"Modern Times," refers to the study of lithic technology in reference to today's flintknappers who make stone artifacts in a wide variety of both standard and unique forms. Some flintknappers are making items with purely artistic themes in mind while others are copying ancient stone tool manufacturing techniques. As a hobby and as a vocation flintknapping has been expanding steadily since the 1970's at a fairly rapid pace. It has been estimated that approximately 1.5 million points are made each year. Many of these artifacts are made to look ancient by applying various patination techniques and sold to collectors. Looking at them from strictly an artistic viewpoint, some of today's modern-made points are the most beautifully flaked stone artifacts ever crafted since flintknapping began millions of years ago.
FOURTEEN MODERN KNAPPED POINTS MADE FROM ONE HIGH RIDGE CHERT NODULE BY 9 DIFFERENT KNAPPERS. Knappers include Jim Spears, Tim Dillard, Woody Blackwell, Mark Nation, Ted Franks, Jim Redfearn, Glen Leesman, Roy Miller and Brian Wrage.
for human population levels by the year 2100 range up to
The Historic period began in North America with the discovery of the New World by European explorers. The end of this period is recognized by an event that happened in 1911 when Ishi a man who is known as the "last wild Indian" wandered out of the forests of California into the hands of anthropologists who recorded his language and studied his native crafts.
scientific excavation in North America by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
period society in the eastern United States centered around some of the
most spectacular prehistoric ceremonial centers ever constructed in North
America. Large flat top temple mounds are the most impressive structures
left behind. The largest of these is 103 feet high and located just east
of St. Louis, Missouri on the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. The
Mississippian people lived within a very well organized culture in cities
(Cahokia), villages and farmsteads. They had far ranging trade routes that
brought in copper from the Great Lakes, sea shells from the Gulf Coast,
and various types of stone such as Mill Creek chert from southern Illinois
for making digging implements and other tools. These people were farmers
who were largely dependent on agriculture to procure most of their food.
They raised large fields of corn, squash, beans, sunflowers and tobacco. They
were also hunters who used the bow and arrow to kill animals such as deer
and they were fishermen who used various means to catch freshwater fish
CERAMIC FIGURE HUMAN HEAD, This clay head was found in 2002 on a Mississippian site in southern Illinois near the Mississippi River. It has a bird-like "top-not" on the top of the head, teeth, an eye pupil and a hole on the bottom where it was once attached to a stick.
examples of Late Mississippian human head effigy ceramic vessels are
illustrated and described.
NATIVE AMERICAN INDIAN GOLD ARTIFACTS----Several gold
artifacts from mounds in Florida, Georgia and Ohio as described in old
SHARK TEETH RELATED ARTIFACTS FROM THE CAHOKIA MOUNDS SITE----Examples of shark teeth effigy bone and stone arrow points and shark teeth side blades for fighting clubs made from stone and teeth from a great white shark are described.
STONE CLUBS---Northwest coast clubs from Oregon,
Washington and British Columbia.
A.D. 50-----Rome is the largest city in the world with a population of one million.
On the Colorado Plateau of northeastern Arizona, south- western New Mexico, southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado the Archaic was followed by a culture termed the Anasazi. This was a generalized village dwelling group which relied primarily on the cultivation of corn, beans and squash. Hunting did remain as part of the food gathering process throughout the Anasazi era. There is growing evidence that warfare may also have played a small role in Anasazi society. The Anasazi era has been separated into two major divisions: (1) the Basketmaker, and (2) the Pueblo. Each of these is further subdivided into social organizations. The Anasazi era is usually considered to fall between A.D. 1 and A.D. 1300. This time was followed by further development of a pueblo dwelling culture which is still existing today in New Mexico and Arizona.
TANGED ARROW POINT (cast)---This point represents the beginning of the Pueblo I Period during the Anasazi era. It was made from a beautiful piece of green Morrison Siltstone and it measures 1 11/16 inches (4.3 cm) long.
