Thursday, March 5, 2009

Beveled Points

I acquired this point from an artifact hunter at a gem and mineral show. He related it was a personal find he picked up in Oklahoma. It looks like it was knapped out of Burlington chert and possibly would have been a small knife form. It measures 2 1/4 inches long, and just over 1 inch wide. Even though it was missing part of the base, I found it interesting because it appeared to be beveled in the Archaic style. I am no expert on artifacts, but appreciated the knapping technic it demonstrated. The Archaic period (8000 - 1000 BC) in North America was characterized by some points, that were beveled, or unifacially resharpened. Basically, what this means, was that a series of flakes were removed from the face of one side - to produce a steep, wedge-shaped cutting edge. The point was then turned over and it was repeated on the other side. As you do this the point takes on a parallelogram, or propeller-like shape, in the cross section. In this manner it takes less effort to make a cutting edge and you can get more resharpenings before the piece is exhausted. Some beveled points have been resharpened so many times, that they have come to resemble drills, archaeologists have speculated. What do I learn from all of this? Beveling is the easiest method to produce a strong sharp edge on a dulled stone blade...perhaps to retouch after sawing fireboard notches. It may not be the prettiest, but it is a functional technic.