Central States Archaeological Societies
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Out Behind the Barn with Dale and Betty

by Dale Roberts

Central States Archaeological Societies 2013 January Journal

Mount Sterling, Iowa

The Stanfield Knife: A Large Paleo Blade

On the first terrace overlooking the Fox River sits Mount Sterling, lowa. It is probably as quiet and obscure as any place you can imagine. Our census last year put our total population at 36 people.

Betty and I have a barn up on the hill with a view of Fox River. But we are not the first people to appreciate the view. Indians at least as far back as the Archaic period have made their home behind our barn.

The ditch at the foot of the hill has produced an array of artifacts and very old materials. These include a couple of hematite celts plus an axe made of metamorphic granite gneiss. This small crude axe was found behind the barn on June 21st, 1990 and the material was identified by David A .Easterla PhD. Gneiss is a metamorphic rock, and in this case, the harder part is hornblende and the softer is feldspar. Dr. Easterla has one of the same material shown on page 82 of the April 2010 issue of the Central States Archaelogical Journal.

Betty recently found a small granite celt which is grooved on one side, and I picked up an eccentric point with multiple notches. In our 50 years of hunting, these are the only ones we have ever found, and both came from behind the barn. We have also found a ball and a hematite bola back there as well.

In April of 2011, Betty picked up a piece of copper that is 5 inches long and over 3 ¼ inches wide. It weighs a couple of pounds. I sure wish they had made an artifact out of that!

Needless to say, we plan to spend some more time out behind the barn!