The Hohokam people were prehistoric farmers who lived on approximately 45,000 square miles of land in the Sonoran Desert of south central Arizona. The name Hohokam is usually reserved for the pottery-making people who lived between A.D. 200 and 1450. Many of their houses were built together in small clusters or on isolated locations. They also built large settlements that were well organized around plazas, ball courts and platform mounds. The Hohokam people also built the largest prehistoric canal system in North America. Mexico had a strong influence among the Hohokam in both trade and culture. Rubber from the Mexican lowlands was used to make balls that were used on their elaborate ball courts. The game may have been similar to the one played in 14th century Mexico. It was similar, in some ways, to soccer and basketball but with no hands allowed.
As the population began to increase in the eastern United States during the Woodland period lifestyles began to change and became different in many ways from the previous Archaic period. These people began to experiment with the cultivation of plants and by the end of the period were growing corn. They also developed extensive trade routes. The farthest traveled material was Obsidian from the Yellow Stone park area that was traded as far east as eastern Ohio. During the Hopewell tradition which occurred half way through this period and was their "golden age" they made elaborate and very large burial mounds. In these mounds they sometimes placed finely crafted tobacco pipes, large Ross blades, ear spools, and numerous other burial objects that can only be described as art. Nothing so well made had appeared in North America up to this time. These people still hunted with spears thrown with throwing sticks but are credited with the invention of the bow and arrow just before the end of this period.
is constructed around this time,
estimated 30 million man-hours
The Archaic period was the longest lasting cultural tradition in the eastern United States. The name Archaic was first used in the 1930's to define pre-ceramic groups in the Midwest. Sometime during this period, as the population began to increase, people who had been living in less complicated band societies began to change over into more complex sociopolitical tribal societies. Different types of stone artifacts are seen for the first time such as vegetable-grinding stones and true wood working adzes. The first organized cemeteries, such as the Sloan site, first appear in the early part of the Archaic period. These people hunted with spears thrown with a spear thrower or atlatl. They lived by seasonal movement hunting animals, fishing and gathering various plant foods. The earliest evidence of land management for agriculture occurs with the cultivation of squash. They made vessels and containers out of Steatite, gourds, wood and basketry plus toward the end of the Archaic period fiber tempered ceramic vessels appear. Food was cooked in fired clay lined pits using heated stones or fired clay balls (called Poverty Point objects).
cache of 13 Dalton points that were reported to have been found in Scott
PLUMMETS---Pictures and descriptions of several different
examples of plummets. Also the stages-of-manufacture.
FULTON TURKEY TAIL POINT (CAST)----This point was found in a cultivated field in Clinton County, Illinois. It's a very fine example of a Late Archaic to Early Woodland period Fulton Turkey Tail point.
FULTON TURKEY TAIL POINT (CAST)----Exceptionally
well made. Published in six different publications where its been
described as being quintessential (most perfect). Found by Dean Burke in
1964 in St. Clair Co., Illinois.
domestication of sheep and goats was in the Near East.
MIDDLE TO LATE PALEO-INDIAN
The first scientifically accepted evidence of a very early culture living in the New World was discovered by a black cowboy named George McJunkin in 1926. He discovered the Folsom extinct bison kill site located near Folsom, New Mexico which was excavated by the Denver Museum. Since 1950 C-14 dates for Folsom points have indicated an estimated age at somewhere between 9000 to 8000 B.C. Although this was not the oldest culture in North America this site produced the first evidence of fluted spear points directly associated with extinct bison and was cause for considerable excitement. It opened up a new way of thinking about a much greater time depth to study than was previously believed possible. Some of the extinct animals Paleo-Indians were hunting were bison, mammoths, mastodons and peccaries. These people lived within simple band societies following a nomadic lifestyle. They used spears to hunt with and probably used spear throwers or atlatls to propel them to the target. The peak population estimates for North and South America during the Paleo-Indian period range anywhere from 1 million to 10 million people. The Paleo life style lasted much longer in the western United States and the use of unfluted spear points are seen in the Cody complex with the use of Scottsbluff and Eden points. Some of the different types of Paleo-Indian spear points that have been recorded are Midland, Crowfield, Cumberland, Barnes, Debert, Goshen, Plainview and Bone & Ivory spear points.
