FROM PAGE 2
& RED OCHRE
CHARLES CO., MISSOURI
EST. 100 B.C.
TO A.D. 450
PAGE 3 OF
JULY 31, 2003 PETER A. BOSTROM
CLICK ON PICTURE FOR LARGE IMAGE
LB. RAW PIECE OF HEMATITE
MADISON COUNTY, ILLINOIS PRIVATE COLLECTION
This large piece of hematite was found several years ago along
a fence row near the 103 foot tall Monks Mound on the Cahokia
Mounds site in Madison County, Illinois. This piece is
abnormally large and represents one of the largest and
heaviest examples of transported raw materials into the area. Sites where hematite has been
found in Illinois
usually have produced only small pieces that were already
altered by pecking and grinding. This hematite boulder may
relate to the earlier Woodland culture that once lived in this
area before the later and more developed Mississippian
This piece of hematite measures approximately 11
inches (27.9 cm) across and it weights 77 lb. (35 kg).
The red ochre pigment on this grinding stone is the best evidence that
this large tool was used to manufacture plummets. But further evidence was
found in the form of three hematite objects found nearby. Two pecked and
ground pieces were found in direct contact with the grinding stone. One is
evidently a plummet "blank." The other hematite artifact is in
the form of a finished Snyders plummet. It was found about 50 feet away
from the grinding stone.
HEMATITE ARTIFACTS FOUND NEAR THE LARGE HEMATITE GRINDING
ST. CHARLES CO.,
The two pecked and ground hematite artifacts on each end in
this picture were found in direct contact with the large
grinding stone. The one on the right is tear-drop shaped and
was probably intended to be a plummet. In this stage they are
called "blanks." This one measures 2 5/16 inches
(5.9 cm) long.
The Snyders Grooved plummet in the center was
found no more than 50 feet from the grinding stone. These
types of plummets were being made during the Middle and Late
Woodland period. This example measures 2 3/4 inches (7 cm)
The plummet that was found near the grinding stone is called a
Snyders Grooved plummet. They are the most common type found in this
area. This diagnostic artifact may help give an estimated date for
the assembly of artifacts discussed in this report. Several examples
of Snyders plummets were found with burials on the Snyders site.
They were named by Gregory Perino after the Snyders site in Calhoun
County, Illinois. These types of plummets were being made during the
Middle to Late Woodland period and possibly earlier. An estimated
date for these artifacts may be somewhere between 100 B.C. to A.D.
MAGNIFIED VIEWS OF ABRASIONS AND SCRATCHES ON HEMATITE SAMPLES
These two hematite artifacts were found on Stone Age sites in
southern Illinois. Neither specimen is a finished artifact.
They are both irregular pieces of hematite that were being
reduced by abrasion, possibly for the manufacture of red ochre
pigment. The upper example shows abrasions from a rough
surface and the lower example shows scratches in a small
Artifacts like the large grinding stone in this report are important
for the study of primitive technologies, especially intact examples
like this one. Experimental archaeologists who try and duplicate
original ancient artifacts may copy these basic tools. Their study
can provide a better understanding of how artifacts were being made
and various types of materials, such as red ochre, were being
1912, Hodge, Weber Fredrick, "Handbook
of American Indians North of Mexico,"
pp. 6-7, 407-408 & 942-945. 1961, Perino, Gregory, "Tentative Classification of
Plummets in the Lower Illinois River Valley," Central States
Archaeological Journal, pp. 43-56.