are often times better than you expect. Take Thanksgiving dinner, last night's pizza, etc. As I mentioned in a previous article, artifacts can be left over as well and some of my best artifacts are just that: Left for me to discover because someone else walked right over them gawking at something they shouldn't have. In my previous story regarding leftovers I related a story where I was the benefactor of my own inattentiveness and I have accomplished this feat more times than I would like to relate. This particular instance of enjoying leftovers however is not on me but some other unfortunate gawker!

In 1998 on a clear crisp late March morning I decided to take a hike. For me that often means hiking up a stream in search of artifacts. I often times arrive at my destination only to find the stream has already been walked and this was the case that particular day. Again it was late March just after ice out and we had not yet received any creek raising rains. So off I went up the creek, knowing all of my other streams would be in similarly poor condition. With fresh foot prints it was soon obvious I was following someone; but it was a nice day for a hike and that is what many of my artifact hunts mostly turn out to be—so on I plodded.

After an hour or so, there on a small gravel bar lay the pictured artifact (Fig. 1), totally exposed with a foot print right next to it. It didn't take two heartbeats for me to have it in my hand and I wondered—How in the world did someone walk right past this 6 inch ancient work of art without spotting it—maybe a bobcat shinnied up nearby tree and he was gawking at that spectacle instead?

I'm neither an expert in stone I. D. nor typology, but I've been told the material is creek stained Burlington chert and the point type is Agate Basin. The point has beautiful collateral flaking to an unpronounced median ridge on both sides. I do believe it is Paleolithic or transitional Paleolithic in age. My good friend and hunting partner Hank calls it an Eden type and I also “lean” that way because of the flaking style, however it lacks the basal restriction that classic Eden points display. I actually don't care what you call it. It is really, really good. And like leftovers, sometimes they're really good too!

Above right: Figure 1. The 6 1/8 inch long Eden point/blade. It measures 1 inch in width and was the personal discovery of the author.