FLUTED POINT BASE WITH REFIT CHANNEL FLAKE (Cast)---Broken fluted point base and a cast of a channel flake that fits back onto one of the flute flake scars. Excavated from the Sugarloaf site in South Deerfield, MA.
FOLSOM POINT (Cast)---This
Folsom point was found on the Read-Lincoln Hills site in Jersey County,
*MOOSE CREEK SITE---Early Nenana complex site located in the Nenana Valley in central Alaska. This site dates to 11,190 years before present. A Chindadn and Subtriangular projectile point was found in the Nenana occupation level.
small blade was found during the 1996 re-excavation of the Moose Creek in
the Nenana Valley in central Alaska.
FLUTED POINT (Cast)----This
"thin" long fluted point was found in Otsego County, New York by Howard
in the 1930's on the Blackwater Draw mammoth & bison kill site in
Curry County, New Mexico.
SITE POINT (cast)---Spear
point #KIR-102-92-01 from northern Alaska above the Arctic circle.
SIMPSON POINT (cast)----This Simpson point was found in the Suwannee River in either Hamilton or Suwannee Counties in Florida.
domesticated animal was the dog in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The Clovis culture is the oldest recognized cultural tradition in North America. Sometime before 14,000 years ago these people entered the New World by crossing the Bering Strait on a newly formed land mass. When Early Paleo-Indians entered North America they were entering a new land that had not seen humans up to that time. These nomadic people hunted the largest animals that ever lived in North America, the mammoths and mastodons. Their Clovis spear points have been found in all the states in the United States except Hawaii. Clovis sites are typically camp sites they occupied for short periods of time as they followed a seasonal food supply. Stone tool manufacturing sites have also been discovered where they were collecting a variety of good quality stone and replenishing their tool kit with drills, scrapers, gravers, projectile points, etc. The rarest sites and most spectacular are the kill sites and cache sites. Most of these sites have been found in the western United States. Cache sites are suspected burials where several Clovis artifacts have been found in a group. The Anzick cache discovered several years ago in Montana was found with a child burial.
large picture of several Clovis artifacts from kill and cache sites, west
of the Mississippi River.
POINT (cast)---This is
a cast of the largest Clovis point that was found during the excavation of
the East Wenatchee Clovis site in Douglas County, Washington.
CACHE CLOVIS POINTS----6
examples shown in large images. These six point are in the collections of
the Smithsonian Institution.
THE FENN CACHE----All
56 artifacts can be seen. The cache includes 23 finished and unfinished
Clovis point and many early stage bifaces.
from five different Clovis and one Early Archaic site illustrated and
*Lange Ferguson Site artifacts
& excavation pictures---mammoth kill site.
late stage Clovis preform that was fluted on one side only. The striking
platform remnant remains unaltered.
spurred end-scraper was found on the Bostrom Clovis camp site in St. Clair
LOUIS FLUTED POINT (Cast)---Found
in Franklin County, Alabama. It's made of translucent Bangor chert and
measures 5 3/8 inches long.
This segment will include Pre-Spanish contact south of North America, anything from Paleo, Archaic, Preclassic, Classic, etc. periods.
AZTEC BIFACE-----This 24 inch long ceremonial Biface was made by a master
*MAYAN ECCENTRICS---Eccentrics are non-utilitarian chipped stone objects that are normally found in caches within a ceremonial context associated with the Maya elite. They represent some of the most skillfully flaked stone artifacts so far discovered on Stone Age sites in the world.
*MAYAN "DEATH HEAD" MARINE SHELL TINKLER BEADS---The "death head" images carved on these four tinklers are strong and very well done. They were probably carved by one of the many skilled craftsmen that were working within the Mayan Classic or Postclassic periods sometime before A.D. 1200.
*MAYAN STEMMED MACRO BLADE "DAGGERS"---Stemmed macro blades were made in large numbers during the Late Preclassic to the Terminal Classic periods in northern Belize. Maya flintsmiths used core and blade technology to make them.
Artifacts from the continent of Australia.
14,000 B.C.-----Earliest development of microliths in Europe.
This period has sometimes been referred to as the "Neolithic Revolution" because so much of human technological development happens at this time. The Neolithic period applies to much of the world but particularly to Europe, the Near East, China and Southeast Asia. During this period humans were taking control of their environment in a way never seen before. Animals were being domesticated and agriculture was taking hold. Stone axes were being used to clear the forests of Europe to plant crops and raise farm animals for food in agricultural villages. Many new stone tool types also appear in abundance such as ground stone tools for cutting wood, grinding stones for processing plant foods, sickle blades to harvest grains and battle axes used in fighting. Other items were also developed like fired clay vessels, baskets and even building materials such as sun dried mud bricks. Finally, the term civilization can be used generally about 5,000 years ago when societies develop complex governmental bureaucracies with taxes, laws and a governing elite class of rulers.
24,000 B.C.---Earliest evidence of storage pits on Late Paleolithic sites in eastern European plain.
The most significant innovations of stone tool development that occur at
this time are in Europe, the Near East and northeastern Africa. A more sophisticated
stone tool technology is developed round 35,000 years ago which produces
large blades struck off prepared cores. This same technique is also being
used later in this period in the New World by the Clovis culture. The
Neanderthals disappear sometime around 30 to 35 thousand years ago. The
first art also appears about this time 35 thousand years ago with
engravings and carvings of animals. Towards the middle and end of this
period microliths appear which are tiny geometric shaped stone tools that
were probably attached as side-blades to wood or reed shafts to make
composite arrows. Sometime between 10 and 20 thousand years ago the spear
thrower and bow and arrow were developed. In France and Spain the
Solutrean complex appears 21,000 years ago and continues to about 17,000
years ago. These people began to use for the first time the edge-to-edge
or "outré passé" technique of percussion flaking. This
manufacture process is the same used by the Clovis people in the New
World. To this day some of the most skillfully flaked bifaces (large
points) ever made were made in the Solutrean complex.
sapiens sapiens has populated virtually every part of he world
North & South America.
During the Middle Paleolithic period stone tools become increasingly more
complex. Homo erectus dies out about 300,000 years ago but not before
making very fine bifacially flaked hand axes using soft hammers made from
antler, ivory or bone. The Neanderthals appear in Europe and the New East about 135,000
years ago and died out about 35,000 years ago. During this time they
produce a wide variety of stone tools that were used within an ever
increasing intelligent world. Approximately sixty different stone tool
types were developed during this period. Homo sapiens sapiens appears probably sometime
before 120,000 years ago and like the Neanderthals also make a wide
variety of stone tools.
1.5 million---The controlled use of fire is suspected this far back in time in Africa but not proven.
The Early or Lower Paleolithic period represents a time when the oldest and simplest stone tools were being made. The appearance of the genus Homo coincides roughly with the beginning of the archaeological record approximately 2.5 million years ago. These early artifacts were just simple flakes that were struck off chopper cores. It's believed that Homo habilis was making these flakes for the sharp edge they produced and probably using them to cut open the hides of animals and other cutting purposes. There are three main types of artifacts from this period. They are flakes for cutting, chopper cores from which the flakes were removed and spheroids. Spheroids are round stone objects that were used and shaped this way as a result from hammering to remove flakes. Research studies using a Bonobo chimp named "Kanzi" illustrates very well how these animals are able to make a simple flake using various fracturing techniques then cut the ropes off a food box. Homo erectus appears sometime later in this period about 1.5 million years ago. This early hominid carried on stone tool manufacturing traditions with more complex tools such as hand axes, cleavers and large flakes for cutting or scraping. Homo erectus develops about a dozen different types of stone tools and continues to make them for many hundreds of thousands of years.
2.5 to 3 million---Earliest
flaked-stone tool technology begins sometime during this period
Bahn, Paul G. 1996.
"The Cambridge Illustrated History of Archaeology", Cambridge